By LINDEN GROSS; Writer, editor, writing coach
I was introduced to the Terrebonne Depot during a benefit for the Humane Society. Loved the cause, loved the fact that my steak-one of more than 50 cooked that night-was superb. Still, I didn’t get back to the restaurant until a hike up Smith Rock’s Misery Ridge made appetizers a cocktail absolutely m atory. One bite I realized what a mistake it had been to delay. So I returned for dinner just a few weeks later. Suffice to say that from the friendly reception to the delicious food drink, the drive was incredibly worthwhile.
Step inside the historic train depot that sits just feet away from the train tracks you’ll find it hard to believe how open airy the restaurant feels. After falling in love with the structure, which had sat ab oned for years, owners Kristin Ian Yurdin decided to buy it. “You’re crazy,” Kristin’s father announced. Undaunted, the couple restored the depot actually had it moved away from the tracks by sliding it on makeshift rails. Local craftsmen turned the old growth piers atop which the dilapidated building had been perched into tables a bar top. Indeed, as much as possible of the structure’s original materials were used in the stunning renovation.
It’s the perfect setting to showcase the star of the show: the food. Remembering our post-hike treats, my three dining companions I went big on the appetizers. Wow! They sure didn’t disappoint. We had a number of favorites, including the Pork Belly Lettuce Wrap. Think ¼-inch barely cured bacon, which you wrap in a butter lettuce leaf along with Thai-style condiments, including tiny pieces of lime, cashews, cucumbers, minced jalapenos, cilantro hoison sauce. The study in contrasts-from salt to sweet richness to crunchy freshness-was simply addictive. The calamari, which is lightly dredged in flour spices then pan-fried along with slices of jalapeño, reminded me of the calamari I used to crave at Staccato where executive chef Kristin Yurdin worked. It’s divine. But so is the thin ( I mean super thin) crust, Greek-style pizza with its creamy feta fruity kalamata olives served Italian style with a bottle of spicy olive oil.
The salads main courses showcase the restaurant’s dedication to local sustainable ingredients. The greens, dressed lightly so as to highlight their freshness, come from a farm just a few blocks away. The tender, thick-cut steaks come from just up the highway in Madras, yes, you can taste the difference. The salmon is truly wild (not the endangered gill-netted fish that’s often passed off as wild in restaurants). And the almost daily fish specials, including our Petrale sole roulade stuffed with basil pecan pesto served with a lemon beurre blanc, always feature line-caught, sustainable fish often from Oregon the Pacific Northwest. The entrees are as abundant as they are tasty. If you’re a ribs fan, make a point to try the succulent baby backs, which literally do fall off the bone. The garlic mashed red potatoes al dente baby asparagus served with the entrees were equally memorable.
But save room for dessert. My dining companions I all had different favorites. The chocolate brownie, served a la mode, could almost be a decadent, flourless chocolate cake. For banana aficionados the chocolate banana bread pudding is a must. But as far as I’m concerned, I’ll be hoping to end my meal with the warm lemon pudding/cake, which is actually not on the menu, every time I go. And that will be often. I already hear the restaurant’s deck-with its opposing views of Smith Rock the Cascades-calling my name telling me that it’s time to pull back into the Terrebonne Depot.
Terrebonne Depot 400 NW Smith Rock Way; Terrebonne Phone: (541) 548-5030 Owners: Kristin Ian Yurdin Hours: Mon., Wed., Thurs. & Sunday: 11:30am – 8:30pm Friday & Saturday: 11:30am – 9:00pm Tuesday: Closed