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Terrace 390 Rustic Bistro

terrace interior

I suppose that when you visit a restaurant and see a fire truck and ambulance outside and the person who finally greets you after a long wait tells you that one of the waiters was just taken to the hospital it’s bad form to ding them on service.

So I won’t.

Terrace 390, the restaurant that occupies the address that most locals still refer to as the Harvey’s Bistro space, even though it closed five years ago next month, reopened a couple of months ago under new ownership. It had opened in early 2011, the project of some UCF graduates, some of whom are now the owners of Culpepper’s. It had problems early on, but it seemed to survive its two years by feeding the frenzy attached to the Casey Anthony trial and serving as a north-of-downtown night spot.

Now officially known as Terrace 390 Rustic Bistro (though most internal references drop the Rustic Bistro part), the restaurant wants to be known for “simple, unpretentious food with bold flavors,” or “comfort food with a Latin twist.”

I didn’t get the Latin twist when I had lunch recently. I had a cup of the soup of the day, a cream of asparagus, and a 390 Burger, a third-pounder instead of a half-pounder.

Have you ever had asparagus that’s tough and woody? It’s sort of like chewing matchsticks. That doesn’t get any better if you puree it. And it doesn’t help to dump a lot of salt into it. 

Luckily I didn’t need more than the two sips of soup I had to know that I wouldn’t be finishing it, and I didn’t have to worry about having sufficient time to savor my starter before my burger because it arrived after that second sip. But I promised I wouldn’t complain about the service.

Terrace burger

The burger was very good, a blend of brisket and chuck cooked to the requested medium rare and topped with melted cheddar cheese. It was served on a soft roll with lettuce and a thick slice of tomato. Potato chips -- made in house, I was told -- accompanied the burger instead of fries.

It was surprising to see the tables covered with white cloths, even at lunchtime. Few restaurants go to the expense of providing table coverings anymore, and those that do usually reserve them for dinner hours. The bankish decor is a bit cold, however, so the covered tables add a bit of warmth.

Just a bit, though. The room has always seemed more suited to issues of grandeur than intimacy. It’s too bad that group holding church services in a seen-better-days bar on Mills Avenue couldn’t get this place -- it’s actually cathedral-like.

Just one final word, if I may, to the member of the wait staff who was whisked away to the hospital. I hope you have a speedy recovery and are back on the job soon. You were missed.

Terrace 390 Rustic Bistro is at 390 N. Orange Ave., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 407-425-2445.

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Thursday, 24th July 2014

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