Sunday, September 02, 2012
(Terre) Haute Cuisine
Around 20 years ago I met a man named Jeff in Morton Park in Charleston. I was there with the very young Rachel and Ben, and he was there with his daughter Delaney. We both had spouses who taught in the same English department, so we had a lot to talk about. He told me that he moved to Terre Haute, Indiana (a town an hour away from our town) from Chicago and had recently opened a Kosher Deli (!) called Rosenberg's (named for Julius and Ethel in the town where Eugene V. Debs and Theodore Dreiser were born). We made the trip to Terre Haute often, visiting the Children's Museum, and eating fantastic deli food at Rosenberg's. We rarely made the trip to Terre Haute after the deli closed several years ago.
A friend sent me a link about a restaurant called Harry and Bud's European Cuisine in Terre Haute, and as soon as I realized that it was run by Jeff (of Rosenberg's fame), we made immediate plans to go there. Plans involved calling to inquire if they had any vegan food (yup, we can do that), and making reservations.
We went there yesterday. We were the only people in the restaurant. He made an extraordinary meal just for us.
The restaurant is as close as I have seen in America to a French country inn (with a prix fixe menu--$25.00 per person for lunch), and the decor is highly eclectic, but very comfortable. Jeff brought us plate after plate of rich and tasty vegan food that included clever adaptations of traditionally-prepared French provincial dishes. He uses garlic so liberally that it almost acts like a vegetable, but he balances his spices in such a way that the garlic doesn't "stick out." He mentioned an obscene number of heads of garlic that had given their lives for the sauce he put on the stuffed cabbage (you can see it above). We didn't bring any wine with us (you can bring your own wine), but the meal was thoroughly intoxicating without wine.
He also made some knock-your-socks-off gnocchi, some of the best polenta I have ever eaten, a delicious lentil and red kale salad, and stunningly-delicious French bread. Michael, who eats everything, had lamb (above) seasoned with, among other things, lavender.
What you see above is a portion of our leftovers (and everything tasted great with wine when we had some for dinner this evening). We brought home four containers of food that provided today's lunch and dinner, and will certainly provide at least one meal tomorrow. It was a Thanksgiving's worth of leftovers.
If you happen to be travelling through Indiana on Route 70, give Jeff a call (812-237-0400 and call ahead so he has time to plan). The website has only lunch hours posted, but Jeff will certainly make you (and your friends) dinner as well.
You can read Michael's post about our meal, and you can read what people we don't know have said about the restaurant on Yelp. It's all true.