By Ally Fedorka
My party of eight arrived at Teresa’s Next Door on Friday around 8:30 p.m. hoping to avoid the crowds that I had heard were common at this popular little—-very little—-restaurant. No such luck, however. Even on this snowy night, we waited for over an hour to be seated.
Teresa’s Next Door is the “Belgian fusion” sister restaurant to the popular Teresa’s Cafe, an Italian restaurant located just next door that is currently under renovation. This renovation to one half of Teresa’s may explain the large crowd. The restaurant sits on the quaintest main street in Wayne (accented nicely by the fresh snow falling on Friday), a very quick walk, less than a quarter mile, away from the Wayne station on the Paoli-Thorndale Line. The extensive bar with a wide and seemingly cultured beer and wine selection takes up a huge amount of space.
The hostess described the restaurant’s style as Belgian-based, but I would not even be able to give the food a distinct name or a style. The menu was eccentric and diverse, and at first glance it seemed overwhelming with foreign choices such as kangaroo loin and Waterzooi. After looking more closely, however, I found that all of the dishes were well explained and that they didn’t all seem so unusual.
We were starving by the time we were seated, so we decided to begin with a cheese plate called Mount Tam, described on the menu as a “rich triple cream delight with an unctuous paste, mild rind and subtle lingering terroir.”
While none of us have the most sophisticated cheese palate, this was a nice way to start the experience. The plate was small, even with the sides of grapes and sliced baguette. We were tempted to order another.
We all went with something different for our entrees. I chose a pulled pork sandwich (not very Belgian or brave, I know). The sandwich was great; it had a little kick to it. While I am a huge proponent of the pulled pork at the Pit, it was definitely nice to try something new, to expand my pulled pork horizons. The side was a basil jalapeno slaw, a break from my usual French fries at the dining hall.
My friends were a little more daring when it came to their dinner choices. One ordered a duck gyro, which had a lot of interesting flavors that all meshed well.
Two chose the chicken apple sausage, which was served on a baguette and grilled with granny apple mustard, goat cheese and arugula. They both really enjoyed this selection and said that they would definitely order it again.
My vegetarian friend was extremely satisfied with her avocado and endive salad, garnished with grapefruit, honeydew, mint, feta cheese and citrus vinaigrette. Another interesting dish at the table was a croque madame, which is a French version of a breakfast sandwich.
For dessert, we opted for a chocolate chip sugar waffle and a Nutella banana waffle, probably the most Belgian aspect of our meal. The waffles were savory; they were the perfect happy ending. They left us feeling full and satisfied.
Overall, eating at Teresa’s Next Door was a great experience. The food was delicious and interesting. The only complaint from my table was that the portions were too small. Without the cheese plate and dessert waffles, we may have left feeling hungry.
However, the very reasonable prices suit the portion sizes. The atmosphere was very cool, relaxing and peaceful.
I am looking forward to trying Teresa’s Cafe when it reopens later this month.