The Crackers at Terzo, and Thoughts on the Waning of the Bread Basket
They’re a sixteenth-of-an-inch thick, crisp (but chewy when you hit a raisin), and sweetly musky from rosemary. The crackers in the bread basket at Terzo are the things we think of first when planning a visit to the South Minneapolis restaurant. The biscottilike crisps go well with wine, cheese, and salumi, and can even stand in for dessert.
They were discovered by Danny Broder — a second-generation member of the family whose restaurants and deli dominate the intersection of Penn and 50th — when he was in northern Italy studying culinary arts and getting experience in restaurant kitchens. The crackers were served at a restaurant he worked at in Piedmont, and he adapted the recipe for Terzo.
The crisps wouldn’t be the same without the assistance of a large, fire-engine-red, hand-cranked prosciutto slicer like the one Broder saw on his trip. The family decided to order their own for Terzo’s kitchen. The thing is sharp and accurate, and in addition to serving its intended role, it slices the baked, raisin-filled loaves into prosciutto-thin crackers that go back to the oven for a final baking on their way to Terzo’s bread basket.
Sometimes it seems that bread service is fading into history, perhaps as a result of the gluten-free trend compounded by the tough economics of running a restaurant. Where bread is offered, it often comprises a few small slices served after the order is taken and quickly removed when the food arrives. But some establishments — Restaurant Alma and Lucia’s (photo below) come to mind, along with Terzo — are offering a creative assortment of house-made breads. We’ve seen this more often in the Bay Area, where it also appears that restaurants are competing to serve the best house-made butter as an accompaniment.
There’s much excellent bread to be found at local bakeries — Patisserie 46, Rustica, Aki’s, Baker’s Field, to name a few — and their breads are served at restaurants around town (when bread is served), but few restaurants make their own, and this leads to a certain predictability.
We usually don’t eat bread with our dinners at home, but one of the pleasures of dining out is biting into a fresh, wheaty slice with just the right amount of cultured butter, and maybe a grain or two of excellent salt. So we’re hoping that the bread (and cracker) basket has a long, yeasty life.
Terzo, 2221 W 50th St, Minneapolis, MN 55419; 612.925.0330
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