I’m convinced that every neighborhood needs a Terra Cole, which dubs itself a place for “Butchery & Fine Foods.” Open two months this week, this West Seattle store provides customers with a wide variety of high-quality meat, ideas of how to prepare the meat, products to help make that meat dish happen, and meat to eat on-site (or to go) in the form of a sandwich.
Most obvious upon entry is the butchery side of Terra Cole. The showcase glistens with gorgeous rib-eye steaks, smoked turkey wings, and veal bratwursts plus other housemade sausages. (So much of what’s sold at Terra Cole, like the sauces, marinades, and condiments, is made in house.) Approach the counter, and you’ll likely get asked if you’re looking for something for dinner or suggestions of how to prepare a particular piece of meat.
But what you’ll also quickly notice in the industrial setting is a scattering of tables up front, and some seating toward the back. This should clue you in to the deli side of Terra Cole, less obvious since its base is the side counter, not the front. There are a half-dozen sandwiches on the regular menu, ranging from smoked pork loin on peasant levain to lamb merguez sausage on hobui flatbread. It’s here that you’ll find the cold case of sides sold by the pound, including an assortment of pickled vegetables, olives, and a number of salads (such as smoked potato, black bean, and cole slaw).
You can round out your meal with one of the unique sodas from the cooler in the front corner of the store. The Green River Soda, which unlike most of the other things at Terra Cole is not local, comes from Chicago and is not often found outside that area. Co-owner Tim Mitchell will tell you that the soda is an homage to his Midwest childhood.
Prices are reasonable and the quality is quite good, with the deli menu under the command of chef (and culinary director) Trace Wilson. I especially enjoyed my pulled South Carolina barbecue pork sandwich, served on a potato bun (with cole slaw and pickled red onions) for just $6.50. It’s definitely one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I’ve had in the Seattle area.
A final aspect of Terra Cole is what you don’t see. The workers will enthusiastically tell you that if you don’t see something, just ask for it. They’re more than willing to cut meats to your specifications, and to special order anything you don’t find in the showcase, from offal to more “exotic” animals like buffalo, crocodile, and kangaroo. While there’s already plenty of pickling and smoking already happening, look in the future for more forms of preparation/preservation, including expansion of the charcuterie program.
Terra Cole seems to have all the ingredients to meet Mitchell’s mission of “giving people a restaurant quality experience that they have at home at their kitchen table.” Those who venture past the front counter will find the makings of a fine culinary experience to be had while seated right in the butcher shop.
Take note of what’s happening in Terra Cole on the big board.
Guest butcher Michael LaRoche (of Piggyback Deli) interacting with a customer.
LaRoche, in action.
Terra Cole sources some of the finest meats in the area.
Sausage selection includes hot Italian, chicken & chanterelle, and these: lamb merguez and chorizo.
These smoked marrow bones (from Long Valley Ranch) look pretty irresistible.
Terra Cole takes pride in its pickling.
There’s also a variety of olives. If you’ve not had them, perhaps try the red cerignola olives.
and other condiments to take home. There are also sauces, if you don’t want to take time to make your own.
Trace Wilson pulling pork shoulder out of the smoker.
And here’s that shoulder in the pulled pork sandwich Wilson is preparing.
The “Pulled South Carolina barbecue pork” sandwich is delicious. The mustard-based sauce (Carolina Gold) makes it slightly tangy. The cole slaw (with beets instead of carrots) is a nice counterpoint, as are the pickled red onions.
Terra Cole’s “traditional pastrami” is thin-sliced and served warm with some sharp whole grain mustard (excellent, and again made in-house) on rye bread.