Change is the word of the moment. Out with the old, in with the new. Change is energizing and transforming and this is certainly the case with Eno Terra, the energized and transformed restaurant in the old Winepress on Route 27 in Kingston, which held an invitation-only grand opening dinner on Friday, September 12 (see photos this page). The renovation of the property, owned and operated by Terra Momo Restaurant Group (Mediterra, Teresa’s Caffe, and the Witherspoon Bread Company) couldn’t be more all encompassing, and the change is delightful. Even the median island that separates the parking lots from Route 27 has been used to grow basil and herbs. Eno Terra is dedicated to sustainable living and the menu features meats, fruits, cheeses, and the like from local producers.
The space is warm with earth tones and rich wood. In renovating what has become the spacious bar, much of the original brickwork was uncovered along with the timbers. This area boasts group seating, small tables for two, and comfy stools along the L-shaped wooden bar. My friend and I had plenty of elbow room at the bar and were promptly greeted by the bartender who made some knowledgeable suggestions for drinks. The bar also boasts a state-of-the-art system that precisely measures four different glass sizes and uses a high tech cooling system to preserve the wine. On the opposite side from the bar you can see a floor to ceiling glass enclosed wine case that actually goes all the way down to the the basement.
We debated having dinner in the large, airy downstairs dining room, where the windows look out on the patio, garden, and rock wall that evoke a sense of being nestled into the hillside behind the building — the work of Peter Soderman of Princeton. The dining room has a whisper-quiet waterfall sheeting down the back wall. Another dining area is upstairs along with a room for private parties.
The bar was so comfortable we opted to stay put. The next decision was what to indulge in. The small but varied menu offers full meals, including vegetarian, from the wood-fired grill — with various locally procured meats, vegetables, and fish. Eno Terra offers a 28-ounce T-bone for $44, which is intended to be shared — or not. Pasta dishes range from $18 to $26, and half portions can be ordered as appetizers. The antipasti and the salads are modestly priced and offer a pleasing option to a full dinner. The grilled quail at $12 and the onion soup at $8 is only one combination for a light meal.
What caught our eye was the Salumi ($14) and the Formaggi ($14), two platters of cured meats and various artisan cheeses. A combination of both is offered at $21. With little accompaniments of olives, dipping oil, and some wickedly subtle, spiced cashews, this combination is perfect for two nibblers.
We arrived at 6:30 p.m. on a Tuesday and there were several tables in the dining room taken. A few of the tables in the bar area were occupied as well. The activity increased and when we left at 8:30, the place was full. Eno Terra is a cheerful date or special occasion venue. Dress was casual and, when we were there, reflected the after work crowd. Big boss would be pleased with lunch or dinner there as well. Well-behaved children with willing palates would be welcome and two tables of parent/child diners at the bar were there when we arrived.
Clearly, after only a couple of weeks, the word is out and the destination of area diners is the reviving town of Kingston. So change your GPS to north on Route 27 and get ready for a refreshing change of space and pace.
— E. E. Whiting
Eno Terra, 4484 Route 27, Kingston, 609-497-1777. Lunch Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner Monday through Thursday, 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 4 to 9 p.m.