Chef-owner Rodney Einhorn’s Oceanfront fine dining exemplar, Terrapin, recently got a major facelift, its first since opening in 2006. Designed by Einhorn’s wife, Amanda, and Elizabeth Blackmon, wife of managing partner Brian Williams, the look is lighter, brighter. Color pops in artwork depicting soundwaves from the Grateful Dead's Terrapin Station and a psychedelic print of Jerry Garcia's right hand (revealing a missing middle finger; a wood-chopping “oops” by his brother). Beyond decor, the visuals are part of Terrapin’s origin story. While working for Greenpeace in the 1990s, Einhorn became a Deadhead, and Terrapin Station inspired his award-winning restaurant’s name.
Terrapin’s menu has been reengineered, too, sparked by new equipment rocking the kitchen, a pasta extruder and Josper charcoal-fueled, combined grill/oven. Einhorn and Chef de Cuisine Patrick Dunn (who experienced a Josper staging at Noma) now produce an array of homemade pastas and shareables like whole chickens. Old menu favorites such as bouillabaisse and truffle mac-n-cheese remain but, proving you can dress up or come as you are, a cheeseburger has joined the repertoire as well as an unbeatable “Happy Hour” from 5 to 6 p.m. daily (all pastas: $15, beef tartare: $8, charcuterie: $10, drink specials). Despite hitting “refresh,” Terrapin’s core of finely tuned service and topnotch cuisine born of the best local, seasonal ingredients prevails. And, like the Dead’s Terrapin Station, this is still a destination worth seeking.