Piedmont Road is one of those connector roads in Atlanta: it connects you from Buckhead to Midtown and intersects, along the way, with Rock Springs (taking you to Emory), Monroe (taking you to Ponce) and Tierra–a funky yellow South American fusion restaurant that my friends and I went to tonight.
Driving past, you wouldn’t necessarily think this was a special restaurant. I surely didn’t. I only learned about it reading, among other things, Chowhound and the AJC. The restaurant also has its own website: Tierra’s Website. The place is run by a husband and wife and according to the site’s ABOUT section:
Ticha is from Central America and was raised in South America having lived in Brazil, Peru, Chile, Panama and Nicaragua. Dan is from New York and pairing his love of food and classical training to Ticha’s understanding of the different flavors of Latin America and the Caribbean have made Tierra the success that it is today.
I’m glad I read this now. It really gives me a good way to understand our meal. Classical meets South American. Whatever it was, it was delicious.
So I went there with Lauren, friend Michael (aka “The Good Doctor”), the infamous Trey Givens of treygivens.com (who I met for the first time tonight) and Mark (who you met at the rib place a while back):
Now the first charming thing about Tierra is that they give you a glossary of food terms, to help you with the menu:
The other charming thing is that the husband and wife who run the place are on the scene: the husband cooking in the kitchen, and the wife doing the rounds. She sat us at our table and helped us with our wine.
[Though apparently she cooks too.]
Michael, a bit of a wine expert, chose a bottle of this:
It was a good red; it had a Latin flair, like Zorro. It did not, alas, wear a cape.
Bread was served. Michael pouted because the butter was too frozen. So then he did something that was, errr, something to do with frozen butter. He attempt to melt a bit over the candle:
I felt that this was a bold creative gesture. Then the butter fell into the candle:
So much for that.
Now for the food.
I took the waiter’s recommendation for an appetizer and went with the mussels:
A Bon Apetit magazine hung framed on the wall with the mussel recipe. I enjoyed them; there were bits of corn and Jicama floating around. The broth was rich and flavorful. Was I supposed to drink it like soup? I did that a little bit. I’m not so much an expert mussel eater.
But it was Michael who got the winning appetizer. He got “platanos filled with beef picadillo” which are basically plaintains and meat:
As for an entree, I had the snapper–“Genuine Gulf Snapper: pan fried in coconut and beer batter, served with kale and red rice”:
On first bite I was a little disappointed. But that’s because the first bite didn’t have any skin on it. Once I got some skin, I got the flavor and it was great. Very unusual and very expertly done. The rice was good too; though the kale was not something I particularly enjoyed. It tasted rather like a thorny bush.
Michael took the liberty of ordering another wine:
I took the liberty of going to the bathroom.
The plates were cleared. We drank more wine.
Then there was dessert. The waiter suggested the passion fruit flan. I love passion fruit. I like flan. “It’s very tart,” he warned, “it made me make a face when I tried it.”
“Cool,” I said, “let’s do it.”
The waiter gave me a strange look.
“Oh, I mean, I’d like to order the passion fruit flan.”
“Right away,” he nodded, traipsing off.
He returned moments later. Here’s the flan:
And it was, indeed, tart. But beyond that it was slightly bitter. And it was the bitter quality, not the tart quality, that I didn’t enjoy. With that said, though, I’m glad I ordered it. It definitely tasted of fresh ingredients and that I appreciated it.
Post-dinner conversation focused on pleated skirts, IMAX movies, and cicada consumption. Soon the bill came. Soon we paid. Soon we left.
‘Twas a fun night for all.