21 July 2004

Review: Tierra (restaurant) (4/5)

Tuesday night we went to Tierra to celebrate the sister-in-law's birthday. It had the magic of a convergence of events consisting of the birthday, a one-day-a-week Chihuly exhibit at Atlanta Botanical Gardens, and 1/2-price off all bottles of wine $40-and-under. The gods smiled on us that night.

The evening exhibit cut our dinner shorter that would be expected, given the potential of the wine extravaganza, but even the abbreviated meal was satisfying. The husband-and-wife team, co-chefs and co-owners, presented a casual introduction to South American cuisine in a casual environment. Lisa & I had a lesson in Spanish wines and recipes a few days ago at Pura Vida. At Tierra, we got some schooling on their South American counterparts. Cheat sheets at the table helped us understand the ingredients on the menu and helped express the passion (no Latin pun intended) that the couple shares for that region. A telling signature from their Web page: In order to keep their taste buds current the couple closes the restaurant twice a year to travel to a Latin American country in order to visit the markets, eat in the restaurants and talk with local chefs.

Both my Lisa & Bob each had the pork medallions and mashed potatoes and raved about the tropical fruit relish that went with it. Bob's Lisa had the sauteed shrimp, which looked a little sparse but she said had a wonderful flavor. I had the sauteed trout (as second choice after they were out of the grilled grouper), which came with a spicy, oily achiote sauce. Everything was excellent.

And everything was excellently accented by the wines. The wife, Ticha Krinsky, was ever-present with suggestions and explanations. We started off with a bottle of the Caliterra 2002 Chardonnay from Chile. A very crisp chardonnay that, as I learned from both Ticha and my brother, is the characteristic difference between French and American chardonnays. French having less butter than American. The other bottle (yes, only two bottles between the four of us: a very rushed dinner) was a Gascon Viognier 2003. Both were a welcome change to my usual Sauvignon Blanc that I've been hooked on this summer.

We definitely dug the scene and will go again (unfortunately skipping the many other restaurants we need to try). And, as I recommended to a co-worker, Tierra + the botanical gardens would be an excellent date night.

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[ posted by sstrader on 21 July 2004 at 11:47:21 PM in Culture & Society ]