After an embarrassing meal at Hemingway’s Thursday and mediocre one at Les Bourgeois last night (full reports to come) I was overdue for some non-suckage. We got it today at La Terraza, the new Mexican restaurant occupying the former DaLena’s space in Peachtree Plaza.
I had the Don Julio Plate, which is essentially a mixed fajita plate with marinated chicken, steak and shrimp served over a bed of nopales (cactus) and accompanied by two truly amazing cheese and chorizo quesadillas. Each of the meats were distinctive and perfectly cooked and taken together – wrapped in a warm tortilla and topped with guac and homemade hot salsa – utterly delicious. As noted in the comments over at CoMo Whine and Dine, the beans and rice are regrettably standard.
Mrs. SMEs ordered the chili verde, a plate of slow-cooked pork you wrap in their soft tortillas. The pork was soft, rich and punched through with lime; delicious. Service was quick, friendly and attentive.
The menu seems larger than necessary but most Americans expect Mexican places to cover a lot of ground. By my count vegetarians have nine designated specials to choose from. There are also tamales, two kinds of ceviche and various mole dishes. If they treat all of their seafood as well as they did my shrimp, the oysters on the half shell may be less of a stretch than I initially thought.
The ownership and staff will seem familiar to anyone who’s been to Taqueria El Rodeo. Christian Gomez – one of the three brothers who originally owned Taqueria – runs the show at La Terraza.
My one hangup is the location. Occupants have come and gone through this venue for at least ten years. Traffic can be a hassle given the proximity to the Nifong/Providence exchange (not likely to improve given the presence of the new Hy-Vee). Also, there are three other Mexican restaurants within a half-mile. Only time will tell if Christian can make it work. He’s certainly started strong. I’ll be anxious to hear what others think.
La Terraza Grill
128 E. Nifong Blvd.
Columbia, MO 65203