Terra: So Full

WMSE Development Director Justin Shoman and the beloved enchiladas verde

One of the best things about living in Milwaukee: numerous Mexican restaurants, each with its own specialties. The newest, Terra, which opened in May, just west of 6th Street on National Ave., well, they have the best enchiladas verde in the city. There. Said it. Mean it. WMSE Development Director Justin Shoman will back me up. Not too much tang and the perfect amount of heat in the sauce, fresh avocado and cream on the top, very tasty steak inside and enough of it to feed a small radio station staff.

Ceviche: shrimps love being tucked in under blankets of avocado

Bless Justin and his willingness to share dishes because we both got to try the chili rellenos and ceviche, also specialties, as well. The shrimp ceviche was beautiful, fresh and, Justin noted, “really citrusy – just the way I like it.” It was hard to pull away from it to try the other dishes. Like the verde, the rellenos sauce was well balanced with a lot of flavor layers, and the chilies were stuffed with a lot of cheese. And again, the spice level was right in the sweet spot. I made a fantastic mess of eating it but could not have cared less. Food messes are the best kind of messes. Justin and I kept trying to stop eating, but this was really one of those meals that while our stomachs were full, our mouths kept begging for one more bite.

Run by a small staff and in a small space, Terra is warm and lovely. Nibardo Sepulveda, our host for lunch said, “We didn’t want to have sombreros and Corona flags.” Indeed it feels very different from the other Mexican restaurants in the area. Done in earth tones, the dining room features mosaic tables and a bar made by Nibardo and his two partners and striking original art. The menu features around 100 items including American favorites and a few Greek dishes. They serve breakfast all day. That’s the kind of thought that makes one’s heart swell. Perhaps it will catch up with your stomach.

Justin’s musical pairing for Terra is “Islero” by Crooked Fingers. He said, “It’s a beautiful song with this great Spanish guitar and slowly building trumpet part. I can remember the first time I heard this song, I listened to it 4 or 5 times in a row. I would do the same thing with this meal if I weren’t so damn full.”

It’s exciting to have such a new restaurant be part of the Food Slam. At the event – because you’re going, right? – be sure to wish them a warm welcome.

yours, rolling out the door and down the street

Steph Kilen


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