Terra is situated in a cozy bungalow on the corner of Herschel Street and Shirley Avenue in Avondale. The latest creation of local restaurateur Michael Thomas, Terra opened February 2013 in the space formerly occupied by Patische.
The interior of Terra is warm and inviting, and there is a delightful patio area adorned with twinkle lights outside. Upon entering the building, you find yourself ensconced in a cozy bar area. It appears to be a good place to wind down after a long week of work. The Terra website described the atmosphere as, “Casual…where the servers don’t out-dress the guests.”
The menu, created by Richard Cooper, a chef whose resume includes Taverna and Pele’s Wood Fire, is described as, “A deceptively simple yet innovative dining concept.” Locally sourced ingredients are a highlight of the menu. Our waiter had many excellent suggestions for us as we considered our options.
We started with the pork belly and pineapple skewers with a balsamic reduction. The pork was crisp, yet moist, and the pineapple provided a sweet counterpoint to the flavor. They were like lollipops for grown ups. We also sampled the fried green tomatoes upon the suggestion of our waiter, and found them to be lightly crisp with a delicious Remoulade sauce.
My companion selected the Mahi for his entree, accompanied by roasted potatoes and braised kale. The greens were delicious, but the fish was a tad overcooked. My order of chipotle mac and cheese arrived steaming in a small cast iron crock. It had a slightly spicy kick. Unfortunately, we didn’t save room for dessert, which was a shame because the bread pudding looked fabulous.
I later learned that the restaurant uses herbs grown in Terra’s own organic garden, designed by the UNF organic gardening club. Those fresh flavors are evident in every bite.