Mi Tierra Offers Some of the Best Mexican Food in Tennessee

Mi Tierra in Smyrna, TNMi Tierra in Smyrna, TNMexican food is one of the most popular ethnic cuisines in America. Like Chinese food, it is abundantly available in almost every city but no two restaurants are the same. The range in quality can vary from tasting like it came from the microwave to something somewhat of a culinary masterpiece. In Tennessee, there are dozens of Mexican restaurants but none of them have “wowed” me. There was always something that didn’t meet my expectations. After 378 days of living in Tennessee, I have now found my favorite Mexican restaurant: Mi Tierra.

Mi Tierra in Smyrna, TNMi Tierra is a relatively new Mexican restaurant that opened in Smyrna on April 14, 2010. Located in the Publix Shopping Center off of I-24 – Exit 70, Mi Tierra has it all: great dining atmosphere, great service, and last but not least, great Mexican food. The only complaint I have about Mi Tierra is that it’s small. Due to the fact that it’s a part of a small shopping center, there are cramped quarters, limited seating, and the current popularity of this restaurant will have you waiting for a table… especially on a weekend. The idea of waiting isn’t that bad, but due to the lack of space, only about 1-2 parties can wait at the hostess/cashier stand. Otherwise, you’ll have to stand outside as you wait for a table… which can be bad news especially if it’s raining. Luckily for Haley and I, the rain stopped a few minutes before we got there on Friday night.

Mi Tierra in Smyrna, TNA lot of Mexican restaurants I’ve been to either have no character, are unkempt, or appear gaudy/tacky. Mi Tierra on the other hand, is none of those and is actually pleasant to look at. Styled like a patio/walkway between brick buildings; the hostess stand, bar area, and open kitchen all appear as if they the edges of buildings with clay brick and clay roofing tiles. Each lacquered table is accompanied by unique Mi Tierra branded, leather-bound, homemade-style chairs.

The service here is very nice as well. Our server Miguel made sure to refill our drinks, refill our chips & salsa, and take care of our empty plates. Even the manager came by to ask us how our dining experience was (which is something I haven’t seen in a while at any restaurant).

Mi Tierra serves a wide variety of Mexican cuisine that you’re used to: dips, nachos, fajitas, grilled Mexican entrees, and specialty dishes. For those that don’t like Mexican food, Mi Tierra caters to them too so you don’t have to argue with your friends, family, or loved ones over the fact that they want to eat at a Mexican restaurant. They have a “Gringo” menu which features grilled steaks, fish, and a burger with options for a baked potato, steak fries, or grilled vegetables.

Mi Tierra's Award Winning GuacamoleFor appetizers, Haley ordered the cheese dip with jalapenos and I ordered their award-winning hand-made guacamole dip. To tell you the truth, I really haven’t liked guacamole until recently. All the kinds I’ve had in the past tasted like salty paste. The strange thing is that I like fresh avocado (I’ve had it in sushi). So after seeing it made table-side at another table, I knew I had to try it.

Chips, Salsa, & Jalapeno QuesoWe got the chips, salsa, and cheese dip first and Haley and I wolfed them down. The chips were warm and crisp with medium thickness. They weren’t fragile enough to break in your hand under the weight of the dips and not too thick where you thought you were eating taco shells. The salsa was served in a small carafe, salsa cruda style (raw sauce) with pureed tomatoes and tiny flecks of onion and cilantro with a medium heat. Personally I like coarsely chopped salsa (salsa fresca like Chuy’s) but Mi Tierra’s salsa still had good flavor and I ate a whole carafe by myself. The smooth, creamy, and slightly spicy cheese dip had tiny pieces of cooked jalapeno peppers embedded in it.

Freshly Made GuacamoleFreshly Made GuacamoleThe chips & dip were good, but I was still waiting on my hand-made guacamole. About the time we got done with our first basket of chips, a nice young lady named Ali came over with a cart full of several bowls and spices. She first started by cutting two fresh avocados and then placing them in a large stone bowl. She then asked what I wanted to add to my guacamole. Since I never had fresh guacamole before, I just told her to add everything she had hidden in her small bowls. So out came spoonfuls of freshly chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes, and jalapenos. Next came hand torn cilantro, freshly squeezed lime juice and a couple shakes of salt, pepper, and other seasonings. With all the contents in a bowl, she began mashing the contents with her spoon until the avocados were thoroughly mixed. I was then presented with the guacamole over a bed of lettuce in my own stone bowl.

Freshly Made GuacamoleThe hand-made guacamole’s texture was smooth and creamy with occasional bits of crunchiness from the other vegetables. My taste buds were bombarded with random flavors ranging from spiciness, heat, and citrus notes. Mi Tierra’s guacamole had a lot of character compared to the salty and pasty kind at other Mexican restaurants. It is important to note that Mi Tierra does serve the “other” guacamole. That is what comes with your entree at no charge.  I’m not sure guacamole comes canned but after having the hand-made stuff, I can’t go back.

Mi Tierra's Especial Dinner - Plate #1I ordered the “Especial Dinner” because I wanted a bit of variety of food to sample. The “Especial Dinner” consists of the following: bean chalupa, beef or chicken taco, chile relleno, chicken tamale, chicken or beef enchilada, Mexican rice, refried beans, lettuce, sour cream, tomatoes, and cheese. Certainly a big meal, I couldn’t eat it all. My favorite out of the sampling was the chile relleno and the chicken enchilada. The chile relleno was drenched in a salsa roja sauce with a drizzling of cheese dip. The pepper was firm (not mushy from overcooking) with an abundance of flowing cheese after cutting into it. The chicken enchilada was covered in a red sauce that had a tomato-based, roasted flavor. I want to say it was a mole poblano sauce, but I can’t be sure. The chicken was shredded and seasoned well with various Mexican spices with a hint of sweetness from cooked tomatoes.

Mi Tierra's Especial Dinner - Plate #2My least favorites were the chalupa and the tamale. Chalupa’s shells are supposed to be crunchy, but mine was partially soggy. I think it was because some of my salsa roja sauce from the chile relleno leaked over to the chalupa (they shared the same plate). On top of that, it was just refried beans topped with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and guacamole. I already had refried beans on my other plate and didn’t want another serving of it on a soggy shell. As for the tamale, I don’t like them no matter who makes them. Despite the similarity in texture to cornbread, they often absorb the liquids they are covered with. So to me, they taste like a bland corn paste. I did like the chicken filling though (same that was in my enchilada) and found myself dissecting the masa shell and eating the chicken filling.

As for the rest of my entree (Mexican rice, refried beans, and beef taco), they were good but nothing revolutionary. The beef in the taco was seasoned well and the refried beans did have a slight salty flavor (which I prefer over unsalted refried beans). To me they are just sides to help fill you up on an already huge meal. Overall, I loved my entree but I could have done without the tamale & chalupa. Next time I’ll probably get one of their several specialty enchiladas and add the chile relleno à la carte.

Like I said before, Mi Tierra is my favorite Mexican restaurant thus far in Tennessee. It has great staff and the atmosphere is different. Aside from that, they have menu items that can cater to people who don’t like Mexican food and even offer a frequent dining program for free gift certificates. Most important though is the food, which is superb. Writing this review, I am already imagining that awesome hand-made guacamole and a plate full of enchiladas and a chile relleno. I can’t wait to go back…

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Mi Tierra Mexican Restaurant
579 Almaville Road
Smyrna, Tennessee 37167
(615) 547-2396
www.mitierrajalisco.com

Bill Total: $18 ($32.65 w/ Haley’s Meal)

Mi Tierra on Urbanspoon

Ratings:
Food:4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 
Service:4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 
Atmosphere:4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 
Price:4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 
Overall:4.0/5.0 ★★★★☆ 
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2 comments to Mi Tierra Offers Some of the Best Mexican Food in Tennessee

  • Kelly

    You didn’t mention the margarita’s. Are they any good?

    • Hi Kelly! I did try a margarita from there on Cinco de Mayo last week. I had the option of frozen or non-frozen and I went with the latter. I was told that it was premixed due to the holiday volume and it was very good. It was tart and not too strong, but after drinking one I got a little tipsy.

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