There’s no guarantee that a restaurant, no matter how beloved, will survive its first year, particularly in the highly competitive West 7th area. However, Adam and Jalal Chanaa are no strangers to the business, and they know how to create food concepts with staying power.
More than two decades ago, the brothers launched their first successful venture in Dallas, the iconic Ali Baba Mediterranean Grill. Then in 2010, they made their Fort Worth debut with Terra Mediterranean Grill on Crockett. The Lebanese eatery is still going strong six years later and now has a sister location in Irving.
Commanding a coveted corner spot with an indoor-outdoor bar and small but well-situated patio, Terra looks like the ideal place to enjoy a mild Texas evening with a cucumber martini or glass of wine. But Terra’s longevity can’t be attributed simply to an attractive patio. No, at Terra it’s all about the food.
With a menu of classic Mediterranean heavy hitters, it’s hard to go wrong with anything on the menu. The “mezza” (appetizer) menu is particularly wonderful. It’s easy to enjoy a satisfying and shareable meal of only starters, whether you’re in the mood for grilled artichokes or fried calamari.
Our server suggested a combo plate of Hummus and Baba Ghanouj ($7). The hummus was perfectly creamy and a perfect foil for the slightly chunky texture of the lemony eggplant purée. Cheese lovers must try the grilled Haloumi ($12), served Caprese-style with slices of fresh tomato and basil leaves. The Lamb Moussaka ($14) is also outstanding. Served in a small stoneware casserole, this rich and earthy dish is made with allspice-scented ground lamb, eggplant, tomato and pine nuts. We enjoyed it spooned over warm pita bread.
For an entrée, the lamb burger and saffron chicken are favorites among regulars. But after (over)indulging on Terra’s hefty tapas, we weren’t interested in anything too heavy or rich. The salad menu is robust, but we opted for a mixed grill of Kabobs ($18). My favorite was the lamb, which was tender and had a slightly grassy, not gamey flavor. The kafta, a meatball-like blend of ground beef, onion, parsley, chilies and spices, was also juicy and delicious. For an extra $6, we added a skewer of yogurt-marinated, curry chicken kabobs.
All kabobs are served with a generous serving of saffron rice pilaf and a medley of roasted vegetables. If you have the chance, add a side of Terra’s flash-fried Cauliflower ($6), which is served with tahini sauce for dipping. It’s addictively delicious and also makes a great appetizer.
You may not have room for dessert, but Terra does offer rice pudding and baklava. We love that the nut mixture in the Baklava ($4) was served warm between two light-as-air sheets of filo. The dish had all the buttery-honey richness of the original without being as dense.
After a meal at Terra, one thing is certain. Any leftovers you take home will get eaten. It’s easy to see why over the years the Chanaa family has built such a loyal following. They have built their reputation on offering some of the best Lebanese cuisine in the Metroplex, and Terra is no exception.
Location: Terra Mediterranean Grill, 2973 Crockett St.
For Info: 817.744.7485
Hours: (Lunch Buffet) Mon.-Fri. 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Sun. 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; (Full Service Menu) Mon.-Thurs. 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., Fri. 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., Sat. 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Sun. 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
What We Liked: This is a great place to eat in the bar. The bartender was knowledgeable about the menu and very attentive.
What We Didn’t: During our visit, the lamb and chicken both came out a little overdone, so consider ordering your lamb medium rare if you prefer medium.
Our Recommendation: To get the most bang for your buck, try the lunch buffet, which is also available for takeout.