A friend at the table had what was billed as traditional penne alfredo ($15). She chose shrimp instead of chicken, and the pasta was firm and tossed with lots of grated cheese, the creamy sauce not at all cloying, though there was only one piece of broccoli in it. (Better to leave out announced ingredients when you run out, chefs, rather than tantalize.)

There was good news and bad news about Johnnie's choice, the vegan paella ($15). The saffron and vegetable-stock rice was yummy and the veggies abundant, with cherry tomatoes thrown in. Unfortunately, it was not, in fact, vegan. Our super-helpful waitress, Adelaida, checked with the kitchen on request and reported back that the appreciated buttery flavor was from butter and garlic butter. There's no excuse for this. None of us are vegans, but we wince for those who come here because Tierra is on vegan and celiac restaurant lists.

Fortunately, they have a great kitchen-made tres leches cake ($5.95). We left smiling.

Bill Rodriguez can be reached atbill@billrod.com.

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