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Sombra Changed My Mind About Mexican Food

Mexican restaurants can sometimes look alike, and, let’s face it, oftentimes, if you’ve tasted the cuisine at one south-of-the-border-inspired eatery, you’ve sampled the same fare at another. I’ve mentioned before that Mexican cuisine, which can be heavy and unappetizing-looking, is my least favorite, but that opinion changes when I walk through the door at Sombra Mexican Kitchen in Ridgeland. For starters, Sombra’s décor is eye-appealing and modern, and, even better, the restaurant serves fresh, creative, and, yes, even light Mexican food.

Whether you choose a table in the cheerful, well-appointed dining rooms or dine al fresco on the airy outdoor patio under a colorful umbrella, either venue will certainly liven any lunch or dinner. Sombra is now open in Flowood, but I’ve dined more often in Ridgeland, so I’ll focus on that location.

For starters, the restaurant's modernized versions of traditional Mexican appetizers and entrees are quite tasty and always fresh. I especially like Sombra’s easy-to-read menu, which categorizes many dishes by price.

For example, for lunch, $5.99 brings a variety of small plates filled with either chili Relleno, chalupa, cheese fries, or tamales and sides. For $6.99, you can enjoy these entrees served with a salad; enchilada or taco combo; Huevos Ranchero or burrito bowl, and in the $7.99 category, chimichanga or burrito combo; chopped steak, tortilla club wrap, soup and salad, and mini taco salad.

Daily lunch specials are $9 and include Tejano chicken with sides, brisket, chimichurri skirt steak, redfish, and fried catfish. And, yes, Sombra even manages to pull off seafood and other ordinary dishes with a creative flair that elevates them to a new level.

Now, on to my favorite item on the menu and in my opinion, something Sombra prepares better than almost any Mexican or other restaurant I’ve visited: fajitas. Sombra’s fajitas are utter perfection.

From the house-made corn or flour tortillas, to the sautéed onions and peppers, and the star, excellently-grilled steak and chicken, a meal, Mexican or otherwise, simply doesn’t get any better. And believe me, this is high praise from a non-Mexican food person. Even the accompaniments of Mexican rice and frijoles a la charra are a step above the normal sides served with a Latin meal. Everything is homemade, fresh, and delicious.

Sombra’s dinner menu is a little more extensive and includes appetizers like Mexican street corn bowl ($6), guacamole ($9), Mexican layered dip ($10), and kitchen sampler ($21). This is a mammoth platter filled with barbecue nachos, chicken quesadilla, Mexican layered dip, cheese dip, black bean salsa, and pico de gallo.

There’s also a large assortment of quesadillas and nachos from which to choose, including kitchen nachos ($9) filled with your choice of meat for a little extra; borrachas nachos ($8.50, with choice of meat or seafood for additional price), and quesadillas ($9-$13 depending on vegetables and meat added).

As you would expect, tacos possess a prominent space on the menu and for good reason. Delicious offerings like tacos al carbon ($12) filled with grilled chicken or steak with Mexican peppers and onions or ones with chili-glazed shrimp ($13), brisket ($13), fish ($13-$15), and seared tuna ($15) are never bad choices.

Burger-lovers can select the Sombra burger ($14) topped with fried egg, bacon, and cheese or the quesadilla burger ($9.50) among others, including tortas.

Traditional Mexican platters served with rice and beans include the enchilada platter ($15), chimichange ($11) and build-your-own ($9.50 for two entrees; $13 for three), among many other choices.

As expected, the fajita menu is extensive, filled with mouth-watering selections of redfish ($18), skirt steak ($16), steak and chicken ($15), surf and turf ($29), and grilled shrimp ($14). I promise, just take one bite of Sombra’s fajitas and you’ll understand why they’re one of my favorite restaurant choices.

As mentioned, everything that emerges from Sombra’s kitchen is delicious, including non-Mexican dishes like baby back ribs ($14-$24), fried shrimp ($14.50), and smothered chicken ($12).

Sombra is located at 140 Township Avenue, Suite 100 in Ridgeland and 111 Market Street in Flowood.

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