Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mesa Grill - Southwest Meets Celebrity Chef

Mesa Grill - 102 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10011
N/W/R/Q/4/5/6 Train to 14th Street Union Square

Mesa is just minutes away from work and I pass by it everyday. I've been here once for a wonderful, celebratory lunch but I've never tried dinner. Only hearing good things but unable to go on a casual night--it's expensive--I knew that restaurant week presented a perfect opportunity.

Your first thoughts when walking in are likely to be "how chic", "niiice place" or "trendy" rather than "rustic" or "Southwestern." It is a Bobby Flay restaurant after all so it's not surprising that it's ultra modern. The only Southwestern-ish touch is the seat upholstering with cowboys on wild horses, swinging lassos--kind of kitschy, kind of cool.

What I love most about the space at Mesa is exactly that, its spaciousness. The ceilings are incredibly high, the dining room flow broken by stunning pillars that feel larger than life. The lighting is funky yet subtle and the warm yellow tones on the walls are comforting.

The crowd that hangs here is young and professional. You'll see a lot of attractive women in smart clothes and men in suits. I know that people from work come here often and Mesa is a popular venue for business lunches and dinners.

I have only great things to say about the grub--it simply blew me away and my friends Kimberly and Michelle agreed. While the restaurant week menu was not too extensive, it offered wonderful options, which we were eager to try.

I started off with the black bean soup with cream, chile and guacamole. This was so yummy and really thick--it was a perfect way to melt away the winter chill. And even though the portion was large, I ate every last bit. One way that I enhanced the soup was by crumbling a black bean, corn muffin into it--the muffin was already on the table, served before our meal. Kimberly and Michelle both ordered the same app--the Fry Bread Taquitos. Wow! The fry bread was to die for but the jerk chicken that rested on it was even better. It came topped with crunchy cabbage slaw and sweet mango sauce. I think that I would definitely order this next time around.

We all ordered the Sixteen Spice Chicken for our entree, which came recommended by our waiter. And needless to say, we weren't disappointed. The meat was so juicy and flavored to perfection--although it had much spice, it was still gentle on the senses. But I think the best part of this dish was the side of cilantro mashed potatoes and the chunky mango salsa. The mashed were creamy and had a vibrant, herb taste that wasn't overpowering. It was fun to gather a nice forkful of the mashed and dip them into the mango salsa.

The sweet only got sweeter with our dessert selections. Kimberly and I ordered the banana rum bread pudding and Michelle got the vanilla crunch profiteroles. Oh my, was I happy! The bread was clearly a fresh banana loaf which melted in your mouth. The coolest part though was the topping of sour cream ice cream--a nice complement and I've never had anything like it. I highly recommend it! After all that eating, I didn't have it in me to try Michelle's dessert but she assured me that it was as delectable as it looked--and based on our whole experience here, I 100% believed her!

Service and Cost:
No complaints here. Our waiter was again, a little strange but did his job well. Our food came out quickly and the check situation was easy to handle.

Mesa stayed true to the restaurant week concept--$35 prix fix, no bull&*^%! And even though their menu didn't have the choices Molyvos had, the selections were smart and very representative of their regular dinner menu. Yay Mesa!


  1. I had been looking forward to Mesa (it's hard t find good southern-inspired fare in the city)...just one suggestion for improvement--the bread pudding was doused in a little too much rum, IMO. it was a little overpowering for my liking--and distracted form the yummy banana flavor. otherwise a wonderful meal in great company!

  2. wow that meal sounds so good. Ive been wanting to try Mesa for awhile as I am a fan of Bobby Flay. definitely will have to try soon!

  3. It's really awesome Carrie. I urge you to try it!

  4. My friend and I also went for restaurant week. We weren't crazy about the salad, but the Mahi Mahi was great, and we've been talking about the profiteroles ever since! :)



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