Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Getting in touch with the Southwest: Mesa Grill

If I have one bone to pick with NYC it would be their fetish with weekend brunches. Now don't get me wrong, I love brunch. But I have more love for going into the city and having a lovely lunch on the weekends and for me this does not entail breakfast food items. NYC has this crazy notion that any meal on a weekend between the hours of 11-3pm are brunch and therefore require an altered menu full of breakfast fare.

About a year ago, I dined for the first time at Mesa Grill, Bobby Flay's NYC restaurant. This dinning experience though was tainted with the dreaded brunch hour. It was a delicious meal but I made the mistake of first looking at the dinner menu. This menu had many more options and appealing choices to pick from than the brunch menu I was given to pick from on this particular day. Of course I felt somewhat unsatisfied when the brunch meal ended.

Never fret for too long though as I recently had another opportunity to sample Flay's southwestern selection. For an appetizer we had what I believe they refer to as a fondito, a take on the French fondue I assume. I think the term more people are familiar with though is queso. This beautiful smooth white cheese is serve with a variety of chopped peppers on top and homemade blue corn chips lightly salted. I could eat buckets of this and be completely satisfied. But why limit yourself when there is a full menu to enjoy.

My entree was the roasted duck with somewhat sweetened rub and served with a churizo sausage tamale. Both were delicious and worked well together with the flavorings. Again all of the dishes I have sampled here have a southwest flare but are not hot/spicy. The portion was perfectly sized for meal on its own and not too big if you want to pair it with a dessert.

My mom enjoyed the Cornmeal encrusted chili rellano. It was filled with cheese and roasted eggplant. It is slow cooked so although there were a few hot bits the overall feel was sweeter. This a lighter meal and obviously a good vegetarian options. My way of looking at it is that it is good way to save room for dessert.
And dessert we had...it was beyond amazing. We opted for the coconut cake. I am a big fan of coconut and a good cake is just hard to find these days. This was incredibly satisfying but not too sweet and not too rich. The frosting was creamy but light and not overwhelming. The same can be said of the hint of coconut, there but not too powerful to be tropical.

Mesa grill is definitely worth the wait. Reservations can be made at Open Table.com and are highly recommended. The restaurant can be a bit noisy though so don't plan this for a real romantic and intimate experience. There is also a bar which serves specialty Margarita's.

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