Saturday, June 16, 2012

Comer a la Mesa (To Eat at the Table)

Mesa Grill Restaurant
     As I was writing this, I wondered if I could try to write this entire post in Spanish. Who knows, it might count for extra credit. In fact, Mesa Grill is a Southwestern style restaurant by Bobby Flay. Within my family are some big Bobby Flay fans, and I have enjoyed eating at his Bar American before. This Memorial Day, while most people were either out grilling or at the beach, my family and I trekked to Mesa Grill in downtown New York.
     Mesa Grill is a restaurant that, in my opinion, is a good middle ground for dressy attire. It's not as fancy as a Jean Georges restaurant, but it's a few steps up from a Goodburger joint. When going to eat at Mesa Grill, I would recommend dressing less casually, but prepare yourself for a lot of flavor.
Tuna Nachos
     The food is generally based on a southwestern style, with burgers and fries paired with spicy chips and salsa. The twist is that Flay's food is more creative and stylized. To start our meal, my family ordered four appetizers--which we all shared. The first thing we ordered was the spicy salmon tartar, with a crisp hominy cake, piquillo pesto and cilantro vinaigrette. Second was the shrimp and garlic roasted tamale with fresh corn and cilantro sauce. Thirdly came the rough cut tuna nachos with mango-habanero hot sauce and avocado crema. This was my favorite, along with the salmon tartar. I am probably the only person who can pick out the seafood dishes at a Bobby Flay restaurant. Finally there was the goat cheese "queso fondido" with rajas and blue corn tortilla chips. That was my mom's favorite.
Salmon Tartar
Goat Cheese "Queso Fondido"
     What was really fun about all these appetizers was that they all have really creative takes on the traditional style of food. It's a fun, successful mash-up of southwestern barbeque, Mexican spices, and a bit of Bobby Flay flair.

     We also shared our drinks--all non-alcoholic, of course. I got a virgin Margarita, which was really sugary. Dash got a Shirley Temple; I refrained from tying the cherry stem in my mouth, my Dad got the signature virgin Mojito (to hear how this trend all started, read the beginning at What's a Mother-Daughter Date Without Lunch, Manicures, and a Glee Concert Where Your Mother Screams Louder Than You?) and Mom got a pineapple drink with a peppery kick. I think that hers was the most interesting out of all of ours.

My Margarita--Virgin, of course!
     After we had finished our appetizers and denied refilling our drinks, we got our main courses. Dash got the Mesa burger, which had double cheddar cheese, grilled vidalia onion, and horseradish mustard. Of course it came with fries. Dad got the hot smoked salmon club sandwich, with bacon, avocado, tomato, arugala, and chipotle aioli. It also came with fries that had spices and pepper thrown on them. I got the green chile cheeseburger, which had queso sauce, roasted poblanos, and pickled red onions, and fries. What Mom ordered was the cornmeal crusted chile relleno, which was filled with roasted eggplant, manchego cheese, sweet red pepper sauce, and balsamic vinegar.
Hot Smoked Salmon Club Sandwich
Green Chile Cheeseburger
Mesa Burger
Cornmeal Crusted Chile Relleno
     First, there was a ton of food on the plate. Probably some people would disagree with me, but there was way too much to be eaten in one serving. I also wasn't too enthusiastic of how the burgers and sandwiches fit into the type of meal we were eating. The appetizers were really interestingly plated, but the entrees just fell short of my expectations. I'm not saying that the entrees weren't good, they just could be better within the context of Mesa Grill.
     We had finished about half of our meal when we decided to give up and get doggie bags. Against the better judgement of my stomach, Dash wanted to order dessert, and I concurred. He ordered churros, which to his excitement came with a candle and the words, "Happy Birthday" written in chocolate. It was a super sweet dough drowned in sugar, and dipped in chocolate and caramel. For a now-thirteen-year-old-boy, it was sheer bliss. I got a dessert that was a mix of a brownie and chocolate lava cake, with bourbon roasted marshmallows. After eating so much of the appetizers and entrees, I wasn't particularly impressed with the desserts, but I was pretty full from the meal.
Dash's Birthday Churros

     After paying the check, my family and I shuffled our way out of the restaurant, completely full and satisfied. Dash chatted excitedly about his new video game magazine. As we were walking towards the train station, my dad did something very kind. We saw a homeless person on the sidewalk, and my dad handed him our unfinished meal. I smiled as my dad caught up with us and we headed home.

Here's to simply spending time with family,
     Yours, Kate

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