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Jul 2, 2008 06:56 AM

Mesa Grill review

I haven't seen a review for Mesa Grill NYC in some time and went there Sunday night with a group of clients, overall the experience was excellent.

We shared a bunch of appetizers...The blue corn pancake with duck met expectations, the cerviches were EXCELLENT, the tuna and salmon tartare was very good and nice to be accompanied with plantain chips...but the mushroom grits with poached egg stole the show...fantastic dish that I would highly recommend.

Dinners were also fantastic...the spiced duck breast with habenero sauces was excellent, the tamale it came with was also quite good. the portion of the lamb chops were VERY generous and that dish had a great flavor, the filet was spiced excellent but not exactly a "steakhouse" quality filet, the best dish was probably the spice rubbed pork tenderloin which was spicy and perfectly cooked.

We also had a couple orders of the chili rellenos...very mild in spice but absolutely delicious!

For dessets, we shared the rhubabrd and cream cheese empananda, the corn bread pudding, and the banana crunch sundae...all good with the empanand probably the best.

Everyone claims that this place is overpriced....well 7 people who all drank, apps and dessert for unders $100 pp in Grammercy NYC seems ok to me, I will definately trust brining clients there again.

We also had the opporutnity to take a quick tour of the kitchen. It was quick because the kitchen is tiny...not the Celeb chef palaces you see today in the "open" kitchen styles. This was a pit, a pirate ship style galley smaller than some friends personal kitchens. It was truly impressive that the timing was perfect on all of our dishes (same with everyone around us it seemed). And despite being in the dinner rush, the chefs still made time for quick hello's in between plating...

Great experience, great food...hey not exactly fine dining...the room is loud, the attitude is casual, but there is little pretense.

Overall...I'm glad this place has stuck around for all these years, and now I know why.

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  1. Interesting. This is the first time I have read a positive review of the place. I guess they're really taking all of the negative reviews to heart and realizing they can't coast by on their reputation.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Avalondaughter

      Have you ever eaten there? It's true that the menu has remained the same for five years and the decor is a bit tired, but if you've never had Flay's brand of cooking before, this place is still great. It got old for me so I stopped going a couple years back, but honestly the negative reviews are mostly about service which was always a spotty issue. As long as you don't get some surly or forgetful server, there's no reason not to like Mesa Grill.

      1. re: jakew8

        A friend of mine is having a birthday dinner there during RW, and I was a bit concerned after reading some of the past reviews on this board, so it's nice to hear that it's still enjoyable.

      2. re: Avalondaughter

        I returned my steak at Mesa grill, it was inedible

      3. I think the main focus of most critiques is the inconsistency. For instance you can still go and get a four star meal, but if you get them on the wrong night you can also get a two star meal. The three times I've eaten there, I've had great meals twice and a medicore meal once (that once being the most recent vist).

        I definitely still recommend it to out of towners who will get a kick out of eating at a celebrity restaurant, but hestitate before recommending it to those with a bit more NYC experience.

        1. It has to be good or it wouldn't still be around. There have been a ton of examples where celebrity chefs have had places go under. (J-G Vong is as good a place as any to start)

          I am also getting tired of all the "hating" going on around here, as if doing that places you in some sort of cognescenti zone. I wish this people would get over themselves.

          Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the warnings but people are in this mode if it's not Babbo, EMP, or all sucks. *throws up hands*

          6 Replies
          1. re: thegreekone

            As far as I know, Vong is still around. Are you thinking of 66?

            1. re: jakew8

              hahahaha....I was thinking of both 66 and V Steakhouse.

              rrems....I agree about a lot of awful places that have been around forever, but MOST run by celebrity chefs, are history.

            2. re: thegreekone

              I do think there are a lot of places around that aren't great - good maybe, but not great. I've not been to Mesa Grill for years, but still think about the smoked salmon quesadilla.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Longevity definitely does not equal quality. Tavern on the Green. QED.

              2. re: thegreekone

                <It has to be good or it wouldn't still be around.>

                There are a lot of perfectly awful restaurants that have been around forever.

                1. re: thegreekone

                  I agree, someone needs to step up for the little guy. That Bobby Flay never catches a break... (I kid, I kid).

                  Overall I agree with you that many places get dissed because people love to pile on a place that's not one of the chosen few, but that doesn't mean everyone has to love Mesa Grill - and it certainly doesn't make dissenters "haters".

                2. I don't get to Mesa Grill often, but I always like it a lot. The room has good energy, and the food is creative, delicious, and fun--and nothing like what I make at home. I only wish I could afford to go there more regularly.

                  1. I love the duck app!!! But I have only been to Mesa at Ceasar's in LV, sounds like a similar menu. I normally am in LV at a conference by myself, I enjoy sitting at the bar, getting a couple of glasses of wine and a great meal. Need to give NY a try next trip.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: duck833

                      A friend and I went there for lunch on Friday. The blue corn pancake with bbq duck was amazing, as was the smoked lamb cobb salad. The pressed cuban burger was good, but the tuna and salmon tartares were just ordinary. Service was a bit spotting, waited about 20 minutes for our first round of drinks. Other than that, an enjoyable experience.