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Apr 10, 2012 01:40 PM

How to Survive at Mesa Grill

I don't think the food at Mesa Grill is very good. My boss does not share this opinion, so he generously treats me to dinner there once every week or two. He has no interest in trying new restaurants.

Since I have yet to some across any dish that is worth ordering repeatedly, I find myself in the unique position of being able to work through the menu. I have tried almost everything on it.

I hope this post can provide some guidance to any 'hound unfortunate enough to find him or herself eating at Mr. Flay's flagship restaurant.

One of the most important things to remember is, when you order a dish, ask if it comes with the special Bobby Flay sauce. Many of the dishes on the menu do. If so, ask for the sauce on the side. Now, I seldom ask for any kind of substitutions at restaurants, I'm a strong believer in leaving myself in the hands of the chef. The problem is, the proteins at Mesa grill tend to be of good quality, and cooked quite well. Then they're drowned in a cloyingly sweet semi-spicy Mexicanish barbecue candy sauce that completely masks the flavor.

Here are some of the better dishes I've had:

-Shrimp & Roasted Garlic Corn Tamale

Sweet and creamy. While a bit heavy, this is not a bad dish at all. And the usual barbecue sauce is absent, replaced with a creamy corn cilantro sauce.

-Mango & Spice Crusted Tuna Steak

A big hunk of tuna, cooked medium rare with a not-too-overwhelming spice rub. It comes with decent couscous.

-Chipotle Glazed Rib Eye, sauce on the side

This is a pretty nice boneless rib eye, and they cook it perfectly. It's quite flavorful, perhaps too much so (the sauces, not the meat).

-Sticky Toffee Pudding

This is a pretty straightforward, but pretty solid example of a sticky toffee pudding. Even though most of the savory dishes on the menu are too sweet, this dessert is not.

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  1. How to Survive at Mesa Grill?

    Easy: Prickly Pear Margaritas.

    1. Haven't been to Mesa Grill since the mid-1990's. And then, it was just once for dinner (excellent) and once for brunch (meh).

      I'm a sticky toffee pudding fanatic, so I will have to try it there.

      I prefer lamb to steak. I see there's a lamb porterhouse chop on the dinner menu. Also, the chili relleno sounds good. It's stuffed with eggplant, which I love. Have you tried these?


      4 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        I'm not a sticky toffee pudding fanatic, but I do enjoy it. If you do try it, I'd be curious to know how it stacks up.

        The lamb is actually next on my list. I'll report back.

        1. re: lexismore

          You'll probably get there before I do, so I look forward to hearing what you think of the lamb. And I'll definitely let you know about the sticky toffee pudding. But in case you want to try it elsewhere and make comparisons yourself, two places that have excellent versions are Blue Smoke and North End Grill.

          Photo of Sticky Toffee at Blue Smoke: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...

          and at North End Grill: http://www.flickr.com/photos/11863391...


        2. re: RGR

          So, I tried the lamb.

          It's a good amount of lamb, and mine was cooked to a perfect medium rare. But there were two large problems with it. The first is, the lamb itself was pretty bland. The second is, it was smothered in thin slices of hot (I believe Serrano) peppers and mint. Unfortunately, it managed to be quite spicy but with very little flavor. Not a great combo, imho.

          1. re: lexismore

            Thanks for coming back to report about the lamb, lexismore. What a shame!


        3. Stick with the steak. Its a good cut of meat and doubtful they will screw it up.
          Of course, sauce on the side.

          1. DH LOVES, I mean LOVES Mesa Grill. Me, not so much. I am so glad to know I am not the only one who is not a fan. We live in CT and he wanted to take a trip down to have dinner there one night. So far I have successfully talked him out of it. Thanks for your advice Lexi in the event I am over-ridden some day :) . And, yes- prickly pear margaritas will help!

            1. Try some expensive Tequila.
              Cant you convince him to try one of Bobby's other places?

              5 Replies
              1. re: princeofpork3

                hmm...maybe. We had eaten at Bolo as well, but he liked Mesa better (go figure). How is Bar American?

                1. re: justme123

                  Average. You could always decline the invite. Bad dinner at a place you have been 20+ times is not necesary a treat or reward.

                  1. re: justme123


                    Bolo served Spanish-influenced cuisine, so very different from Mesa Grill's, I was sorry that Bolo closed as the food we had there was delicious. We had dinner at Bar Americain once. Horrible!


                    1. re: princeofpork3

                      I do explore their tequila when I'm in the mood. Unfortunately, it's not my favorite hard liquor.

                      And no, he only goes to places he's already been to. It's quite the paradox. I could decline the invite. But I won't. Not a wise move for me job-wise.