Tonight I went to Mesa Grill for Renee's birthday. She's an amazing cook, so it made perfect sense to celebrate her birthday with great food and company. I walked by twice before I identified the entrance, which is subtle, to say the least. Inside the decor wasn't to my taste, except in the very cute bathroom. The main restaurant had a little too much going on with the bright colors, pillars, and the metallic flames (?!) above the bar. However, our reservation was promptly honored and that always starts the evening off on a high note. Throughout the evening our service continued to be pretty efficient.
I ordered the Tomato-Tortilla Soup with White Cheddar Cheese, Avocado, and Cilantro ($10) to start. It had a great flavor; the avocado was very essential as it was also quite spicy. I also tried Renee's Shrimp and Roasted Garlic Corn Tamale with Fresh Corn and Cilantro Sauce ($15). It was unique and tasty, but the fresh corn tasted just like canned cream corn and that was a little confusing. What I really wanted to order to start were the Crispy Squash Blossoms stuffed with Ricotta Cheese, but I heard they were a very small serving for $13, so I passed.
For my entree, I had trouble deciding between the Grilled Mahi-Mahi with Roasted Pineapple-Cascabel Chile Sauce and Caramelized Pineapple-Green Onion Salsa ($29) and a few sides ($7 each). I ended up ordering the Cauliflower-Green Chile Gratin and the Mashed Potatoes with Cilantro Pesto ($7 each). The mashed potatoes were good, but the cauliflower gratin was outstanding: cheesy, spicy, delicious, and nothing I could create at home. Of the other main courses I tasted the highlight was the New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin - oh so tender and full of flavor.
While I am not anxious to return for dinner as I felt like the food didn't live up to the prices, I am anxious to go for dessert! Everyone was way too full to indulge, but the dessert menu looked awesome!
Location: 102 Fifth Avenue (between 15th and 16th Streets)
Hours: Mon-Thurs 12:00p-2:30p 5:30p-10:30p, Fri 12:00p-2:30p, 5:30p-11:00p, Sat 11:30a-2:30p, 5:30p-11p, Sun 11:30a-3:00p, 5:30p-10:30p Cost: $$$