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Reviewed October 18, 2005   »   32avenue.com   |   justin-cheung.com     

Mesa Grill

102 5th Ave. - Union Square, New York, USA
Celebrity Iron Chef America Bobby Flay runs this gem right in Union Square. What more needs to be said? There's a reason why competitors around the world flock to compete against Bobby and not Don the Donut-Maker. True to his Southwestern cuisine roots, Flay concocts some serious firepower in his kitchen while maintaining surprisingly decent prices and healthy portions for his upper-class New York fare.

Be sure to start with the Spicy Tuna Tartare ($13), or if you'd prefer something more tame, get the Southwestern Ceviche ($15), which has a nice mix of seafood and citrus flavours. Try to resist getting more than one appetizer, because the main courses are pretty filling. You can't go wrong with the New Mexican Spice-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin (pictured, $28) which was by far the largest-portioned entree available. The pork was soft, tantalizingly juicy and had just the right amount of fat without making you feel like you were going into cardiac arrest. The Chile Honey Glazed Salmon (pictured, $28) had the smallest-sized portion, but the Salmon was chock full of flavor and juices. Beef lovers don't fret: the Spice Crusted New York Steak (pictured, $34) is served with a twist, accompanied by a Quiche instead of a baked potato and special "MESA" steak sauce. It's served medium rare, which was perfectly fine by us. Each slice of beef was so succulent and tender, you'd swear you were eating the beef in cow country instead of New York.

The desserts, though, was a completely different story altogether. We didn't know it was possible considering the entrees were already amazing, but the desserts still outshone the entrees. Be sure to go with at least 4 people as to qualify for the Dessert Sampler (2 pictures, $8.50 per person). We were lucky enough to do so and as such were treated to 5 different desserts (6 total servings): Spicy Chocolate Ice Cream Sandwich, Apple Creme Profiteroles, Mixed Fruit Salsa with Mango Ice, Tiramisu Creme Brulee, and the Warm Upside Down Gooey Chocolate Cake (2 servings). Needless to say, we attacked the desserts with reckless abandon.

Not a romantic restaurant by any means, Mesa Grill had a nice, relaxed atmosphere where one and just go to have a good time with some friends over dinner. The twists on recipes and creative plating made for an exciting dinner, and the waitstaff were friendly and impeccable. Be prepared to pay about $50 for dinner. Any lower and the restaurant would have a value label slapped on it, but hey - nobody's complaining!

4.7

out of 5.0

noteworthy
creativity
service
social
taste


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