Date of visit: 02/08/2009

Location: Vegas

“Honey,” says my honey, “This food is so flavorful.”

Yeah, I guess. If grill is a flavor, Mesa Grill has got it in spades. Don’t get me wrong, I like Bobby Flay. He is one of my favorite Iron Chef people, and I think it’s great that he knows how to make things spicy without totally killing the flavor. Bring on the ancho chile sauce!

And I love that he’s brought Southwest into cuisine. Yeah! But maybe it’s just me, or maybe it’s a guy thing. I just wasn’t in love with the food, which I found to be infused with two flavors: grill, and spicy (albeit, different kinds of spicy). Although Matt loved it, and the guy next to me loved it, as did the guy who came after him (although he had to keep making disclaimers for the woman he was with as she didn’t like spicy foods – why did they even come to this restaurant?).

Anyway, on to the meal. The blue corn pancake is supposed to be a favorite, and I can see why. It’s great. Because it’s not just spicy – it tastes like a Peking duck that was shredded and stuffed into a pancake that happens to be blue. I love the greens on it, and can barely taste the habeneros in the sauce. The goat cheese queso, while innovative, is flat. Let’s all just admit it now: goat cheese = not meant to melt.

Matt had the New Mexico spice rubbed (surprise!) pork tenderloin, which he proclaimed the most tender tenderloin he had ever had. I’ve stopped believing him as I think he says this every time. It was, however, beautiful, and very tender, perfectly cooked. I had the grouper, which was really unfair to Mesa, considering how well Reef did it. It was good, and very firm, and very grilled. I thought there could have been more innovation with the grilled onion (a couple of rings of bbq’ed onions) and crushed avocado (literally, a scoop of crushed avocado), which would have made the dish a lot more interesting.

For dessert, I tried the cornbread pudding, but substituted cornflake ice cream. It was tasty, but very, very dense. The cornflakes got a little mushy in the ice cream, which never helps things.

Recommended: I will recommend this to you men out there who like meaty, grilled things with meaty, grilled spicy sauces. Oh, and the duck pancake is good.

Price: $170 including tip and two margaritas.

Food – 3/5 if you don’t like the meaty. I guess 4/5 if you do.
Atmosphere – 3.5/5 pretty cool open kitchen, in the Caesar’s casino.
Miscellany – reservation time was NOT honored for us and many others.