Friday, January 27, 2006

Eating at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill

This week is restaurant week in NYC and that means $35 three course meals at lots of great restaurants that would normally cost you way more. Tonight Cnote took me to Mesa Grill. which is owned by FoodTV megachef Bobby Flay. The restaurant is in a tall space with a bar dominating most of one side and a lofted seating area opposite it. We sat by the windows in front of the bar. We both started with margaritas, frozen regular for me and grapefruit for Cnote. The grapefruit one was interestingly sweet, the regular was very bland. The restaurant week menu gave us a choice of 3 appetizers, 3 main courses and 2 desserts.

A basked of three types of really really good bread was put on our table (blue corn, sourdough, and a spicy-type bread). For my appetizer I went the Crispy Black Bean Risotto Cake (with BBQ Pulled Pork, Tomatillo Sauce + Queso Fresco). This was amazing- the best thing served the whole meal. It was a tiny fist-sized round crusted risotto at it's base topped with the bean/pork mixture with cheese sprinkled on top. The pork had an incredible smoky flavor to it. Cnote got the Roasted Cauliflower-Green Chile Soup (with Goat Cheese + Blue Corn Taquito). I took a sip and thought it was good even though I don't like cauliflower.

We patiently waited in the noisy room for our main course. I got the Sixteen Spice Chicken (with a Mango-Habanero Sauce & Buttermilk-Chive Mashed Potatoes). The chicken was good but not great. They cooked it well- juicy despite the generous dry rub on it but it was lacking in flavor throughout the entire piece. It was served over spinach with the mango-habanero sauce artfully splattered on the huge plate. The chicken and sauce had a spiciness to them but they were not hot. The mashed potatoes were excellent; extremely buttery smooth. Cnote had the Ancho Chile-Honey Glazed Salmon (with a Spicy Black Bean Sauce + Roasted Jalapeno Crema). I had a few bites and it was good- especially the black beans.

For dessert we both ordered the Chocolate Coconut Bread Pudding (with Passion fruit Syrup). The coconut gave it a great burst of freshness but overall I was not a huge fan of this dessert. Overall the meal was good but I think the lack of choices on the restaurant week menu caused some food choice compromises and inhibited our full enjoyment of this restaurant.

file me under: food_