#DateNight: Mexican Fusion at Mesa Urbana
Mesa Urbana is a completely different Mexican restaurant than any others I have visited. They are actually by definition a gastro pub, which means that they serve incredibly high quality food in a relaxed atmosphere. Their unique style of Mexican fusion is a welcome addition to the suburban culinary scene, and the laid-back, convivial atmosphere is both relaxing and buzzy.
I started off with an Urbana Margarita, which included Partida Blanco, cucumbers, orange, lemon, lime, simple syrup, and agave nectar. All of the juices are fresh squeezed- no over-sugary bottled mix here. The house tequila is actually 100% organic, and the simple syrups are all made in house. The margarita was delicious- refreshing with the addition of cucumber. They have a wide array of specialty cocktails including a Kiwi Fresa Mojito, Mexican Old Fashioned, and Blanco Sangria.
As for food, we ordered the special of the evening- queso fundido which included perfectly cooked shrimp nestled under a blanked of gooey, delicious melted cheese. Simply put, it was divine.
As for the main dish, my husband ordered Carne Asada cooked to a gorgeous medium rare. I opted for the Pescado Tacos- pan-seared grouper topped with a fresh mix of cabbage, pineapple relish, avocado and caper aioli.
I had to order the Elote en Tequesuite- grilled corn with cotija cheese, lime juice and creme fraiche. This is a twist on traditional Mexican street corn- cut off the cob and served in a dish. ABSOLUTELY divine.
The owner, Moe, was so excited about a new dish on the menu that he insisted on bringing it out (and we were thrilled he did): Ahi Tuna- seared with a sesame crust and served with celery root mash, mushrooms, baby bok choy and a ginger soy vinaigrette. It was excellent- the sesame crust added a depth of flavor without interfering with the tuna. The fusion of Mexican and Asian flavor is brilliant!
When I review a restaurant, I observe both how the staff treats me as well as how they treat other customers. I often eavesdrop (apologies, but I do!) on conversations of other patrons. This gives me a true indication of how the food is, how they are treated, and a general overview.
I sat sandwiched between a group of women on one side and a family on the other. From the women, "...that was the best salmon I have ever had in my life. I am coming back just for that." The family on my other side was celebrating a birthday, and the staff came to sing a cheerful birthday song. I also saw the owner making rounds through the restaurant, stopping at each table to chat. It wasn't just a cursory "how was your meal?" but a conversation about their whole experience, sometimes stopping to swap stories or photos with patrons.
I asked a passing waitress how she liked working at Mesa Urbana, and she absolutely raved about it. The owner Moe Taleb is one of 13 children; he has 10 brothers and 2 sisters. If they get overwhelmed, she mentioned that he makes a call to his siblings and they arrive within minutes, pitching in anywhere from running food to busing tables. This is a true family operation and a labor of love.
Speaking of family, this establishment is surprisingly kid-friendly! I saw a mix of every age dining- from infant on up to octogenarian, birthday celebrations to a girl's night out.
I can't recommend this restaurant highly enough. From the atmosphere to the fresh, inventive cocktails to the unique fusion food, this is an A+ in my book.
A huge thank you to Mesa Urbana for hosting my husband and I. We can't WAIT to come back!