#DateNight: Mexican Fusion at Mesa Urbana

I have been on the search for a Mexican restaurant that has some flavor. Many restaurants seem to rearrange the same ingredients in different ways for every dish which, although it may be delicious, doesn’t keep me coming back.

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!