I woke up the morning of my birthday with a loose agenda for the day: 1) massage and pedicure at a local spa, 2) shopping to find a birthday present for myself and 3) make reservations for a memorable birthday dinner to celebrate the 2-7. I narrowed it down to a few selections but couldn’t make up my mind. When Hans dropped me off at the spa that morning, I asked him to surprise me. In actuality, he did not surprise me when he picked Bobby Flay’s MESA Grill.
From the website: Bobby Flay brings his passion for bold and innovative Southwestern fare straight to the heart of the region that inspired it at Mesa Grill, Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. The desert outpost of the acclaimed New York City Mesa Grill opened to great success in 2004. Bobby developed his signature style of American cookery, marrying the flavors of southwest with his love of grilling at Mesa Grill.
We arrived right on time for our 6:45 reservation. We were asked to wait patiently in the bar area while our table was prepared. Only a few moments later, we were escorted to our front row seat of the kitchen activity:
I stared at the menu for twenty minutes. I needed some wine to help make some decisions. I told my waiter I was looking for something like a pinot grigio. He selected some Spanish wine that was an excellent choice:
Hans on the other hand was ready to go. He insisted he joined me in the wine consumption.
A lovely bread selection was placed on our table. The basket included an asiago cheese bread, a walnut raisin bread, and a blue corn muffin with corn and jalapeños:
Hans inhaled the asiago cheese pieces before I could turn my camera on. The boy loves his cheese bread. I enjoyed the piece of walnut raisin bread: it had nice texture. I appreciated that it wasn’t overloaded with either walnuts or raisins – you could taste the bread itself, which was yummy. Unfortunately, that muffin was a bit of a disappointment. Even with the jalapenos, there was no pop of flavor. I had high hopes for the cornbread and it just fell flat. I took a few small bites and decided to just drink some more wine instead.
From the appetizers menu, we split the Tiger Shrimp and Roast Garlic Corn Tamale with a Corn Cilantro Sauce:
After our first bites, we wished we ordered one for each of us. Splitting it was a good decision, as it was a very nice portion size for a starter. The corn cilantro sauce enhanced the shrimp and gave the tamale the moisture that it needed. We practically licked that corn husk dry. I definitely recommend this dish.
For my main, I ordered the Pan Seared Halibut with a New Mexico Red Chile Curry Sauce made with Corn, Cactus, Lime + Cotija cheese:
Another seafood selection from the menu, I was very pleased with this dish. The halibut filet was perfectly flaky. The Red Chile Curry Sauce was more smoky than spicy, which was a good thing. The smoky sauce worked well with the calm flavors of the fish. I enjoyed the side of corn salad of sorts, especially the choice of cheese holding it all together.
For his main, Hans ordered the Grilled Lamb Porterhouse Chops with Red Chile, Lime, Rosemary and a Green Corn Pudding with a Bacon Chive Vinaigrette with a side of mashed potatoes (un-pictured):
I love my husband for selecting lamb every time he sees it on a menu. The last time he ordered lamb out, it was slow roasted, falling apart in my mouth. This was a much different, heartier cut to the protein choice. The cut of chop was perfect, as was its preparation. Hans practically nibbled on the bone to get every piece of meat off of them. The un-pictured mashed potatoes were a disappointment. There was no seasoning and no salt/pepper on the table to help the situation. Perhaps the fact that I took two horrible photos of the dish was a sign from the get go.
As for that Green Corn Pudding: I may or may not have stolen it from Hans. Alright, I’m guilty as charged, but it was worth the crime! Velvety in texture and perfectly seasoned, I wish we had a full side portion of the pudding instead of the mashed potatoes. Though I have to admit, I was a bit overwhelmed by all the corn by this point. Overwhelmed: yes. Satisfied: yes. Ready to go home and crash after a long day: definitely.
LONG STORY SHORT: This was quite the birthday for me. Some pampering, some shopping and some spice all equates to a great pairing. Bobby Flay must have known this already. This was no cheap culinary evening out at MESA Grill. You are definitely paying for the celebrity name and the real estate. But we didn’t mind – it was for a special occasion on vacation, plus we ate very well and left with full bellies. I hope every day of me being 27 years of age is this fantastic!