Tacos, Tequila and Lobster! Oh My!
If you love mom-and-pop places and you have a penchant for fresh, flavorful and unique Mexican food, venture just outside the bubble to Mesa Restaurant. The Grapevine loc-ation is an expansion of the family-owned Oak Cliff restaurant that has been named one of the 100 Best Restaurants in Dallas by D Magazine and has fed notable A-listers such as Conan O’Brien, Jay-Z and the Queen B herself, Beyoncé.
Prominently situated in Grapevine Station, Mesa serves upscale Mexican coastal cuisine that’s handcrafted with love by husband-and-wife chef owners, Raul and Olga Reyes. The duo hails from Alvarado, a coastal city in the Mexican state of Veracruz. Tapping into the flavors they grew up eating, the chefs put forth plenty of Veracruz-style Mexican dishes ranging from ceviche to lobster enchiladas. Patrons can also pick from a few Tex-Mex options on the menu, including fajitas and tacos.
Considering that Chef Olga’s authentic mole has been voted the best in Dallas (it’s a family recipe with more than 20 ingredients), we had to get a taste. The Mole Mama Cata, the restaurant’s signature dish, is not to be missed. Handmade tortillas are dipped in a rich mole sauce and filled with tender, mole-braised chicken. No lumpy refried beans plopped on the side; instead, the enchiladas are served atop a bed of jasmine rice and julienned vegetables. The dish is drenched with more of Mesa’s magical mole, which is warm and comforting, with an undeniable hint of chocolate. The sauce is so good, we wonder if Chef Olga would consider selling a bottled version.
The menu doesn’t overwhelm with options, which allows Mesa to focus on perfecting its specialty coastal dishes such as Guiso Del Chef (a wave of seafood in a white wine and beer sauce) and Camarones Enchipotlados (fresh Gulf shrimp and chipotle sauce). Land lovers will delight in the Tenderloin Enchiladas (handmade corn tortillas with beef tenderloin and tomatillo sauce) as well as enchiladas packed with black beans or veggies.
The bar menu aims to please with a sizeable selection of spirits, wines and cervezas that range from Rahr Ugly Pug to Modelo Especial. A dozen or so cocktails, including the Mesa Martini (Lunazul tequila, triple sec and fresh lime and orange juices), are also worth exploring. We happen to love the Mesa Horchata, a spiked version of the classic Mexican rice-almond-cinnamon beverage. Mesa’s variety combines housemade horchata water with Cruzan cinnamon rum and vanilla. Sipping this sweet concoction feels as though we’re perched in a seaside cantina.
1000 Texan Trail