For a few years now, the Bishop Arts District of Oak Cliff has been the dining destination for locals and tourists alike. While the area offers many restaurants and even some of my personal favorites, it isn’t until you travel just a few blocks south to Jefferson Street that you find a true neighborhood gem in Mesa.
Hidden between a strip of retail shops, blink and you may miss the sign. Serving Veracruz Coastal Cuisine, Mesa isn’t your average Mexican restaurant. With clean flavors, stunning presentation and some of the best service I’ve had in town, it immediately stepped up to the top of my list.
I was surprised at how small the restaurant itself is, after all, it has a BIG reputation around town. With less than a dozen tables in the main entry and sprawling bar, Mesa feels super exclusive without being stuffy. The large windows at the front of the building open up and patrons can grab a barstool to dine there and with Mesa offering weekend brunch, I imagine those are the prime seats when Dallas weather cooperates.
Since I had never dined at Mesa prior to this visit, I immediately inquired with my waiter about what the can’t miss dishes we’re and he giggled and gave me the answer any good waiter would, “how could I pick a favorite? It’s all so good!” and, oh, how good it all actually was.
I started with the Enmoladas which consists of four perfectly folded Corn Tortillas topped with Mole Sauce and Queso Fresco. Now, I have heard nothing but good things about the Mole Sauce here at Mesa, I mean, Beyoncé herself even had it when she was last in town. In general, I’ve never been a huge fan of Mole but after my waiter explained to me that it takes hours upon hours to make and that it is a family recipe, I simply had to try it. Whoa! With rich, dense flavor that managed to be potent but light, now I understand what all the fuss is about. Before even taking the last bite of the Enmoladas, I wondered to myself when the next time was that I could enjoy this dish.
For my entrees, yep, that’s plural, I went with the Huachinango A La Veracruzana as well as the Lobster Enchiladas. The Huachinango A La Veracruzana is Red Snapper on a bed of Jasmine Rice the topped with Cherry Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, Mushrooms, Jalapeños, Pearl Onions and Swiss Chard. This dish tasted like you were cheating on your diet when in all actuality you weren’t. Perfectly cooked fish with fresh vegetables done in a sexy way? Count me in!
The Lobster Enchiladas truly could not be more beautiful. A vibrant, orange Bell Pepper Cream Sauce engulfs Handmade Corn Tortillas filled to the brim with Fresh Pacific Lobster the topped with Avocado and Blue Crab. It’s almost too pretty to eat..almost being the key word. The tortillas are so fresh they melt in your mouth and the sauce has just enough flavor to not overpower the main star of the dish, the large chunks of lobster.
When my plates were practically licked clean, I sighed, wishing I could do it all over again. Mesa is a real treat that can’t be missed and for the portion size and incredible food, it is quite affordable! Grab a seat at the bar and dine solo, take a hot date you want to impress here or meet your parents here so they think you are super cool and in the know!
Insider tip: The Rice Pudding is AMAZING! It’s not a dessert item you see very often and it was definitely one of the best I’ve had.