mesa grill hostess
The row of empty seats. We eventually were seated at the very end by the wall

A couple of weeks ago, I figured I would utilize my New York Road Runners membership. After all, I paid $40. But let me explain- I didn’t spontaneously decide to join the running club. Jerry kept bugging me to sign up for the New York Half Marathon, which was like a whopping $120. With a membership, it’d get reduced to $100, so I thought why not? Jerry explained that you’d have to be very unlucky to not get selected for the race. Lo and behold, I get this email saying…

Jessie,

We’re sorry that your name was not selected in the lottery for this year’s NYC Half-Marathon, and we’d like to offer a special courtesy to you, a loyal NYC-area runner: a refund of your $5 application fee.

THANK GOD. If I had to run 13.2 miles, I would have died.

But… $5 refund?! What about my $40 membership refund? No go there. Apparently that’s non-refundable. So, that’s when I decided to sign up for the Scotland 10k.  Now, why did I pick the 10k? It was only $18 for members. Compare that to the 4-mile run next weekend, which was also $18. I figured, I’d get more bang for my buck from a mileage perspective.

scotland run

A mere 6.2 miles, I thought. I had alot of time to train. Then, it dawned upon me that it was in 13 days. Then I got the flu. In other words, there was no training involved.

I expected failure. I expected something like a 11 minute mile. As I’m running and passing each mile mark, I’m trying to calculate my time. I’m thinking to myself, “Wait did I just run the first mile in roughly 9 minutes? No, I had to have calculated wrong.” So I convinced myself throughout the race that I was running super slow and that I couldn’t add.

However, when the results came out, I finished in 1:00:10. That means…

A 9:44 MILE! Some of you may scoff, some of you may even be impressed. But on this rare occasion, I was actually happy! (This typically never happens with my race results)

To celebrate, I happily re-consumed all 600+ calories at Mesa Grill with Sabrina.

starters
We arrived at Mesa Grill at around 12:15pm. The reservation was for 12:30 but we were seated pretty quickly. It took a bit of haggling to change our seats and the host wanted to seat us at the very edge of the stairs right  by the door despite there being a whole row of seats. The host first said that he couldn’t change our seat because he was expecting a big party. Sabrina worked her magic and viola! We not only got a better table, but it had better lighting! Later the “big group” came and it was only a four-top. He made us think he needed to piece three tables together for a six-top. Host fail.

coffee bread

Complimentary Bread Selection: Coffee Cake, Cheddar PopOver, Fruit Scone, Jalapeno Cornmuffin

The host may have failed, but the bread didn’t. I think every Bobby Flay restaurant serves an in-house combination of their sweet and savory breads. (See Bar Americain) The best was by far the coffee cake, which was super moist. The second best was the cheddar popover. The fruit scone was a bit on the dry side, but Sabrina really liked it. The jalapeno cornmuffin was a bit of an anomaly. First off, what a weird combination. But second, it was multi-colored- half yellow and half gray with specs of corn. This was also a bit dry, but interesting.

One word of advice- Don’t eat too much. It fills you right up.

Second word of advice- Don’t order two appetizers and two entrees (this was Sabrina’s idea, and she calls me Piggie?!?!)

hash quesadilla
Crispy Bacon + Hashbrown Quesadilla with Fried Egg and Spicy Tomato Salsa ($11)

This was my first pick but seeing as Sabrina doesn’t like cheese, I was willing to settle on another appetizer. However, Sabs insisted that we get both. Boy am I glad we did that. This blew the roof of my mouth off. I mean, bacon + hashbrown + fried egg? Holy mackeroles.

Okay, I admit it. This is a glorified quesadilla. I mean, what quesadilla isn’t delicious? But the presentation on this carried it over the top. And the fried egg is a stroke of genius. I think they overcooked the egg as it didn’t run. This would have been the one time when I would have loved to have that runny yolk soak into the tortilla. Either way, it was delicious all the same. Considering how quesadillas at franchises such as Qdoba will set you back around $8, this really isn’t over priced at all.  The only complaint I have is that it was  just slightly over-salted. Still, hands-down the best dish of brunch.


melting cheese!!
See all that cheese? And more cheese?! I was in cheese heaven.

tuna nachos
Rough Cut Tuna Nachos with Mango-Habanero Hot Sauce, Avocado Crema ($11)

This was my second pick. I expected something, uh, less elegant. In other words, scattered tuna tartare on tortilla chips. This just looked like a lump of brain mass. Whoever came up with this presentation should be fired, but if he came up with the quesadilla presentation then he’s redeemed.

Luckily, the tuna is easy to de-clump. Fork and knife!

chips & tuna

How did it taste? It was way mellow by comparison to the quesadilla, but in a good way. The sauces provided an interesting contrast. The avocado crema didn’t do much for me, but I really enjoyed the Mango-Habanero hot sauce. I probably wouldn’t order this again, but for $11, it’s also on the cheap side considering you’re getting raw tuna. I’d recommend this if you’re looking for something light and refreshing but if you’re expecting it to blow your socks off, pass and order the quesadilla.

quesadilla!
Just in case you forgot what the quesadilla looked like…

burger!
Mesa Burger with Double Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Vidalia Onion and Horseradish Mustard on a House Roll + Southwestern Fries ($15)

Now, onto the entrees.

Third word of caution: When ordering two appetizers, split the entree.

The burger was ridiculously big. It was giant. In fact, it was the size of my head.

Unfortunately, it didn’t taste as good as it looked.

mesa grill burger

I ordered it medium rare. When it came, it was barely even medium, meaning they overcooked it to the point where it was almost well done. Good bye juice. What bothered me more however, was lack of flavor. I had to season it with ketchup, which is a BIG NO especially if I (or in the case Sabrina) have to pay $15 for it. The meat could have used a bit more salt. It felt like a burger that I could have gotten at a diner, but presented better. And it wasn’t just me. The guy who sat next to us only ate half of his burger too and no, he didn’t have any appetizers either.

The bun also bothered me. It was super dry and a bit over toasted. So by the end, I threw off half of it and ate it with one bun.

This was perhaps among the more disappointing burgers I’ve had.

fries!!

Both the burger and the sandwich come with these amazingly seasoned “Southern” fries. They were soft!

mesa grill pulled pork sandwich
Pressed Roasted Pork Sandwich with Grilled Red Onion, Arugula, Ancho Mayonnaise + Southwestern Fries ($14)

Sabrina’s pressed roasted pork sandwich, however, was bangin’ delicious. It was moist and flavorful. The ciabatta bread was also amazing. I was a big fan of the ancho mayo they used (surprisingly). Definitely get the sandwich over the burger. Too bad we ordered the two appetizers because we could nearly finish either of them.

Both of us loved the way the ketchup and mustard were presented- in shot glasses! Props there.

pulled pork up close

Look at that perfection!

more fries

This is what Sabrina’s plate looked like after. She touched like two fries. What a shame. Years ago, we would have completely polished everything off. I barely touched my fries either and felt so guilty for wasting all that food. Brunch was at 12:30pm. Nine hours later, I’m still ridiculously full.

Thumbs down to the burger, but thumbs up to the overall dining experience and price.

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