There is one place that Bryan always visits without fail whenever he travels to Las Vegas for business.
Yep, it's absolutely no surprise that this million mile world traveler, who loves hot chilies and Mexican food in general, gravitates towards Bobby Flay's bold flavors at Mesa Grill.
Mesa Grill earned a coveted Michelin Star in 2008, only to lose it by the 2009 edition. Michelin did not publish a Las Vegas Guide in 2010, so we won't know until 2011 whether Bobby Flay will get that star back.
This doesn't appear to have affected business at all. Mesa Grill is still one of the most popular destinations inside Caesars Palace. Its combination of excellent food, casual atmosphere, and reasonable prices (by Vegas standards), seems to continue bringing people back for more.
Blue Corn Pancake
Barbecued Duck + Habanero Chile-Star Anise Sauce 15
If it's your first time here, you must get some of his signature dishes, which are all excellent. The blue corn pancakes are a must-get appetizer. It's sort of like Bobby Flay's spicy interpretation of the traditional Peking duck wrap. I love it and I tend to order it pretty often (sometimes even as my entree!).
Tiger Shrimp and Roasted Garlic Corn Tamale: Corn - Cilantro Sauce 16
The shrimp tamale is also incredibly good. It's rich, for sure, but the sweet corn works beautifully with the plump and juicy shrimp. This is another classic that we order over and over again.
New Mexican Spice Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Bourbon - Ancho Chile Sauce, Sweet Potato Tamale, Crushed Pecan Butter 36
We tried this dish our first time at Mesa Grill and absolutely loved it. The medium-cooked pork (yes! it's still quite pink!!) is succulent, juicy, and covered with a deliciously spicy and flavorful Bourbon-Ancho Chili rub that is out of this world. If you can only order one entree, I would definitely recommend this one!
Rough Cut Tuna "Nachos"
Mango - Habanero Hot Sauce + Avocado Crema 18
I should have learned the first time around that I don't love Bobby Flay's interpretations of raw fish. I guess my standard is kind of high when it comes to raw fish in general, and I don't think they use very high quality tuna in this dish. For some reason, I think the strong sweet and spicy flavors overwhelm the tuna. This dish was only so-so and I would not order it again.
Pan Seared Squid
New Mexico Chile, Toasted Garlic, Tangerine 15
Lamb Shank Posole
Red Wine - Red Chile Broth, Cabbage, Hominy, Cotija 36
Bryan got the lamb shank and thought that it was pretty good, though probably not something he would order again. In the end, it did not stand out and wow him the way other dishes have done so in the past.
Green Chile Cioppino
Jumbo Prawn, Scallop, Grouper, Mussels, served with Blue Corn Stick, Scallion Butter 40
Sixteen Spice Chicken
Mango-Garlic Sauce, Mango - Green Onion Salsa, Cilantro Pesto Mashed Potatoes 30
The chicken cane with a wonderful mix of sauces that gave the fried chicken a complex yet delicious kick. The dish tasted the best when your bite included a bit of each sauce (mango garlic and mango-green onion).
Alas, I dined here with a large party and did not have a chance to sample everyone's dish, so I cannot give as detailed comments on each dish as I normally do! Nevertheless, I've come here enough times to say that I highly recommend this restaurant. If you like interesting, bold, and spicy flavors, you will love Mesa Grill. Sometimes the wait can be long if you show up without a reservation, so I would definitely recommend calling ahead!
Bryan has already told me that he plans on going to Mesa Grill again during his business trip to Las Vegas next month. What is he going try this time?
This post is part of a larger Las Vegas series. Posts in this series:
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