Mesa Grill folds spice and style into magnificent menu
By Brock Radke
Photos by Big French
Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill has grown into a Caesars Palace mainstay, and for good reason: located conveniently across the casino from the grand Colosseum theater and the sports book, it’s in the thick of the action, and its vibrant, flavorful cuisine hits the spot whether you’re looking for a refined preshow supper, a satisfying lunch or anything in between.
Entering the colorful, glass-encased restaurant feels like wandering into an elite party. The shimmering amber bar is almost always packed, and there’s a constant hum of conversation (and exclamations of gastronomic pleasure) rolling through the tables in the dining room. It’s something of a big-city dining experience, perhaps reflecting the experience of the New York-based Flay, but while the setup is intimate, the space is deceptively large, open and comfortable.
Mesa Grill is one of Caesars’ most popular lunchtime destinations, when already approachable fare finds more casual notes to strike. There are many gourmet burger joints up and down the Strip, many with celebrity chef names attached, but insiders know the Mesa Burger is one of the best in the city. Double cheddar is melted over a thick beef patty and topped with grilled, sweet onions and a peppy horseradish mustard. If you’re looking for bolder Southwestern flavors, check out the green chile burger, loaded with roasted poblano peppers and pickled red onions. Lighter lunch favorites include a smoked chicken and black bean quesadilla with toasted garlic crème fraîche, a deconstructed corn tamale with tiger shrimp and cilantro sauce, or the grilled swordfish club sandwich, with bacon, avocado and tomato supplementing expertly cooked, delicate fish.
Many daytime dishes are available on the dinner menu as well, but grilling is what Flay is known for and that’s where the spotlight shines for supper. Perhaps you stopped and lingered at the circular glass wall where Mesa’s grillmasters ply their trade as you walked to your table, a drool-inducing display of skill and attention sure to make your entrée decision increasingly difficult. Steak options include a juicy New York strip, the tender coffee-rubbed filet mignon with mushroom and ancho chile sauce, or the mighty 22-ounce bone-in chipotle-glazed ribeye. Tough choices, remember? The mango and green peppercorn-crusted tuna steak and wild striped bass in green chile-curry sauce are favorites from the sea, and the luscious spice-rubbed pork tenderloin, with hints of bourbon, is a signature dish. For a different taste, try the chile relleno, an elegant cornmeal crust around a smoky poblano pepper filled with roasted eggplant and manchego cheese.
Small plates and appetizers are equally satisfying, such as the sweet and spicy blue corn pancake and barbecued duck combo, and the rough-cut tuna “nachos,” laced with habanero hot sauce and avocado crema. These selections really showcase the way things work here at Mesa Grill: every plate is balanced by bold flavors, satisfying portions and a touch of culinary grace. The name on the door is familiar, but there are always plenty of new surprises in store. If you’ve dined here before, it’s time to come back.
11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri., brunch 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.-Sun., dinner 5-11 p.m. daily. 702.862.3530