Mesa: Bringing Veracruz to Oak Cliff

Mesa's rustic version of Mexico doesn't bring the heat, but it stays true to its roots.

Despite a room filled with hard surfaces, dining here is relatively quiet, even when the space is full. Mesa seats at most 40 patrons, including the stools that line the bar. Each group retains its intimacy; a table of eight younger women celebrating nearby isn't the slightest nuisance. And if demand grows for the family's Veracruz imports, there's plenty of room for more tables, and for the wait staff to shuttle out oxtail and handmade tortillas or Mesa's quietly flavored mole tinged with spice and chocolate.

The Rabo de Res al Acuyo is an oxtail dish risen from the ashes of La Palampa Veracruzana. I use my fork to pull the meat from the bone, mix it with a little sauce on the plate and eat it with my hands using tortillas. The earthy and oxidized green sauce, based on the herb hoja santa, is rich but missing ... something. I grab the lime from the side of my water glass, hover it over my plate and give it a hearty squeeze.

There we go. That brightens things.

Mesa brings Veracruz's milder Mexican to Oak Cliff.
Alex Scott
Mesa brings Veracruz's milder Mexican to Oak Cliff.

Location Info

Map

Mesa

118 W. Jefferson Blvd., Ste. A
Dallas, TX 75208

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Oak Cliff & South Dallas

Details

Mesa
Surtido Veracruzano $13.50
Picadas de Veracruz $6.75
Ceviche $8.50
Chilpachole de Jaiba y Camaron $16.50
Rabo de Res al Acuyo $16.50
Flan de Naranja $5

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You can get similar results by requesting a cream-colored habanero hot sauce. It's not on the menu, but it's available if you ask, served in a small white bowl and ready to awaken anything you find too sleepy for your taste.

If you're craving sweet, the flan is a vanilla-tinged and dense custard, more like a cheesecake than softer silky versions. But it's the arroz con leche that sets me on end, not because it's the best rice pudding I've had but because it's a near carbon copy of a dessert from my past. The soupy pudding, heavy with that sweet condensed-milk flavor, lacks only that funky brown skin that graced my mom's casserole.

For better or worse, that dish closed most special meals I ate growing up on the East Coast. It's sweet and topped with swollen raisins macerated in rum, and it invokes one of those strange food memories that transports you somewhere else. Not Veracruz this time, but, in this dish anyway, the Reyeses do my home as well as they do their own.

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11 comments
Elsiripp
Elsiripp

Welcome to Dallas, Scott- but I would like to know why the Observer and the Dallas Morning News always 'double down' and review the same restaurants in the same week? Do you plan this or is it a mere coincidence. For the record, I don't particularly care for the coincidence.

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

Pure coincidence, Elsripp. Certain new restaurants seem to demand a review, and critics tend to wait roughly the same period of time to do it. So it'll happen. For the record, we don't particularly care for the coincidence either, and I doubt Leslie Brenner does. So how's this: If next week's reviews are of the same restaurant, I'll buy you a meal at the restaurant in question.*

*There is almost zero chance of this happening.

Nick R.
Nick R.

That crab soup sounds amazing.

twinwillow
twinwillow

Love, love, love, the food at Mesa! Amongst other's, the absolute best ceviche in Dallas. I fell in love with the beautiful and gracious Reyes family back in the La Palapa days. I hope they flourish! They deserve it.

matt
matt

love their food and they are super nice, but they need to mix it up sometimes me thinks. =)

guest
guest

Mix what up?

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

I think Matt is trying to point out the menu doesn't offer variety. Mesa focuses on a few small things and tries to nail it. You might get bored if you ate here every week. It will be interesting to see how the menu progresses over time.

matt
matt

friend on FB already and good to know! thanks!

Mesacuisine
Mesacuisine

Hey Matt actually a lot of people doesn't know that We vary our food every 2 weeks sometimes every week by throwing a speacial, check us out on Facebook, or Twitter too see it every week. Thanks for your support Mesa staff.

matt
matt

yepper. ate there again last night before the return of the comet showing at the texas theatre. im a fan, but i would like to see the menu change some at times to mix things up

 
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