I wanted to visit Food Network star Bobby Flay’s Las Vegas outpost for a few reasons. One, my husband is a Bobby Flay fan. Two, I had seen the look of the place on a Food Network special, and wanted to check it out for myself. And third, I wanted to see if Bobby’s food really lived up to all his blue corn tortilla hype.
So we headed to the Mesa Grill, located in the exhaustingly large Caesars Palace on the Strip.
First off, love, love, love the decor. It’s a big, bright, colorful space. I love all the colors, all the big pieces, all the rust and orange colored accents. Anywhere else but Vegas and the place would seem cheesy. But in this gawdy desert retreat, it more than works, it’s perfect.
We went there for brunch and things started out well. The bread basket they brought was filled with scones, biscuits, and breads. My faves were the Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits (to hell with my lactose intolerance, I’m on vacation!) and the Blueberry Maple Coffeecake. Just fantastic.
My husband and I started with the Shrimp and Fish Ceviche and the Ahi Tuna Nachos. Both were fantastic with their interesting spice combinations. Gently spicy and more flavor than heat, which is a good thing. And all the ingredients were superbly fresh and their presentation was stunning.
I then had the Spicy Scrambled Eggs with green onion, jalapeno and goat cheese, accompanied by apricot mustard glazed ham and black pepper buttermilk biscuits. Every bite of the eggs was subtle with the flavor of chili without the major heat. And the goat cheese provided tang and texture. But I was completely unimpressed with the ham and biscuits. The eggs could also have been a little more light, fluffy and tender. I probably wouldn’t order it again, but I could definitely appreciate all the flavors that were going on in this dish.
My husband loved his 16 Spice Chicken Salad with goat cheese and green onion vinaigrette. He said the meat was perfectly grilled and the spice rub was complex in its flavors. He would totally order this one again. I took one bite and realized that a lot of care and attention was paid in the development of this dish. The same could be said of all the items on the menu. Flay has come up with intricate flavor combinations that are new, inventive, and interesting on the palate.
I wish I could be as complementary about the service. It totally ruined our experience. I would love to visit Mesa Grill again and try other items on the menu. But the service would make me think twice.
Our waiter was distant, phoney, and arrogant. With all the care and attention the kitchen has paid to all their dishes, it’s a shame to see how our waiter had no desire to care for his patrons, take pride in his level of service, and have the same devotion to the food that the kitchen has. It’s a terrible, unacceptable, shame. I even heard the table next to us complain that the waiter didn’t change out their wine glasses after finishing off their bottle of syrah and switching to a cab. Yuck!
Oh, and by the way, it is NOT okay for any waiter to scold the busboy they’re training, in front of patrons. It was amateurish, petty, and had no place in a restaurant like this.
Unexpectedly, I now have more respect for Mr. Flay. I think his dishes are inventive and delicious. He has real substance and so does his food. But unfortunately, the service end of things need some real improvement.
NOTE: Also wrote an email to their customer service department explaining both the good and the bad about our experience at Mesa Grill. Here was their response:
“You have absolute every right to write whatever you feel is best. We have many great reviews written about us that we are thankful for.” – Jennifer Lee, Bold Food LLC
I think I can see now where their lack of customer service comes from…