Saturday December 16th 2017

“Mesa Urbana” a different type of Mexican dining

logo3_5 What is in a name? We hear this expression, from time to time, but most of us do not know why. Recently, Jane and I visited a newer restaurant in the Glenview/Northbrook area, named “Mesa Urbana”. Strange name, right? Illinoisans know the name URBANA from the location downstate where the University of Illinois is located.” Mesa”, is a city in Arizona (for most of us, anyway). BUT, they do have other meanings, which helps to make sense in the naming of this new dining spot on the “North Shore”. “Mesa” can also mean “tableland”, which can apply to a restaurant as a room filled with tables and “Urbana” does have meaning relating to  a diverse mix of minds and answers. The menu at Mesa Urbana, being a Mexican “Fusions” one, truly might make this name mean a great deal more than what meets the eye. Now, let me answer the query as to what is in a name?

 

In the case of this dining spot, which from the outside appears to be just another restaurant in a suburban strip mall, it is fine dining equal to or even better than what you might find in the loop or Michigan Avenue. The beauty is, one need not spend a long car ride to get there, or pay the high prices that city restaurants charge and of course they offer free parking. As usual, Jane and I brought another couple with us and both Alan and Vickie also found themselves entranced with the selections offered on their fairly extensive menu. The “fusion” is that of Mexican with French and Asian touches. The touches by the way are exotic and flavorful, yet not spicy.

We started our experience with a drink and enjoyed the chips and salsa at our table. The salsa was warm which added some zest to the flavors. We tried the Watermelon Beet Salad- Mixed greens, red onion, slow roasted yellow beets, cheese urbana3and tequila vinaigrette. One thing we found at Mesa Urbana, is that it is perfect for “shared dining”. They are not a “small plate” experience like a tapas restaurant would be, but the portions are certainly enough to share, allowing us to try many different flavors and recipes. For our appetizers, we enjoyed their Calamari Frita in a wonderful mango, sweet chili sauce (exotic and very tasty), the Mejillones Al Chipotle (black mussels, leeks, garlic, and chipotle cream sauce as well as the amazing Ceviche Trio (fusion of Mexican style: octopus, American style shrimp and Asian style grouper- all four of us were in heaven. We also shared a chef’s soup of the day- Spiced Pumpkin Soup- very special. I for one do not like anything pumpkin, and yet, I found myself remarking as to how special this taste treat was.

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We were filling up fast, so we smoothed over the Taco menu (we will return for those) and chose three entrees. For the first  we selected Salmon Al Carbon- grilled salmon served over caramelized mango, green papaya and avocado crème fraiche. We also ordered the Cordero Al Carbon, baby rack of lamb, Yukon potato puree, roasted tomato with a delicious chimichurri sauce. Our last main dish was the Lomo de Gaza, a New York strip steak with oyster mushrooms, truffle oil and a side of bean relish (very tasty treat) and we added a few sides: Mexican sweet potato (to die for- you must order this one. By the way, it is white not orange, yet tastes as good as any sweet potato I have ever eaten) and the Esparragos (grilled Asparagus).

i1What a meal! Our server, Mike, was very knowledgeable about the menu and made sure that we were on target with plates ( I told you this is a perfect place for “sharing”) and silverware. When it came time for dessert, he saw that we were pondering over the selections and suggested we stray from the menu and select the choice of the day, a chocolate soufflé with berries. What a wonderful way to complete the dining experience. That and a cup of coffee was perfection. Owner Moe Talen was on hand as they introduced a new feature tonight. Live Music every Thursday at 9 p.m. This trio, La Tosca played some very non traditional Mexican music, allowing the diners and the very busy bar area to relax and enjoy their dining experience as well as those who were just settling their nerves after a grueling day. No rush to move you out like many other restaurants do. This is a home away from home for many of the local diners who were there tonight. They come on a regular basis to enjoy the great food and the special warmth that is exuded by the staff. These people care about those who dine here and that is something very special.

Like I said, when you pull up to the building, you will wonder why they chose this spot. once you have the dining experience, you will be glad that they did. The spot is  3566 Milwaukee Avenue in Northbrook (or is it Glenview). This is just about where Sanders Road ends at Milwaukee Avenue and just to the North of Lake Avenue. It is easy to get to , for sure and by all means I suggest you make reservations because they are a great value and people are learning about them every day. Yes, the secret is out. Mesa Urbana is a dining spot that is well worth the trip. Their phone number is 847-383-0700 and website http://www.mesaurbana.comhttp://www.mesaurbana.com.

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