Entries in Mesa Grill (2)


The Payoff: Mesa Grill

Yesterday, as the world yawned, Frank Bruni issued a one-star mini-smackdown to Mesa Grill:

Mesa Grill, no question, has considerable charms. You can’t mix this many creative margaritas, put this much vivid color into the décor and the food, and tap this wide a variety of chilies without summoning a festive spirit…

But on balance Mesa Grill presents only flickers of the excitement it did in 1991, when it opened, or in 2000, when William Grimes gave it two stars in The Times.

It’s an overly familiar, somewhat tired production. More to the point, it’s an inconsistent one.

Flay could have responded by spending more time at the restaurant. Instead, he fired the GM, which seems a bit silly. He couldn’t have been screwing up that badly, as the restaurant is still packed. The review is history, and Bruni’s successor won’t be back for another decade.

We lose for the third week in a row…but this time Eater loses too. We’re both $1 poorer.

          Eater        NYJ
Bankroll $65.50   $78.67
Gain/Loss –1.00   –1.00
Total $64.50   $77.67
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Won–Lost 28–12   28–12

Rolling the Dice: Mesa Grill

Every week, we take our turn with Lady Luck on the BruniBetting odds as posted by Eater. Just for kicks, we track Eater’s bet too, and see who is better at guessing what the unpredictable Bruni will do. We track our sins with an imaginary $1 bet every week.

The Line: Tomorrow, Frank Bruni reviews Bobby Flay’s Southwestern standard, Mesa Grill. The Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: 3-1
One Star: 2-1
Two Stars: 5-1
Three Stars: 75-1
Four Stars: 25,000-1

The Skinny: The Times has reviewed Mesa Grill twice, with Bryan Miller awarding two stars shortly after it opened (March 1991), and William Grimes re-affirming that rating nine years later (May 2000). Re-reviews are a waste of space unless something has changed in the intervening years. No one would suggest that Mesa Grill is a three-star restaurant, so that means the only likely outcomes are one star or zero.

I don’t have strong feelings about Mesa Grill. I dined there only once, about two years ago. I didn’t blog about it, but my thoughts at the time were: nothing special, but not bad. I suppose that I would have awarded one star.

But Mesa Grill is truly irrelevant nowadays. You can tell how bored Bruni is, when he can find nothing more interesting to write about. Bruni is always looking over his shoulder to see what other people are doing, and I doubt any of his pals frequent Mesa Grill. If Bruni thinks its worth wasting a review for a smackdown, he’s probably going to smack it hard.

The Bet: We’ll try to break our two-week losing streak with a zero-star bet on Mesa Grill.