Mesa Grill: Flay’s Modern Southwestern Cuisine in Las Vegas [CLOSED]

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Southwest Food Las Vegas

At this stage, Bobby Flay is best known as the smug New York chef who’s featured on every third Food Network show. In the ’90s, he was more recognizable for his modern interpretations of Southwestern cooking. He debuted Mesa Grill in 1991 near Union Square in Manhattan. In 2004, he expanded his concept to Las Vegas, opening a stylish outpost inside Caesars Palace. Based on our appetizers and desserts, it’s clear his food is still substantial.

The contemporary space featured molded wood and plenty of color, including the rainbow-colored jugs that mimic the pottery found at New Mexico cliff dwellings like Mesa Verde.

Cocktail Las Vegas
Partida Margarita ($16) is Mesa Grill’s latest addition to the Mesa Grill cocktail list, combining Partida Blanco Tequila, Partida Organic Agave Nectar and fresh squeezed lime, served straight up so there’s no dilution. It was certainly an upper-tier margarita.

Southwest Food Las Vegas
A cast-iron dish of Goat Cheese “Queso Fundido” ($14) was topped with rajas (roasted pepper strips) and blue corn tortilla chips to scoop up the tangy cheese.

Southwest Food Las Vegas
One of Flay’s signature dishes: Tiger Shrimp + Roasted Garlic Corn Tamale ($16) housed plump shrimp and garlicky corn kernels in a creamy corn-cilantro sauce.

Southwest Food Las Vegas
A supple Blue Corn Pancake ($15) was folded around rich barbecued duck and streaked with Habanero Chile-Star Anise Sauce.

SMOKED Southwest Food Las Vegas
CHICKEN + BLACK BEAN QUESADILLA ($14) was terrific, topped with chunky guacamole and sprinkled with Toasted Garlic Creme Fraiche that blistered under high heat. In too many quesadillas, the chicken is dry, but here it was as juicy as possible.

Dessert Las Vegas
Warm Cornbread Pudding ($11) was excellent, moist, surrounded by a moat of pear-apple compote and pear butter sauce and topped with a scoop of ginger-molasses ice cream.

Dessert Las Vegas
Chocolate Espresso Layer Cake ($12) was even better, a rich chocolate cake layered with espresso butter cream, surrounded by espresso toffee sauce and flecked with crunchy Kahlua toffee pieces.

Apparently Flay still has some bows left in his culinary quiver.

Note: This meal was part of a media trip hosted by Caesars Palace for Los Angeles food writers.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Blog Comments

HC, Maybe I am old school, but great food is great food. I might dress to impress, but I cook and eat great food because it tastes great….and nbt because it is in style.

ps- Thats my way of saying you sound stuck up.

Indeed, Rivera’s a good example of breaking the mold. I just meant in general, the category of Southwestern foods feel very late 90s/early 00s – kind of like how the tapas/small plates trend is passing now, though there are exceptions for places like Bazaar.

Mesa Grill is one of my back-up spots to hit whenever my Vegas “Plan A”s go awry (more often than you think) — modernized Southwestern food is a bit dated, but the food here still manages to excite my tastebuds everytime.

Modern Southwest food doesn’t have to be dated. Look at what John Rivera Sedlar is doing in downtown Los Angeles at Rivera. He basically invented modern Southwest cuisine, and his style of cooking is still fresh and fun after over 25 years. Flay’s presentation isn’t nearly as exciting, but the Iron Chef’s flavors are certainly bold.

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