I have been excited to give Mesh on Mass Avenue a try ever since I heard it had opened (a couple months ago now I think). I was glad to see a new option offered along Mass Ave and so far have been hearing fairly favorable comments about it. I have heard the chef from 14 West had moved there, and I really enjoyed the last meal I had at 14 West when he was still there.
Our server was quite attentive to us, but there were a few issues around the timing of the food. We ordered a couple of appetizers to share and each couple split a salad. Our server specifically said she would space them out and time them, but just after our second appetizer was delivered, they also brought the salads. It was a little annoying because we had just started the apps. We sent the salads back (honestly there wasn’t even room for the plates on the table) and asked them to bring them when we were done with our starters. (I would also prefer them to split the salad for you, which they did not do, because one person always gets less dressing and stuff and it is just a pain to split salads at the table).
Anyway, for our starters, we shared the rock shrimp which were served in spicy garlic butter on top of grilled slices of a baguette. The shrimp were very good. They were quite plentiful and well cooked (read, not overcooked). The somewhat creamy garlic sauce had a nice garlic-y flavor and the crunch of the baguette was a great texture variation. It was a fancy version of bruschetta and it was tasty. I like rock shrimp because it seems like it is rarer for a restaurant to overcook them, and they are nice and bite sized.
We also made a “cheese and smear” plate which you can pick 3 items from for $12 or 6 for $20. There are a lot of yummy sounding items and we chose Humboldt Fog cheese, white bean hummus and arugula pistachio pesto. This was really good as well. Humboldt Fog, if you aren’t familiar is a wonderful creamy goat cheese that has both the tangy goat cheese edge, without being as dry as many goat cheeses are. There is a line of ash running through it which I think also enhances the flavor. And get this, THE CHEESE WAS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE! I was so happy because I firmly believe that cheese should be allowed to come to room temperature before being served in order to really get all the depth of the flavors. And the cheese was great. The hummus was tasty as well, I was worried it would be bland and it wasn’t. It was well seasoned and went nicely with the mix of breads served alongside. Probably my favorite thing, and the surprise standout though, was the arugula pesto. It was delicious. It was really fresh tasty, and I enjoyed the somewhat unique take using a different green and nut in a pesto. Instead of being more of a garnish, this was a dip you could really happily eat on its own. I would be hard pressed not to order the exact same plate next time.
Hubby and I shared the Mesh salad which was Bibb lettuce, arugula and Belgian endive with hearts of palm, watercress puree and a tarragon mustard vinaigrette. Like I said, we had to split it ourselves which is not my favorite thing (and I am always very grateful when they do it for you). I had the extra plate and dished some on to it, and while the bites I had that were dressed tasted quite good, I did not think I had enough of the dressing on my greens. Maybe if you were eating it as they served it, it was better, I don’t know. But all the ingredients were fresh and I liked the flavors, I just wish there was a bit more of them with the greens.
For my main, I went with the grilled shrimp. The shrimp were quite large and the portion was as well (I didn’t finish it). They were cooked nicely, maybe just a tad bit too far, but you know how picky I am. It was served over fried pork belly corn grits which were really quite tasty. I think that corn/grit flavor goes really well with shrimp and they had a very pleasant smoky flavor from the pork belly. There was also braised Belgian endive which was a nice counter balance texture wise. There was a also a lobster cream which just kept everything moist. Overall this dish was pretty successful. Hubby really liked the grits and they were probably the most unique thing about the dish.
Hubby had the pork belly entrée which he thoroughly enjoyed. It was served with white bean Cassoulet, more braised endive and a balsamic reduction. The pork belly was nice and crispy on the edges and was very tasty. I mean, what is not to like about what is essentially a bacon steak? And the sweet and tangy taste of the balsamic was a great compliment to the meat.
I had a bit of each of our friends’ dishes as well, and honestly, I was impressed with pretty much everything I ate. One friend had the chicken scaloppini with was served with blue cheese mashed potatoes and a Sherry cream. I was surprised at how moist the chicken was. It was very good. My other friend had a tuna special and my bite of it was tasty as well and the fish was cooked perfectly—just lightly seared on the outside.
We also had dessert and the meal continued its course of being very good. We had the “mud napoleon” which was layers of yummy things. It was chocaltely, had vanilla and mocha ice cream and a really really yummy warm peanut butter caramel sauce. Ok, the details are a little foggy because I had had a good amount of wine, but I really liked this dessert. I mean, what is not to like? We also had a special which was a warm apple pie with blackberry ice cream. It was good, but not as good as the tower of chocolaty richness. But still, well done.