Monday, November 8, 2010

Mesh

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.
To start with we were greeted by a very friendly hostess who seated us at a table upstairs.  The remodel of the interior (formerly Si) is nice.  It still feels like a nice restaurant but with a casual edge to it.  And apparently Mesh prides themselves on welcoming customers no matter what they are wearing. 
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.

 Overall, we were impressed with what was a very well prepared and tasty meal.  Even with the minor service issues, this place could become a great regular spot if it can keep up its consistency.  What about you guys? Have you been?  What’s been good? What’s been not so good?  Any must order items?
Mesh on Mass Ave.
725 Massachusetts Avenue
Indy 46204
317/955-9600
www.meshonmass.com

10 comments:

  1. I went there the week they opened for my Birthday. My wife and I had a great meal. No service issues. I also had the chicken and would order it again. My wife hade the tuna and it was too good to share. I have been back a few times for the bites in the afternoon and lunch with clients. Easy to park behind Mesh and the outside area is great for an afternoon drink(s) when the weather permits.

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  2. We really liked Mesh. I also had the "bacon steak." Yummy.

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  3. We went there a month or so ago and had a great meal, but potentially the worst service I've ever had. I'll go back because of the food and with an understanding that service changes from server to server. I too had the pork belly and it was outstanding. I think all of us really enjoyed our meals.

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  4. Last night we had 6 of us coming to dinner at 5:00 before a show at the Murat. When we made the reservation and upon arrival we specified that we needed to be at a 6:30 show. We werent served our dinners till almost 6:00 and that was after a few entrees were dropped on the floor totally by accident and had to be remade and a round of semi-warm fish tacos were eaten because there was not time to wait for a re-heat after that. The menu looks great but better care needs to be made to theater goers on a tight schedule. It is hard to find a alot of choices downtown in the Murat area on sunday nights and we were happy to have a new choice. I hope they will pay better attention to the time needs of their guests from now on.

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  5. Just went there for the first time this Sunday for an event - private room was great and so was the service (there was a slight mixup on food, but for groups, it happens.) Rock Shrimp Caesar salad was my entree and it was great in portion, and delicious, though not spicy at all as I expected when reading "spicy chili aioli." Bread pudding for dessert - amazing! Can't wait to try it for a full meal rather than just an event, because I adore room temp cheese as well, so I have to get that.

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  6. Sadly, my experience was not at all positive. We gave the Mesh "Bar Bites" a try, hoping to have an experience similar to Morton's, where they offer much smaller portions of some of their top-shelf fare. At Mesh, the burgers were flavorless and undercooked, the chips were soggy, and I walked out wondering who in the world would recommend this place to a friend?

    Granted, I must return, because I refuse to condemn an establishment on one visit alone, but they have a huge hurdle to overcome by putting such low-quality items in front of me on the "give us a try!" part of the menu.

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  7. I know it's an American preference/custom to have a cheese course before the main course - but to me cheeses belong after the main course with or without a sweet/dessert course following...
    Just sayin' :-) YMMV

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  8. Andy- sorry your experience wasn't as good. I have heard mixed reviews of the bar food.

    Huiray- I also greatly enjoy cheese as a dessert, but most of the option on this platter are savory, which lends itself better as an appetizer. But honestly, I will enjoy cheese at pretty much any time during the meal. Although, you could probably make a combo off this part of the menu for your dessert--I have been known to order appetizer cheese plates as my dessert at several restaurants.

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  9. I was a big fan when this place opened, because of course, its locally owned, and I always hope for the best for the people who take such great risks. But I will tell you that nowhere in Indy have I ever had a worse SERIES of dining experiences than at MESH.

    The menu is way too simple to have the logistical issues that I have experienced. Lets face it, this is poorly focused bistro food that is rarely well executed. Cloying overly sweet sauces are abundant, with no relief from fresh tasting ingredients. Fried, grilled, roasted, etc...and any lightness that you may find on the menu is in the way of salads, or asian inspired dishes that trick you.

    But honestly, its not the food that left me cold so many times (though it did leave me chilly), it was the consistently poor service. It blows me away how in Indianapolis, we let mediocre service slide. Such as Angie's account "(there was a slight mixup on food, but for groups, it happens.)" I'm sorry, but I simply don't agree. I work hard for my discretionary income, and if I am going to drop over $100 in your restaurant (several times) I at least want the silverware to be on the table when I want to eat my food. I at least want my water glass to have water in it, and I at least want the management to pretend like they are training these people how to respect some one who has chosen to spend money in their establishment. A 6:00 pm reservation is a 6:00 pm reservation, and if the table isn't ready at that time, there should be reparations made, not snobbery. I don't blame the waitstaff at Mesh, I blame a lackadaisical management team. I have made no less than three complaints, and while they are quick to give financial relief (rarely what I want), they never seem to give you much in the way of compassion. Which goes much further with me than 20 bucks. I wanted to love Mesh, but once again my experience has left me wondering if it is really worth it. Those of us in the neighborhood would be just as well off with SI...or whatever it was called.

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  10. Concerning cheese courses... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/394928

    :-)

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