A Little Time and a Keyboard: Fresh and Vibrant Cuisine Rock Date Night at Mesa Urbana in Northbrook

Fresh and Vibrant Cuisine Rock Date Night at Mesa Urbana in Northbrook

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mexican food with flare at Mesa Urbana
Upon our arrival to Mesa Urbana, we immediately sensed the jovial vibe of other diners. This place really has something going on! The menu features many of our favorite Mexican items with a new flare. Already intrigued by what we saw on the menu, the restaurant's vibe increased our anticipation. Let date night begin!

Fresh and healthy guacamole plate at Mesa Urbana featuring vibrant dipping vegetables.
Love fresh veggies with guac!
Our server, Maria, was as nice as can be and helped us with questions about the menu. She also provided advice in choosing items for our meal. Being avid guacamole lovers, we began with the house guacamole served with fresh vegetables. I loved the use of fresh vegetables for dipping in the guacamole. Why have I never thought of that? Tasty and so vibrant on the plate!

Fan favorite empanada at Mesa Urbana
The empanada is a customer favorite.
While the guacamole plate is definitely a favorite at Mesa Urbana, the empanada featuring lobster, leeks, artichoke hearts, a cream cheese spread and romanesco spread is also a much loved dish. We opted to sample one as well. Dishes at Mesa Urbana are designed to be shared. So, we felt at home ordering a favorite of food and sharing portions thus expanding our culinary adventure. A fun exploration for date night! The empanada had a wonderful crust and I loved that there was quite a bit of artichoke inside. The salad addition was delightful---a true salad rather than just vegetables added for some color.

Chicken and potato flauta dish at Mesa Urbana also incorporates a ton of veggies.
Fresh vegetables are important components to each dish including the flautas!
We also nibbled on the flautas de pollo. I say nibble because we were saving room for the food to come. The flautas dish consists of chicken, potatoes, cabbage, avocado, plum sauce, creme fraiche and pico de gallo. Once again amazed by all of the vegetation added! We did feel in comparison to the other dishes of the night, this was the one with the least flavor. Perhaps I should have tried it with the salsa or guacamole?

Gorgeous presentation and delicious!

For my dinner, I savored the Callos de Hacha--pan seared scallops with acorn squash, green beans and baby spinach in guajillo butter. Of course, anything with scallops pretty much has my name written on it. But, hesitation set in when I saw acorn squash incorporated into the dish. I am happy to say this dish was pure heaven. Loved it and look forward to having it again! The sweetness of the acorn squash melded well with the pan seared scallop and pan sauce. Local Chef Eusevio Garcia has really created some magic here!

Mussels at Mesa Urbana have a spicy yet fresh kick!
Mussels with a spicy kick

At the owner Moe's request, I also tried the mussels. My father loved mussels, so seeing the dish on the menu reminded me of him. So, it didn't take much convincing in reality. The mussels feature leeks, garlic and a chipotle cream sauce. The spicy kick is intriguing--truly enjoyable!

Vibrant vegetables and tender short rib tacos at Mesa Urbana.
Almost too pretty to eat!
My husband chose short rib tacos with pickled red onion and sweet peppers. The dish was so beautiful that he almost did not want to eat the tacos. Brilliant colors! However, he is glad that he dove in because he discovered the best short rib tacos he has ever had.

Cauliflower with hint of lemon at Mesa Urbana.
Simple yet delicious cauliflower side!
One of the biggest surprises was our cauliflower side with lemon juice and freshly shaved romano cheese. Simple yet flavorful.

Heavenly blueberry bread pudding at Mesa Urbana.
Lovely, warm dessert.
For dessert, we chose the blueberry bread pudding. Once again--a surprise! I normally do not like bread pudding but this was certainly a warm, delicious comfort food!

Handcrafted margarita made with fresh juices at Mesa Urbana
Handcrafted margarita from fresh juice!
Mesa Urbana focuses on locally sourced seasonal items. The influence is seen throughout the menu even down to their drinks! Being date night, we did celebrate with some tasty beverages. Mesa Urbana mixes fresh margaritas and mojitos. They craft their own beverages, no bottle mixes here! We enjoyed both the Mesa Margarita and a blackberry pomegranate mojito. Special drinks available nightly reflect seasonal fruits in addition to Mesa's regular menu.

Fresh pomegranate blackberry mojito at Mesa Urbana
Very addictive blackberry pomegranate mojito!
Love, love, love! We totally love Mesa Urbana! Truly a fun place for a date night or night out with friends with plenty of local flare. The jovial atmosphere and fresh margaritas and mojitos are an ideal way to start a fantastic evening away. The food is festive, well-crafted and intriguing for the palate. Plus, I love the addition of so many colorful vegetables! Great staff and ambiance--we will definitely return!

Mesa Urbana is located at 3566  N Milwaukee Ave in Northbrook, IL. I recommend booking a reservation. Thank you to Mesa Urbana for accommodating our visit so I could bring my readers this review!

**Disclosure: Menu items were complimentary to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are 100% my own.

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