725 Baker St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 | 714.557.6700 | www.mesacostamesa.com
obin Williams once humorously noted, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” There’s a certain magic to this season that is defined by bright blooms, and emerging life. It is almost as though the earth is reborn, and everything in creation is celebrating. At Mesa, Executive Chef Niki Starr is certainly feeling the vernal party vibes and has just released several exquisite new offerings for the Spring Menu at Costa Mesa’s go-to for truly inspired dishes and cocktails. Here are some highlights from the lively new food menu.
Roasted Beet Salad: The genius behind this dish is the pumpernickel soil! The added bit of texture is a perfect accompaniment to the rest of the salad. The golden and deep red beets were semi-sweet and characteristically earthen, brought to life by the vibrant red strawberries and light sherry shallot vinaigrette. The whipped herb chèvre provided a clean but satisfying fullness to the combination while the colorful pansies brought elegance and beauty to this delicious salad.
Spring Pea Salad: The flavor combination announces a level of freshness that simply cannot be matched! The pea tendrils and pea shoots work in concert to produce the crisp green flavors that you would expect, and bring to mind images of walking through a verdant garden. Compressed watermelon introduces an exquisitely fresh and light complexity while the crumbled feta provides a creaminess that counterbalances the pronounced tang of the Kalamata olives.
Squash Blossoms: Delicate squash blossoms are coyly hidden by the tempura and provide the perfect wrapper for the fromage blanc! The sweet piquillos add vibrance to the richness of the fromage, and the pistou and balsamic garnish adds many layers of depth.
Pan Seared Scallops: Seared on only one side, the tenderness and of the scallops takes center-stage in this exquisitely decadent preparation of an Orange County favorite. The dish is visually pleasing with bright and varying shades of green that only hint at the ebullient flavors within. The texture of the risotto is praiseworthy, and the sustained notes of creaminess are satisfying without being overly rich thanks to the candied lemon and the light parsley salad. The scallop should be savored alone to be fully appreciated, or at most, with just a dab of risotto on the tip of your fork.
Chicken Jidori: Chef Starr’s take on backyard barbeque was the standout of the evening! A masterpiece of imagination and execution, the dish introduces itself with the smoky bacon-braised collard greens sitting atop of the delightfully rich corn puree. A light crunch is well-received by the addition of house made corn nuts sprinkled upon the puree. The skin-on preparation of the chicken allowed for the barbeque seasonings to appear in every bite (thank heavens!). Sweet, savory, with plenty of smokey notes and a bit more than a hint of heat, the house-made guava barbeque sauce elevated the familiar favorite to stratospheric heights of flavor!
What better way to greet Spring than by joining the festivities with sumptuous dishes that draw upon the youthful exuberance of nature itself? While the menu has retained some of the favorites that put Mesa on the map, Chef Starr’s new creations breathe vitality and excitement to an already superior dining experience.