Last Friday we decided to try Red Mesa on 4th St. N. in St. Pete for dinner. My interest in Red Mesa and its self-described "regional Mexican & Southwest cuisine" was piqued after I had sampled some of their food at the "Taste of Pinellas" food festival back in June (If you've never been to Taste of Pinellas before, it is a great way to sample lots of area restaurants all at once).
I can't thank Taste of Pinellas enough for introducing me to Red Mesa. Our dinner at Red Mesa was easily one of the best, if not the best, meals we've had in Tampa Bay in the past few months. It's easy to see why Red Mesa has been in business for nine years and regularly makes the lists of top Southwest-style restaurants in the area. These guys know what they're doing.
For our appetizer we ordered stuffed artichokes to go along with our chips and salsa. For dinner I ordered two appetizers as my entree- crab cakes and Ceviche Mixto (a mix of grilled seafood) and my bride-to-be Traci ordered the Chicken Fernandez (chicken marinated in oil and garlic with a chipotle cream sauce).
The Ceviche Mixto was top notch and the crab cakes had just the right kick to them and not too much breading. I also tried the Chicken Fernandez and loved the sauce.
Our server wasn't overly social, but was knowledgeable, polite and very busy. Prices aren't cheap, but worth it. My only gripes would be that the hostesses appeared disorganized when we first walked in and the tables in the back room where we sat were a little too close for comfort (granted the place is pressed for space). The great meal, though, more than made up for these minor issues.
Bottom-line: Next time you're in the mood for good Southwest-style cuisine, you owe it to yourself and your taste buds to give Red Mesa a try. We certainly plan to be back soon.
Inspection Scorecard: Last Inspection: May 2006 violations - Critical (2), Non-Critical (0).