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“Mixed Bag”
Review of Mesa Loca

Mesa Loca
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Ranked #749 of 2,340 Restaurants in Cincinnati
Restaurant details
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

OK, I’m torn. It’s pretty rare I rate a place average because I’m genuinely excited to eat out and willing to maybe overlook some stuff in my enthusiasm. But for me Mesa Loca was a mixed bag that averages out to so-so, enthusiasm aside. It’s located in Hyde Park in the former Cock ‘n’ Bull location, which I had no idea was so big until we were taken to a cold, tiled room in the way back where one other party sat. The pretty front room was nearly empty when we came in but the place did fill quickly so that may explain where we were seated. They did turn on the heat and the back room gained a bit more atmosphere as it filled. We started with the queso fundido with chorizo. It was tasty, if light, on the chorizo. It comes with three little flour tortillas - not enough to use up all the cheese and our very attentive server brought us chips to scoop up the rest. I had the premium margarita, which was great and generous and came with this smear of spicy stuff on the front of the glass, that I found myself licking before each sip. Not sure if it was just meant to be decorative but I figured I’d taste it. Did I look like a weirdo licking my glass? Probably. Our server explained that the menu features a selection of small plates meant for you to share. The crab stuffed peppers were really good but small — maybe two bites each — and overpriced at $14. They really should be on the appetizer menu. The sweet potato fries where great and the chorizo sliders were filling and just OK. They seemed a bit of an uninspired addition to the menu. The standout for us was the Mesa Cobb Salad. It’s a good size and really nicely presented. It features Romaine lettuce, avocado, tomato, corn, black beans, marinated grilled chicken and cotija cheese and a light and lively cilantro lime dressing. I’d definitely have it again if I ever find myself back at Mesa Loca.

Date of visit: January 2020
Thank NBentley2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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3 - 7 of 7 reviews

Reviewed December 27, 2019 via mobile

I wanted to like this place so much....but couldn’t. It is a new place, so I expect some kinks, but sadly, the negatives significantly out weighed the positives. First off, it’s WAY too loud and the music has nothing to do with the theme of the restaurant. Felt like they were trying to be a club, but not pulling it off. Secondly, the service was super slow. We waited for everything and they weren’t that busy. Third, and most disappointing, the food wasn’t very good. The chips and guacamole were actually amazing, but everything after was disappointing. The tacos were not good at all. You can’t have a Mexican restaurant and terrible tacos. The margaritas were ok tasting, but were 90% ice. Overall, it was disappointing.

Date of visit: December 2019
Thank cheft2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 24, 2019 via mobile

A tapas style restaurant serving Mexican style dishes. Wonderful food and excellent service. Definitely a great addition to Hyde Park and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Date of visit: December 2019
Thank mvcip15
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 25, 2019

Finally! This is a wonderful Southwest fusion restaurant with amazing food! It just opened and they are already hitting on all cylinders with the food. Went in with girlfriends and we shared the guacamole, lobster tacos, skirt steak and elote. It was AMAZING! The atmosphere was great too. We had the cutest server named Emily who did the perfect amount of tending to our table and giving us time to visit with each other. If I had any suggestions it would be: 1) the menu is a little hard to read at night with the dim lights. I would suggest choosing a different color of font because even with our phone lights on, it was hard to read. 2) the margaritas take too long to make. I appreciate that they are fresh, but speeding up your process by squeezing lime juice ahead of time might help. Even if you made your own mix. It clearly isn't coming from some bottle, so save some time and headache and do as much as you can beforehand. Other then that, I 100% will be back! Great job!

Date of visit: November 2019
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank ntfredrick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 21, 2019

Mesa Loca is a brand new restaurant in Hyde Park, occupying the former home of Cock & Bull, on the corner of Erie & Edwards. The inside space has been nearly completely gutted and the result is a much more open concept with plenty of tables in two different rooms. The horseshoe-shaped bar remains, and the kitchen is in the same place as before, but otherwise, the space feels completely different!

The small back patio also has some improvements, especially in the lighting department. And there a couple of fire pits for those cooler fall evenings. It doesn't look like the space is completely finished yet, so I look forward to seeing what that looks like come springtime. Not to mention the best patio space on Hyde Park Square, which has already seen improvements with new speakers and lighting.

A group of parents left the kids behind to enjoy a free sneak peek of the space last night. All six of us started with a premium margarita ($13), that was prepared fresh upon ordering, including juicing the fruits, so there are no prepared mixes to be found in this drink. You can also mix in a flavor option including blood orange, mango, and pomegranate, all of which are also made in house. These were so good that we all ended up having three each as the evening went on.

The manager stopped by to let us know about the new concept that they opening with. Rather than hand menus to the table, the staff would like to get to know the personalities and tastes of their guests and bring out dishes that they would recommend for the group. They were very accommodating of food allergies and preferences and always made sure there was something vegetarian in each course for one of the parents in our group. Of course, there are still menus available if the guests would prefer to go that route, but we all enjoyed relaxing and letting the staff do the work for us.

We started with a trio of salsa ($11), guacamole ($10), shrimp ceviche ($13), pickled veggies ($6), and a caesar salad ($8). Each of these was shared with the table and I really enjoyed the salsas, especially their Verde and the mango habanero. From there two sizzling skillets of queso were dropped at our table, along with tortillas to make miniature quesadillas. The chorizo queso fondito was full of flavor ($10), though a little tough to get out of the pan due to the crispy edges.

From there the main course was served including crispy pollo frito ($14), Allen Brothers skirt steak ($18), and green beans on the side ($7). The fried chicken dish was surprisingly delicious due to the tangy and spicy sauce that was served on top. The steak was flown in from Allen Brothers in Chicago and was a huge hit of the table. The green beans were an added bonus, cooked perfectly, and well spiced.

As if that weren't enough, the staff asked if we had saved any room and then presented the red molcajete ($36), which is essentially a giant bowl of fajitas. We had shrimp, chicken, and steak served with peppers and onions all on top of a pond of Rojo salsa. Fresh tortillas were served on the side, though it was just as easy to scoop out a serving onto your plate and eat it with a fork. Our vegetarian friend was served tacos on this bonus course ($9), which later we found on the menu along with a wide variety of other taco selections.

It seems like Mesa Loca understands the neighborhood and is trying to go a little higher end to serve as a great spot for date night, but there are also plenty of affordable items on the menu that can be shared among friends for a nice dining experience. They also seemed to cater well to children, as there were a number of kids dining with their parents while we were there. I am sure that we will absolutely be back very soon.

Date of visit: November 2019
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank edpaffjr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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