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Mesa Latin Kitchen

Posted by DID 14 Aug 2015 3 Comments

Open in the seemingly doomed location on Hillsborough, we were actually fans of Gregoria’s – especially their Sunday brunch on the patio. However, most nights and weekends, it was sadly empty. In light of the light crowds, Gregoria’s has rebranded itself into a contemporary latin restaurant – Mesa Latin Kitchen.

The remodel though not extensive did a good job of refreshing the space – they’ve added a hostess stand, updated the lighting and refreshed the paint. The patio, a sadly overlooked and underused Durham oasis remains the same. On a Friday night, they also had a live band playing in the bar. For the menu, they brought in a “James Beard wining” chef from Miami. The new menus is filled with a dozen small plates, flatbreads, salads and a handful of $20 entrees. The extensive cocktail menu is pretty similar to the one Gregorias was serving up – mojitos and sangria.

We stopped in on a Friday night and by 7, the crowd was better than expected. Still a lot of empty tables, but I’m guessing once Cocoa Cinnamon opens next door and this stretch of Hillsborough sees more love, the crowds will come.

We chose to order a sampling of the small plates. We started with the guacamole (smoked tomatoes, smoked pineapple, pickled red onions, serrano chilli) served with root vegetables chips. Didn’t get the smoked pineapple, but it was a solid guac and a good kick-off to the meal.

We followed that with the Colombian empanadas (spinach, manchego, sweet corn parmesan sauce). Pricey at $8 for two vegetarian (pretty sure frozen spinach) empandas, but they were one of my favorite bites of the evening. The sweet corn sauce balanced the lightly fried corn empanadas.

We also tried the serrano¬†ham flatbread (dry figs, roasted onion, oregano, manchego chesse, arugula). With a cassava crust, it was thin and dense. You can’t really go wrong with that combo – the figs, sweet roasted onions balanced by the salty manchego and ham with the punch of arugula.

We balanced the flatbread with an order of the asparagus. It was excellent, smokey asparagus topped with fried onions served on a tart lemon sauce. However, $9 for five spears seems a bit overpriced.

To finish the meal, we opted for the Argentinian beef empanadas (oven backed, onion, olive, tomato). Flaky pie crust filled with a rich beef stew, they were a highlight and would make for a great bar snack late night.

Note, it seems certain waitstaff will automatically bring you a bowl of plantain chips and salsa and others won’t – so you may have to ask for them. As I’ve noted, the prices seem a bit high for some of the dishes without any local sourcing notes or seasonal ingredients but overall Mesa Latin Kitchen is hopefully the spot that will finally make it in this location. The decor, service and food are all on-point.

Mesa Latin Kitchen
2701 Hillsborough Road
Durham, NC 27705
919.937.2717

 

 

3 Comments »

  • Amy Austell said:

    We had the 24/7 brisket and it was some of the best beef I’ve ever had. Nice char on the outside, tender and flavorful. LOVED the plantains and salsa!

    [Reply]

  • ERDavis82 said:

    Went for lunch today — I got the shrimp/avocado salad which was 12 dollars. Overall good tasting even if some of the avocado was straight up gray and it only had 3 shrimp and 3 pieces of avocado in it (which added up to less than half of an avocado). My wife got the Argentinian empanadas which were good but 8 dollars for two which seemed ridiculous. We got the Cuban sandwich sticks to share which seemed like a better deal but were nothing special. Overall we spend 30 dollars before tip for that salad, 2 empanadas and 3 sandwich sticks. Given that we could have eaten at Mateo for that price and the fact that neither of us were filled at all, it’s 1) not surprising that there was only one other couple there at 12:30 and 2) surprising that they are still around. Seriously even with a ridiculous up charge there’s no way anywhere could charge 12 bucks for a salad with 3 shrimp and 3 meager avocado slices

    [Reply]

  • Sabrina said:

    This place has closed. Going to become an event space.

    [Reply]

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