Word of Mouth: Mesa is a Top Table

owner raul reyes is also the chef

hoja santa soup with masa dumplings

fresh tortillas enmolada


the best mole in town, enrobing a duck leg

braised oxtail with hoja santa sauce and those same masa dumplings

happy people, happy place

our server was also the owners' daughter

I can almost hear your thoughts: Can Oak Cliff really support another Mexican restaurant? Maybe not another chips-and-salsa place, but trust me–Mesa is not a a run-of-the-mill chip dip. It’s Mexican cuisine.

The place may look a bit sketchy from the outside: a low-slung storefront with shadowy glass windows and spartan signage on a busy street. Inside its all contemporary yet cozy, a hideaway of small tables running shotgun along a banquet on one side, a small bar along the other, and a tall ceiling that keeps the noise level in check. Prices, thankfully, are as modest as the decor.

Chef/owners Raul and Olga Reyes serve Veracruze-inspired Mexican cuisine, which tends toward relaxed, simple preparations that taste inspired, thoughtful even.

Raul Reyes is a mole master. You could taste the chiles, the cinnamon, the nuts and the seeds and the dozen spices that exposed the complexity of his technique in the smooth mole that covered three tender corn tortillas folded into triangles then enrobed “enmolada” and , as an entree, a roasted duck leg enrobed in the same brick-red sauce. Reyes paid equal attention to everything Mesa served, whether it was earthy pork ribs cooked adobado, a slew of antojitos, or a knock-out cocktail of horchata, vanilla, coconut and rum.

But on this restaurant critic’s diet, a picture is worth a thousand calories. So here’s dinner.

Mesa , 118 W. Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, 214-941-4246, mesadallas.com