Mesa 21
Over the past couple of years, I had heard a number of good things about mesa 21. They have great pizza, they'd say, and I had to have it. I had also heard about my favorite tobacconist, Firehouse Smoke Shop in Fall River, holding their cigar and wine tastings there occasionally. So, I kept my mind open for an opportunity to stop by and check it out for myself.

Kind of hidden, off the bottom end of President Avenue, the brown shingled building sits in behind a used car dealership. There is loads of parking across the street in their open lot. Passing through the entrance door, you're immediately in the main dining room. It's casual in there, and looks like it was once a pizza parlor, especially with the visible, twin wood-burning brick ovens toward the back, baking those pizzas that I've heard about. There weren't that many people there during our visit, so it was quiet. The decor was simple and, overall there was a comfortable, family-friendly environment.

Ok, so a few good words about pizza may have brought me here, but I'm I had little interest in pizza. My friend and I really went there for the some heartier fare, which has also garnered a decent reputation amongst friends. The menu listed a number of classic Portuguese dishes like Carne de Porco à Alentejana and Shrimp Mozambique with some standard favorites like burgers, steaks, pastas and the pizza.

Cod Fish Cakes

We split an appetizer, the cod fish cakes, which came to the table really hot. They were "potato-chip" crispy on the outside and creamy inside, a texture combination that I loved. The flavor of the potato and cod fish was sweetened by some onion and enhanced with aromatic parsley. The sauce seemed to me to be a mix of mayonnaise and BBQ sauce with a little extra kick from some pepper. It was OK, but I preferred the cakes without it.

Carne d'Espeto

I ordered the shish kebob, Carne d'Espeto. It showed up on a really long skewer with a side of Portuguese fries and rice. On the skewer were chunks of beef, chouriço, mushrooms, onions and peppers. The meat was good, not particularly flavorful. The mushrooms were dry, and the onions and peppers were thin, not the thick and succulent accompaniment I expected. The side of fries were great—hot, salty and crispy—but the rice was a bit dry and just OK. Overall, it was alright, nothing special.

Mesa 21 Steak

My friend, opted for the Mesa 21 Steak, basically, a bife à casa— a Portuguese steak with fries, an egg, some rice, a red pepper and some olives. He found the steak good, though, a little tough—and generally, Portuguese steaks are a tough cut. But it's a good size plate, and for the price, it's a good deal.

Perhaps there's a lesson here to be learned, namely, if a restaurant has a good reputation for a particular dish, maybe you ought to try it! OK, I'll have to keep Mesa 21 in the back of my mind and try that pizza next time.

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Mesa 21

21 Lindsey Street
Fall River MA 02720
(508) 673-8173
www.facebook.com/pages/Mesa-21/56171958010

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