Thought I saw a topic here recently about Mesa Ranch grill, but either Search is not turning it up, or it was poofed. That topic inspired me to give it a try, and am glad I did.
My first impression of Mesa Ranch after being seated was that the restaurant had a very friendly "neighborhood" feel to it. Something about the singer, the small crowd, the decor, immediately gave me this "I've found a neighborhood hangout" feeling.
What followed was a big surprise - definitely the best steak I've had in Texas. A Mesquite-grilled bone-in rib-eye, medium rare. The rub put it over the top - It made the char crust absolutely delicious. Yet it added nothing weird or frou-frou :-). (Which would not be fitting of their byline, "A true Texas Grill")
The downside of enjoying this Rib-eye was that so far I had claimed rights to making the best (wet-aged) mesquite-grilled steak ever as seared and roasted in my Big Green Egg. Alas, my cousin proclaimed theirs was better, and I had to agree.
The waiter said the owner packaged their rub for sale the last holiday season but haven't made more since. So I tracked down the owner and told him that if he didn't make more to sell I'd stalk him till he did.
Hopefully that will work :-).
I've been back once, the 2'nd time getting the same bone-in rib-eye only the larger portion. and taking the leftovers home for 2 more tasty snacks. Second time I was with a person from work who ordered the same thing, but his was underdone - rare, not medium rare. They took it back to heat it up, but it still seemed very rare. Mine was perfect :-).
Their pork tenderloin looked really good, and the game sounded interesting, but I don't ever see myself ordering anything else but the rib-eye.
I tried the fried cactus appetizer. The fried aspect of it was good (very good breading), but I didn't really enjoy the cactus part. Their cactus-shaped corn bread was good, not great. (Since I've made corn bread with real corn kernals in it, all others seem a distant second.) But the shape was very cute, *and* the spiced / herbed butter on the side was delicious.
The only negative about the restaurant was that it was on the warm side, and I always bring anti-air conditioning light jackets with me into restaurants, even in the summer. Mirabelle across the street was uncomfortably warm the last time I went. Maybe it's something about the power supply on Mesa drive :-).
I really enjoyed Mesa Ranch. Both times I've been there however, the crowd seemed too small for the quality of the restaurant. I hope they do well and keep that neighborhood feel to it. And I really hope do another run of their rub !!
Other topic where Mesa Ranch was mentioned:
"A True Texas Grill"
8108 Mesa Drive,Austin 512-853-9480
Monday–Thursday, 11:00 a.m.–9:30 p.m.
Friday, 11:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m.
Saturday, 5:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.
From their website:
"Mesa Ranch serves Nolan Ryan all-natural guaranteed tender steaks, along with native Game, Chicken, and fresh Seafood . The Longhorn Bar features a full bar with a great selection of Texas and California wines, cocktails, and cold beer. Enjoy your beverages with live music nightly. With more than 40 years of experience, our family-owned-and-operated restaurant provides you with great service and a bold and spicy menu, Texas style."