So the Mesa edition of Caffe Boa, called Boa Bistro, has been opened for 3 days now and it's coming together quite nicely. The restaurant is at the NE corner of Power and McDonald just off the 202 in the Les Sendas plaza. Seats about 45-50 with a row of tables, a community hightop along the center, seats at the bar (lwhich overlook the wood fired oven) and a private dining area. Jay stopped by to talk wine and explained that the decor was on its way and that a patio area would be set up soon. But even without all the decor in place, I really like the space. It's comfortable and relaxing and that's the way it should be with Payton's cooking, imo.
We started with a couple of cocktails: Brazil (cachaça, riesling, and St. Germaine) and the Merseille (Pernod pastis, Skyy citron, citrus, mint) that were both wonderfully balanced and fully of unique flavors. The list has some crossover from Boa/Tempe but some different ones as well.
Out came a wire frites basket filled with crispy pork belly. The tender pieces were cut into bite-sized chunks then popped in the wood-fired oven until perfectly crispy on the outside yet still filled with creamy melt-in-your mouth fatty decadance. The hot and sour dipping sauce was no slouch either. This is a super app!
We split a plate of agnolotti filled with wild mushroom and topped with a creamy tomato sauce. Also very very good but paled in comparison to the pork belly.
My main was the osso buco. A generous shank that was nicely seared off then simmered in a lovely rich sauce. It was extremely tender and full of richness with a zesty gremolata giving the dish plenty of lift. As much as I enjoyed the shank, the best part (for me) was the tablespoon full of marrow buried in the shank bone, spread over the grilled toast points.
With the main, I had a glass of 2006 Weingut Juris St. Laurent (Burgenland) which has a wonderful old world nose of dried herbs, dark fruit, and a bit of earthiness. The flavors were rich in dark fruit with a solid streak of minerality, and a fairly robust structure. Very good match with the shank.
Dessert was a pot of French press coffee (so rich and flavorful) and a bread pudding that was just too dense for me after all that food.
Staff was super friendly and informative. Prices are $14 - $28 for entrees, $9-14 for apps.
We'll be back for sure.