Restaurant Review: Blue Mesa

A revamp of its flagship proves the Southwestern cuisine chain is as relevant as ever.

The last time I visited the Addison location of Blue Mesa Grill, I was disappointed. The curtains were tattered, and the overall atmosphere was tired. The flagship location, which opened 26 years ago, needed a facelift. In 2013, that update came with an entirely new space across the street. What a change. Husband-and-wife team Jim and Liz Baron gutted the building that once housed Ounce Steakhouse and created a snazzy interior with a spectacular patio. On a recent visit, we skipped the tableside guacamole and ordered a spinach and artichoke queso served with chips and flatbread. If you like black bean soup, you’ll love the Painted Desert, a mix of hearty black beans and corn chile chowder. Two corn tortillas stuffed with spinach and mushrooms and served with grilled sweet potatoes and asparagus were delectable. The kitchen even removed the chicken from the spinach enchiladas, pleasing our vegetarian. The Barons opened their first Blue Mesa Grill in 1988. They were some of the first Dallas restaurateurs to cultivate relationships with local farmers. Their sweet-potato chips, innovative brunch menu, tableside guacamole, and blue margaritas were unique at the time, and because the Barons have continued to evolve, Blue Mesa is as relevant as ever.