Met my friends Janeen and Nancy for dinner last night at Paul Sturkey's new restaurant, Mesh. With crazy schedules for all of us, it's a rare treat when we can all get together and catch up. So we braved the pouring rain and cold to meet for dinner. Chef Sturkey has owned several restaurants around Cincinnati in the past and, as a Certified Personal Chef and owner of Yummy~issimo! Personal Chef Service, I'm constantly in search of good food, prepared in new and interesting ways and beautifully served.
I'd heard both good and mediocre about Mesh, so we decided to give it a try. The bar and restaurant were filled with businessmen on expense account from the Marriott across the street. As three women together ~ without a man ~ we were seated at the table closest to the kitchen door, as in we were so close to the kitchen that the servers were constantly in and out, talking to each other as they passed, and brushing our table constantly. Oh, by the way, there were quite a few empty 4~tops with a much nicer dining location than next to the kitchen. It was quite irritating.
Our server, Lauren, was visibly annoyed that we didn't want wine for the table. As Nancy was late with the bad weather and associated terrible traffic, Janeen and I had wine at the bar. None of us wanted a full dinner and we all decided to have salad and heavy appetizers. Needless to say, Lauren's body language grew even colder.
Marinated Beet Salad $8.00 ~ described by Lauren as marinated roasted beets topped with goat cheese, spiced pecans and an orange truffle vinaigrette. In reality, it was four paper~thin slices of beet topped with a 4" high mound of goat cheese mixed with microgreens and a couple of spiced pecans on the side. I'm not quite sure where the orange truffle vinaigrette ended up but I couldn't identify it on my plate.
Vegetable Trio $23.00 ~ this was not described by Lauren at all as she was pushing the the $40 venison dinner special and the $50 steak entrees. The menu describes this entree as a trio of Curry Carrot Soup with Truffled Apples, Redskin Potato Ravioli with Tomato Artichoke Emulsion and Tofu Tempura with Toasted Paprika Vinaigrette. Sounds Yummy! The curry in the soup was overwhelming ~ and I like curry. There were a couple of microscopic apple bites and I have no idea what or where the "truffled" part was. The potato ravioli was heavy and was reminiscent a periogi topped with diced tomatoes. The tofu tempura was inedible and, once again, I like tofu. Imagine uncooked tofu covered with a crunchy coating and deep fried.
Paul Sturkey's House Salad $8.00 ~ sun~dried tomatoes, toasted almonds, feta cheese and Sturkey's creamy balsamic vinaigrette. This is the same salad he served at his Encore Restaurants (all abruptly closed two weeks ago) and it has always been quite good.
Atlantic Salmon $25.00 ~ served with lobster mashed potatoes, French green beans and a sherry soy sauce. Lauren suggested the salmon be served medium and Janeen agreed. The salmon was medium~well bordering on well done and the lobster mashed potatoes, while a substantial serving, were quite heavy and overwhelmed the salmon.
Iceberg Salad $6.00 ~ 3/4 of a head of iceberg lettuce smothered with blue cheese dressing, a dab of diced tomatoes, onions and olives. Certainly not something that should ever be on a Sturkey menu.
Mashed Potato "Poppers" $8.00 ~ a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes. Deep fried and dusted with Sturkey's Spice and white truffle oil. We all agreed it tasted like deep fried mashed potatoes with cayenne pepper and lemon. Once again, we weren't sure where the white truffle oil was used. Lauren didn't warn Nancy that these were quite spicy.
Grade C ~ I liked the spiciness of them while Nancy couldn't eat more than 1/2 of one.
Overall, I was extremely disappointed with the entire meal and the service. Our check was $83.00 before tip and I'm really sorry we didn't go someplace like Ember's Restaurant or Jag's. I don't mind spending money for a great meal with good service but unfortunately that's not what I got last night.
At least my dinner companions were exceptional.