Over the past five years, Mesa has quickly become Oak Cliff’s best kept secret. The restaurant, run by Raul and Olga Reyes, a husband and wife duo who learned to cook in Veracruz, Mesa has earned the praise of everyone from persnickety food critics to Beyoncé and Jay-Z – and for good reason.
One of Dallas’ essential restaurants, Mesa serves up some of the city’s best authentic Mexican fare. Forget gloppy yellow cheese and other trappings of Tex-Mex, as you won’t find those on the plates at Mesa. Instead, you’ll find an upscale take on coastal Mexican cuisine that doesn’t dumb down its flavors for bland palates.
The best entree into the world of Mesa is via their Mama Cata Enchilada, a dish inspired by drenched in a rich and complex mole sauce made with more than 20 ingredients, notably raw, unrefined dark chocolate.
Eater photographer Melissa Hennings got a behind-the-scenes look at the making of your new favorite dish.
- First, fresh masa is shaped by hand into perfect tortillas to order.
- Next, the tortillas hit the grill. If they puff up, as shown above, it is said by the staff to foretell love or impending marriage.
- Then, the tortillas are dipped in a rich mole sauce made with more than 20 ingredients.
- Then, the tortillas are filled with tender chicken braised for hours in mole sauce.
- Using tongs, a cook tenderly rolls the tortillas.
- A bed of jasmine rice is topped with shredded zucchini and carrots, a decidedly fresh departure from greasy refried beans.
- The enchilada is then drenched in yet more mole sauce.
- So. Much. Mole.
- Finally, the enchiladas are crowned with micro cilantro, onions, avocado, and a healthy sprinkle of cheese.
- Behold, the Mole Mama Cata Enchiladas.