UPDATE: When I originally visited this restaurant, it was called Cafe Mezza & Grille. The restaurant underwent renovations, and is now called Mezza Grille.
Last month I was in Houston for a work event, and unfortunately this trip was kind of a nightmare. I was in a school rental van, and the tire went soft. I stopped to get air at the gas station, not realizing I was right next door to Texas State Prison in Huntsville…not the place to have a flat tire. I then stopped at the Firestone store in The Woodlands, just north of Houston. The guy there was a complete jerk, asked how I knew the tire had a leak, claimed he checked and it was fine, and treated me like a dumb female. My trip to Galveston the next morning was ruined, I spent way too much time at the Firestone just down the street from my hotel, and the tire kept going soft. The following morning, before heading to Flower Mound, the Firestone guy assured me I could make it to Dallas before changing the tire. Why didn’t I just get a new tire then? Well, because it’s a rental, Firestone had to get approval from Enterprise…which could take up to 4 hours. I even stopped at an Enterprise location to see if I could speed up the process. Nope. And then I still had to wait to get a brand new tire, because the other one was ruined. All of this could have been avoided if the first Firestone guy wasn’t such an idiot. And he had short-man syndrome. I was really tempted to stop there on my way out of town and give him a piece of my mind, but I figured it wasn’t worth causing a scene.
By the time my car was ready it was almost lunchtime, and I knew my food options would be limited between Houston and Dallas. There are hundreds of restaurants in Houston, but the last thing I wanted to do was go into downtown Houston. The crowds and traffic are absolutely ridiculous, and I was already annoyed from my long morning. After some searching on TripAdvisor, I came across Mezza Grille. It was close to the garage, on my way out of town, and had gotten very good reviews on Trip Advisor.
Mezza Grille is located in a strip mall in the Galleria area. It’s towards the back of the strip mall, so if you don’t know where you are going, you will completely miss it. I was planning to sit inside, but it was freezing so I sat on the patio. There is a small covered patio out front, and has ceiling fans that create just enough breeze to make it a great atmosphere in the oppressive Houston heat. The only down side is they allow smoking on the patio. The good thing is there was only one smoker out on the patio that day; also, he was at the other end of the patio, and the smoke was blowing in the opposite direction. They had music piped both inside and outside, and the station was a great mix of jazz, oldies, and a little R&B.
The first thing brought to the table is seasoned crisp pita bread, served with oil and extra seasoning.
The bread is warm, and absolutely delicious. I poured a little of the extra seasoning into the oil, and it added a lot more flavor. I devoured almost the entire plate while I was looking through the menu. The good thing is that the serving is small, so I didn’t feel too horribly guilty. But then of course I got another serving, and then had to stop myself from mindlessly eating.
The Mezza Grille menu is really large and Mediterranean-inspired, with so many different and unique dishes. The menu features appetizers, soups/salad, specialties, pizza, burgers, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. As usual, I couldn’t decide what to eat. My server said since it was my first time I should try the mixed grill platter. I hesitated when I saw it takes 15-25 minutes to prepare, as I was already hours behind on my schedule. But she also said that the time really depended on the doneness of the steak; and since mine was medium, she said it would be on the shorter side.
I was super excited that my food arrived in only about 12 minutes. It’s a huge plate of food–and my server did warn me about that. But I loved that I had lots of different items to try. The saffron rice was amazing, and had incredible flavor. The grilled veggies were cut into huge pieces, and cooked tender crisp, just how I like them. The Kufta (Marinated Angus Ground Beef Mixed with Diced Parsley, Pureed Onions & Garlic) was by far my favorite. I didn’t notice on the menu that it was ground beef so I was a little caught off guard with the first bite, but I quickly got over that. It had really delicious flavor. I’m not a huge fan of filet (I prefer more marbled cuts like ribeye), but it was very tender and cooked to medium. Yes, I realize most people get it more rare than that, but I just can’t do that. The chicken was good and the marinade was very flavorful, but the pieces were a little dry. The garlic cream sauce was excellent, and not overpowering at all, and you could hardly taste the garlic. I made it through all of the the kufta, filet, veggies, and about half the rice and chicken, before I had to throw in the towel.
Will I go back to Mezza Grille? No question! The menu has so many different types of items, and I’m looking forward to checking more out.