One kind of restaurant that had been missing in the RTP area until very recently was one where you could take clients, or meet for business. You had to drive over to the airport area, or meet in one of the cities nearby to do that. Yet over 39,000 people work in RTP. Luckily a few years ago Mez, a contemporary Mexican restaurant, opened up on Page Road, just outside of the RTP boundaries. Now it has become the place to “be seen” at lunch. Lots of people conduct business over upscale Mexican food.
Mez is very popular, so it’s best to either make a reservation or go early or late, especially around the lunch hour. Inside the tall walls, airy windows and light-colored adobe style walls make the place seem even bigger than it is. There is a second floor that is typically used for groups or private parties.
I usually like to start out with an order of the guacamole. The guacamole is very fresh, and has nice chunks of avocado, cilantro, and onion. The chips are crispy and fresh.
Many times when I come here, I get the Verde salad, which is mixed greens served with chunks of green apples, green pumpkin seeds, and tomatoes with some cheese and dressing. It’s light and crispy, yet filling enough to last for the rest of the day, thanks in much to the pumpkin seeds.
This particular day I decided to order the special which was a Torta Ahogada, which was a pulled pork sandwich with refried pinto beans, avocado, pickled red onions and a small whole wheat bun served with a side of green rice. The pork was good, but the very thin bun fell apart. It was not the best meal I have had at Mez.
My friend had the Baha Fish Tacos which were made with beer-battered catfish, served with shredded cabbage and a tomatillo-avocado salsa, which looks like a big green mess, but tastes great. These tacos are served with soft flour tortillas. I know this is the big trend these days, but to me, a taco is a fried corn tortilla shell. However, I agree that fish tacos are best served with a soft flour tortilla.
I am never hungry enough to get to dessert at Mez, but I’m sure they have some good desserts. Maybe sometime I’ll just go and have a dessert and skip lunch altogether.
Mez is owned by the Chapel Hill Restaurant Group, who also owns Squids, Spanky’s 518 Italian Restaurant in Chapel Hill and 411 Italian Restaurant in Raleigh. I’m very excited to try their new restaurant, Page Road Grill, which should be opening any day now. I promise to write about them soon!
Have you eaten at Mez? What do you think of their food? Do you have a favorite dish or one people should avoid?
Mez is located at 5410 Page Road in Durham, near RTP. They are open from 11am – 4pm for lunch Monday – Friday, and have a taco bar from 4-6pm those days as well. They are open for dinner from 4pm – 9:30pm Monday – Thursday, Friday from 4pm – 10pm, Saturday from 5pm – 10pm and Sunday from 5pm – 9:30pm. You can follow Mez on Facebook.