You know me, I'm all about that Chipotle life (#ChipotleGrind), but I can't pass up an authentic and homemade, Latin-inspired restaurant with pico that actually tastes fresh (and isn't from a container). It's time you toss away your Chipotle bowl and head over to Hart's Mesa in Olympia, Washington's Westside neighborhood!
Chef and owner Joel Hart is carefully crafting his new Friday and Saturday dinner special, rotating every week with different and exciting dishes for a delectable 4-course dinner. Get ready and set aside 2 hours for the most relaxing meal of your life!
To start off our dinner, Jared and I chose a mushroom ceviche salad. The salad was incredibly citrusy and pico-inspired. For those cautious of mushrooms, the mushrooms didn't taste strongly like mushrooms within the grand scheme of things--they were simply a nice light and fresh touch to the grand creation.
Nearly the entire dinner menu is made with organic ingredients and you can tell this salad is no exception. This specific weekend alternating dinner menu is crafted around what's currently fresh in produce this season.
For the second dish, the choice was either a mushroom or chicken Thai soup. Jared went with the chicken and I chose mushroom. The flavors of the mushroom are highlighted in this dish and the coconut, curry-like broth compliments them beautifully. The swirling cilantro adds a wonderful scent and extra note of flavor. I really enjoyed the fact that the soup is delectable and sweet, not spicy and sour like some Thai soups.
The fusion of cuisines (or multi-cuisine nature) is something I really admire about Hart's Mesa.
For the third dish, we went with different entrees. Jared got the Arroz con Pollo en Crema which included local, free range chicken that was grilled and served on a bed of creamy rice and organic veggies.
Jared said it was the best chicken dish ever!
I chose the delicious stuffed pepper that was filled with mushroom duxelles, marinated tofu and fresh herbs. On the side came their potatoes (with the perfect amount of salt!), their trademark pickled carrots and juicy, thick asparagus that completely melted in my mouth. Again, cilantro gave the dish a nice decorative/flavorful touch.
We decided to split a dessert in the final course and chose the tres leches cake--a cake made from four types of milk from filling to topping: whole, condensed and evaporated milk, plus heavy cream. TO-DIE-FOR!
As someone who often eats gluten-free, of course I go crazy over the fact that every single item on the menu is gluten-free, unless otherwise specified. This opens up the door in Olympia to an entire set of people who more often than not would struggle to find somewhere to eat a large meal.
On the topic of #BuyLocal, I spoke to Emily Dunn-Wilder, server and the restaurant's marketing guru, about their relationships with fellow local businesses including Home Meats, Olympia Seafood Co. and a variety of small farms throughout the area, such as Best Family Farms that dedicates an entire plot just to Hart's Mesa! She said: "It's all about supporting the locals. We have to be able to believe in them and what they're doing, and we completely do."
The restaurant's tilapia fish comes from Best Family Farms as well as produce. Emily hinted at a new fried tilapia dish that will be coming soon! As for Joel's desire to share a Latin-inspired, multi-cuisine restaurant: he lived and worked in Spain and found lots of his inspiration for the culinary arts during his time there.
I adored the new weekend dinner menu and saw how much hart and soul Joel poured into his new creation. I'll be back in the neighborhood very soon.
Hart's Mesa 903 Rogers St. NW Olympia, WA 98502
Give Hart's Mesa a LIKE on their Facebook page to get the updated menus each weekend and stay tuned for their new brunch menu debuting soon! You can make reservations through their Yelp page, messaging them on Facebook or by calling the restaurant at: (360) 878-8490.
*I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the staff of Hart's Mesa to craft this beautiful review in exchange for the experience of their divine new dinner menu. Click here to read my previous review of Hart's Mesa that I wrote after eating there for the second time.