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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA’s The Mesa Room brings fine dining to college campus

    Gordon Bates
    Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat A classic creme brulee, fruit cup, and french toast creme brulee, are on display by the front door of The Mesa Room on Tuesday, November 29 in the Student Union Memorial Center. The Mesa Room serves desserts like these as part of their three course gourmet meals.

    Halfway into her “killer” fried egg-topped burger, geosciences junior Rachel Feuerbach tweeted from the white cloth covered table where she sat at The Mesa Room: “Who knew UA had such a gourmet restaurant?”

    Set on the third floor, The Mesa Room stands as an unassuming oasis that offers students and faculty an upscale dining experience — if they take the time.

    Though not well marked, The Mesa Room holds a surprising charm and once you experience it, you won’t be able to pass it up without at least a second glance.

    Flanked by a Chinese screen to keep out noise, clean-cut students dressed in black uniforms seat patrons with the utmost poise.

    The room is small and its decor is simple and elegant. Light shines in from the wall of windows that looks down at the frenzied activity on the UA Mall.

    The Mesa Room opened in August along with two other campus eateries. It is the first full-service restaurant on campus.

    For $11 a person, diners get three courses of generous portions. The menu gives you six entree options varying from fish to poultry, along with vegetarian options.

    Timothy Stevens, senior supervisor for UA Dining Services, said he uses fresh and sustainable ingredients in The Mesa Room fare. The restaurant changes its menus every few weeks so that patrons’ palettes are never bored.

    At the end of the entree, an assortment of desserts is presented at the table. For a holiday season dessert, The Mesa Room is serving “Autumn in a Jar” where layers of different sweets, such as pumpkin mousse, are visible. One of the most popular desserts is the Pumpkin French Toast Crème Brulee which is similar to a bread pudding with a vanilla crème topping adding fullness but not weighing it down.

    “In my opinion the food quality is so much better,” said Ofer Fass, a physiology junior.

    “It was nothing I expected, the way they recreate fine dining for students at the union.”

    Fass said he preferred The Mesa Room more than the other new dining additions this semester including La Petite Patisserie and Sabor. The Mesa Room hosts a mixture of clientele from professors and visiting lecturers to students dropping their weighty backpacks underneath the table and relaxing from their class.

    “There has always been a demand for an intimate environment for administrators and faculty,“ Stevens said.

    The space, previously used as an expansion of the Redington Restaurant, was created for the on-campus fine dining and entertainment of special guests.

    “Once the secret gets out, people will crowd The Mesa Room,” Fass said.

    Brian Kersten, a physiology senior, hadn’t heard about The Mesa Room until one of his friends dragged him there guaranteeing a great meal.

    “I think it would be very good to escape the hectic environment in the union,” Kersten said. “Whether to have an intimate conversation with a friend, bring a date or even take a professor out to lunch to discuss a thesis, it’s such a great space,” he said.

    With The Mesa Room’s growing popularity, the restaurant may eventually have to address the issue of limited seating. To enjoy the Mesa Room is to take the time to experience it, with every bite from each course.

    “If you have 45 minutes to burn, it’s an ideal spot,” Stevens said.

    Leave plenty of time to enjoy each of the three courses, and it’s guaranteed — you will leave with a full stomach, ready for the rest of your day.

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