I like Mesa in Costa Mesa, I really do: good food. What I don't like is that it's too cool for us regular folks: If you're not dressed in a untucked long-sleeved shirt or dress short enough to expose your ovaries, the elitism of the staff comes out. It's a struggle Mesa has dealt with since its inception, and one that I don't think will be overcome for a while.
I went with my chica a couple of weeks ago, and the service was abominable. We ate at the bar, where four bartenders preferred to knock back shots and flirt with honeys instead of refill our glasses of water. I asked for a Bloody Mary, and the waiter not only told me they don't serve them, he just about snickered at the idea that that I would've ask for so pedestrian a drink.
We ate the clams–delicious, but the empty shells sat before us at least 10 minutes after we ate the final one. The bartenders stood around–I finally had to flag down a busboy to remove the plate. Then Mesa's general manager arrived–I know him, he knows me. We exchanged handshakes, but I made no mention of the service. He spoke to one of the bartenders, nodded toward me; the worker's eyes widened.
And then, I was treated like a king.
Out came new cutlery. I'd take one sip of water, and the suddenly chatty bartender refilled my glass with a smile. And that Bloody Mary they didn't carry? Oh, my God: the chef whipped one up JUST FOR ME!!!
Mesa makes really good food, but the way staff treated me once they realized I'm the Weekly's food editor was embarrassing. Guys: you should treat EVERYONE like royalty, not just someone who can rip you a new one on the level of Lola Gaspar. Work on your snobbery, wontcha?