On the Menu: Mesa de Notte

Mesa de Notte is the brain trust of Jose Moreno; a savvy restaurateur with a knack for fine Italian dining and years of cultivated experience within the industry.

In May of 2014, Jose closed the doors of his restaurant, Mesa de Notte, to undergo a massive remodeling project. He then reopened in October. The project expanded his seating capacity and provided a more rustic Italian feel. One couldn’t help but notice the detail and care in which Jose and company had orchestrated through this expansion.

Mesa de Notte’s floor plan now gives host to a newly renovated bar and private party area. However, this in no way detracts from the romantic and old-world feel of authentic Italian dining. It only seems to boaster the name, Mesa de Notte, which in translation means, “Table of the night” – and what a night it can be!

The creator of the mouth-watering selections plated for your consumption is the truly talented Chef Loring Felix. Chef Felix is a veteran in the industry having worked for establishments like Bella Luna, Felix’s and the Braised Onion.  His artful mastery of fine cuisine and mystical range of creativity is displayed in Mesa de Notte’s menu. There are a number of delicious appetizers, salads, pastas, sandwiches and entrees to choose from.  

As an appetizer, Chef Felix presented a dish called Aki Crostini. A lightly pan seared slice of tuna resting on a sweet and tangy bed of mango salsa. The heavenly combination is then sat on a crispy toast point called a crostini and garnished with a bold teriyaki sauce. The second appetizer placed before me was the Capesante Champagne. A dish of silver-dollar-sized scallops seared in a champagne cream sauce balanced with shallots, fresh rosemary and a splash of Dijon mustard. All of that crowns a crispy and crunchy wheel of polenta. And this was only the first dish.

For the second dish, Chef Felix prepared a signature dish which bore his namesake – the Capellini Loring. This delicious dish consists of angel hair pasta adorned with chicken breast, onion, pancetta, sundried tomatoes, wild mushrooms and fresh spinach, all tossed together in a rich chicken broth.

Another pasta on the menu which caught my eye was the Penne Alla Vodka. This is an imported Parma prosciutto and Spanish onions simmered in a vodka sped plum tomato cream sauce.

The Salads of Mesa de Notte are as equally delicious. The Moreno is a salad bedded with fresh baby arugula and a mixture of grilled chicken breast, roasted red peppers, black olives, blue cheese crumbles, artichoke hearts and guava vinaigrette dressing.

There’s also the Greco, a Mediterranean-inspired salad made with spinach, vine ripened tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon, eggs, thinly sliced red onions, kalamata olives, feta cheese and tossed in a house-made balsamic vinaigrette. But if you’re like me, nothing beats the classic Caesar.  A fresh collection of romaine lettuce hearts, perfectly toasted house-made croutons, Parmigiana Reggiano cheese and Chef Felix’s Caesar dressing.

Mesa de Notte also offers a choice selection of meat entrees. One such dish is the Filetto Milanese. An 8 oz. lightly-pounded filet mignon, breaded and fried. Then topped with sliced tomatoes, melted mozzarella, basil, oregano, and grated Parmigiana cheese. The filet is served over angel hair aglio e olio and finished with an aged balsamic reduction. Simply divine. If you like veal, then you must try the Vitello Valdostana. A 14 oz. center cut veal chop, pan seared to crisp perfection and topped with fontina cheese, fried prosciutto and cognac glaze. It is plated alongside Napolitan potatoes and asparagus parmesan.

There are also treasures from the deep blue sea to explore. The Spada Puttanesca, a swordfish steak seared and crowned with pear tomatoes, olives and capers in a garlic white wine sauce garnished by fresh oregano, served over spinach and linguini aglio e olio.

Another fresh catch is the Zuppa di Pesce Amalfi. A palette pleasing collaboration of scallops, mussels, shrimp, white fish, clams, and half of a Maine lobster tail simmered in a white wine plum tomato sauce, over linguini pasta. There is also a dish which features one of my favorite fish to eat. The Cernia Marciano, a freshly-plated Florida Black Grouper sautéed in a light white wine plum tomato sauce with fresh clams, scallops, and calamari piled on linguini.

Mesa de Notte is also open for lunch providing authentic classics like the Spaghetti Pomodora, Lasagna Bolognese and Fettuccini Alfredo. Their sandwich choices make for an awesome lunch and all sandwiches are served with fries. But if soup is what you crave for lunch, try the Pasta e Fagioli. It’s a house blend of white beans, pasta, tomatoes, and chicken broth. This is perfect for those chilly afternoons.

Mesa de Notte also provides catering service for corporate events, weddings and social gatherings. The restaurant can also be reserved for parties and any special occasion. So if you’re traveling down Silver Springs Boulevard and have a taste for authentic Italian cuisine, stop in! And be taken back by the newly remodeled Mesa de Notte. The same great taste, but with an all new look. Mesa de Notte is located on 2436 East Sliver Springs Boulevard, Ocala, Florida, 34470.

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