The first ChekMates contest winners and date took place at Lower East Side’s Mediterranean restaurant Mezetto. It was a success for all parties and included great food such as a unique Falafel Bun and Halva Cake, great company and memorable service. Below is a review of the restaurant from the point of view of both the girl and the boy, because you know those are always different right?
First up is Amanda:
“There are a few crucial ingredients to making a good restaurant, and making that good restaurant a good date place is even harder. Luckily for Mezetto, it passes both tests. With the right feel and bartenders, pre-date nerves (and a 30 minute delay – in my defense it was MONSOONING) can be cured with some liquid courage. I hear the bartenders were so lovely and accommodating. I owe them one for that!
I truly believe the signs of a good first date can lie in the ability to share plates, and Mezetto is perfect for this. I recommend the Mezetto Trio. This is the perfect starter to share with hummus, eggplant caviar and spicy feta served with crispy, warm bread. We had to ask for more – which is always a good sign. The Ricotta Croquettes were warm cheese in a crispy encasement which sounds tasty but can easily go wrong. These were just the right amount of delicious – super crispy on the outside and soft on the inside — and easy to share.
We also tried the Falafel Buns – I want to root for these – falafel in a steam bun? Genius! However, I must warn, not the easiest date food to eat. I was one of “those girls” and had to cut it up. It’s worth it, just a little messy!!!
For dessert, get the Halva Cake. How is it possible that I’ve never had halva? I feel like my whole life has been a lie. It is so amazing, and I loved this dessert. I want to find ways to put it on everything. In conclusion, with restaurants as with men, consistency is key. One good experience/meal at a restaurant does not make it the best – it’s being able to return time and time again and having it be fantastic every time! I have faith that Mezetto, will keep up the good work.”
“I actually had been into Mezetto over a year ago when it opened in October 2012. At the time, I lived in the Lower East Side and Mezetto was a newcomer to a space that had been a neighborhood staple, so it had some pretty big shoes to fill. I knew a bartender there and had some drinks and chatted with the owner for a while about the business. I could tell he was hardworking and would do anything to make it work. He was still there this time around as well, working his butt off both on the floor and behind the scenes, which I greatly respect and appreciate.
This time around I was greeted upon arrival by the hostess who referred to me as the “Date Guy.” I made friends, since my date happened to be late, “because of the weather” (she made up for it immediately, don’t worry).
The cuisine is Mediterranean and the name “Mezetto” is derived from the word “Meze” which refers to small portions made to share. Think Mediterranean tapas. The vibe is casual, atmosphere lively, and good for dates, small groups or larger groups which can be seated at an elevated section of tables in the middle of the restaurants. The music is loud, but not too loud, which helped create a happening vibe, an ideal place to be on a weekend night before going out with a group of friends, no matter what your age is. They have a fantastic beer, wine and spirits list, which always helps. It comes out to about $40-$50 per person, which is not not crazy. The service is fantastic and portion size beyond fair, especially for the mains.
Some of the dishes really stood out for me. The Mezetto Trio. I was not crazy about the eggplant, but the hummus and feta were a great way to start the meal. The Ricotta Croquettes were good, but the Mushroom cream sauce felt too heavy for a summer evening, so maybe it would be a better option during the colder months.
Falafel Buns – at first I didn’t think this made much sense, because falafel is served with pita nearly 100% of the time, and pork buns are made for, well, pork buns. I’m not one to mess with something that ain’t broken, but for a small portion this worked. Their homemade Harissa Aioli and Tahini hit the spot with the generous serving of falafel balls.
Halva Cake – this dessert was really nice. I grew up loving halva as one of my favorite snacks to eat from a local Israeli bakery. This Halva Cake was served in a toffee and coffee sauce, which went well with the hazelnut flavoring of the Halva. The sauces were a wonderful way of transforming this simple sweet snack, to a full on dessert that really hit the spot. Overall, the date was great and the rest of the details are private 😉 “