There are two new Mexican restaurants in Costa Mesa, so I decided to try them both on the same day – appetizers and entrĂ©e at Descanso and dessert at Playa Mesa. Of course, one must compare the Margaritas.

Descanso claims to bring you the Street Side Taquero to discover authentic Mexican flavors from recipes presented in front of you at the taco Bar, at standard dining or on the Plancha (an open fire grill).

The menu is unique. Debbie and I started with the Costras de Hongos – Fresh Corn Tortillas, Wild Mushrooms, Tres Quesos, Salsa Fria and Epazote. Interesting combination of flavors and quite filling as an appetizer.

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The Taco menu AKA “a la plancha entradas” offered the Al Pastor for Debbie with Chile Toreado Salsa, Chamoy and Micro Cilantro. I opted for the Mahi Mahi with Chamoy, Mexislaw, Cacahuates Enchilados and Chile Morita Aioli. To understand what all those words mean, I guess you will have to experience it yourself.

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We were pretty full after all this, but we sacrificed ourselves for the chance at dessert at Playa Mesa. They have an interesting wine list and a huge tequila menu of “over 50 bottles of premium Agave spirits, including smoky mezcals”. Their flavors are from the coastal regions of Baja and the mainland Mexico.

Debbie was driving so she opted for water. I had to try Playa Mesa’s house margarita – for comparison of course. Both made with house tequila, similar taste. Playa Mesa’s was served with a fresh lime slice, an orange wedge at Descanso. After a few sips, we were served our shared dessert — Tres Leches – sponge cake, milk, cream, seasonal fruit (strawberries). It was good but a little disappointing. I have to say the Tres Leches I got from Costco was much better. After the sweet dessert taste in my mouth, the margarita didn’t taste quite the same.

Playa Mesa has a family friendly atmosphere and is a little more casual. Food menu at Descanso is much more appealing. We were at happy Hour at Playa Mesa. That menu and drink prices were very reasonable.

The Other Thing – There are so many Mexican restaurants in Costa Mesa, but they are all a little different. It depends on how traditional you like your food. I am all for tasting new flavors – raising the bar on what I think are quality ingredients cooked in a unique way, attractive plating, reasonable prices and great service.  Is that too much to ask for?