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Spotlight: Scott Joseph Reviews Meza

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Interior of Meza. Photo: Scott Joseph Orlando Restaurant Guide

Interior of Meza. Photo: Scott Joseph Orlando Restaurant Guide

Meza isn’t anything like Cafe Annie, but it’s that late lamented eatery from downtown that gave rise to this Baldwin Park Mediterranean newcomer.

Meza is bigger and brighter than Annie was, and the menu is more ambitious. And it’s all wonderfully delicious.

On my first visit I had an appetizer of Meza Hummus, the chickpea puree topped with hunks of beef and pine nuts, served with a basket of pita bread.

I really could have left that as my entree, but I also had the Beef Kabob, meatier cubes of filet mignon alternating with onions, served with a timbale of rice and a medley of sauteed vegetables. The meat was grilled perfectly medium-rare, though the rice longed for a bit of sauce.

My companion began with the Arnabeet, baked cauliflower with tahini sauce. It looked as enticing as it sounded, but ultimately cauliflower needs more seasoning to go it alone.

For an entree, my friend chose the Lamb Tagine, which, though not served in the actual tagine cooking vessel, had all the infused flavors from the tender hunks of lamb stewed with onions, potatoes and chickpeas. The stew surrounded a mound of jasmine rice, and it was all wonderful when mixed together.

I had already been two times, but I had to return for a third visit. How could I not have the Falafel?

It was every bit as good as I remembered from my days working in downtown Orlando. The chickpea fritters were moist and well seasoned, wrapped in a lavosh, with onions, tomatoes and fresh parsley, plus a touch of tzatziki. Still the best falafel sandwich in town.

Service was really quite good on all of my visits. Good training has occurred here.

I’m glad to have it back, even though it’s not Cafe Annie, and even though the menu is more varied. Just as long as that falafel sandwich is there, all is right in the world.

The full-length review is available here on the Scott Joseph Orlando Restaurant Guide website.

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About Scott Joseph