I finally got around to trying the newish haute mexican place Mez (5410 Page Rd). 

I was extremely excited about it, but unfortunately like many restaurants of this type it had potential but fell way short.

Our table tried a couple of mixed drinks — none of them were good, and the mojito was actually quite bad.  We started with the guacamole, which was generic and bland. 

Out of the three main courses, one was excellent, one was mediocre with the potential to be very good, and the other was just decent.

These are the tacos de pescado, and they are fantastic.  By far the best fish tacos I have had in Durham.  The first one I thought was just good because it was light on the sauce — the second one was drenched and was utterly delicious. Order this if you go, and ask for extra sauce.

The roasted chicken breast stuffed with cilantro pesto had wonderful flavor, but unfortunately the chicken was cooked so much that it was incredibly dry and was basically inedible. 

The mole dish was faithful and decent, but nothing to get excited about.

So yes, I loved the fish tacos. I would say it is worth the trip to get them, except on the way out I saw this:

Hybrid parking. Really? No thanks, Mez.

Published in: on September 16, 2008 at 9:03 pm  Comments (28)  


  1. Speaking of reserved parking spaces (and restaurant food), have you ever seen the first episode of “Action” with Jay Mohr?

    Fish tacos. In life they can be so very good and so not. I remember the first that I had in San Diego some years ago and oh wow. Since then, I’ve had a bajillion and almost none as good as the first I’d eaten at Rubios. Since then, they seem to have changed the recipe. Last month in Denver at Wahoo’s, I had the worst I’d ever. I remember the high school girl who sold them to me saying he she liked the blackened ones better “because you could hardly taste the fish.”

    Ay, caramba.

    I certainly agree that the Mez fish tacos are yummy. (See my weblink for my commentary on the restaurant in general)

    I also like how the Mez chef does a variety of regional or regionally influenced dishes. I’m in San Francisco right now and scouting out some Yucatecan restaurants so I can get my fix of habanero salsa and relleno negro (with a sauce that’s colored black from roasted-until-burned peppers).

    BTW, there are a lot of hybrids out here 🙂

  2. what the hell, reserved parking spot? a bit pretentious.

  3. I see nothing wrong with the hybrid parking space insofar as it serves to promote and reinforce the “green” philosophy of the building.

    The following is from the Zspotlight website article on MEZ:

    “Go Green!!!!: MEZ is North Carolina’s only LEED designed restaurant, and one of only five in the United States! LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) is the national benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings, and the LEED program promotes building sustainability through site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Because of their commitment to recycling, community involvement, and green operations, the Chapel Hill Restaurant Group was named the 2007 Sustainable Business of the Year.”

    SNARK: Park your coal-powered SUV out of sight before you go inside to eat your fancy Nuevo-Mexican meal, Mr. Sissypants!

  4. I see nothing wrong with it insofar as I respect that the owner’s property rights enable him to do whatever he wants with his parking spaces. Likewise, my property rights in this blog enable me to tell the world how absurd and pretentious his hybrid parking space policy is. 🙂

    As a general matter, I think excessive and irrational displays of “greenness” do more to discredit the movement than they do to reinforce it. The irony is, of course, that by forcing non-hybrid cars to park farther away, they are actually creating a negative environmental impact.

  5. The drinks my group had when we went to Mez were absolutely vomitous, and the food sub-par (although I don’t recall what they were anymore). I won’t be going back.

  6. that parking space is enough reason for me not to go there…pretentious indeed.

    plus, i just dont dig upscale peasant food…i think its insulting.

    just me, though

  7. If I were in charge of this blog, I might get a wacky idea like, I don’t know, offering a free T-shirt to the first person to send me a photo of their Hummer parked in this space. But that’s me.

  8. Pretentious parking for a pretentious eatery. Too bad you only knew about one of those going in. Had you known about the off-putting parking space, you could have saved yourself a trip to Page Road. The parking lot is always how I always judge the merits of a restaurant!

  9. Well, even if you can’t overlook the reserved parking space, as least your faithful readers can overlook “Musings from the Duke Law Epicurean Society” in order to catch up on the latest Bull City food news.

  10. focus: These guys eat at places in parts of town that give me pause, so yes, faithful readers do overlook the Duke Law Epicurean Society handle. Or rather, acknowledge that it’s a humorously rarefied name.

  11. “The irony is, of course, that by forcing non-hybrid cars to park farther away, they are actually creating a negative environmental impact.”

    OK. I’m genuinely puzzled (and possibly late-night-clueless). But how exactly is that so? Are you assuming that they drive to the restaurant door, drop people off, then drive away to another parking spot? Then reverse for post-dinner?

  12. The hybrid spots are the closest spots to the entrance of both the parking lot and the restaurant. By reserving the spots and having them be empty (which they were when I was there), you are forcing more polluting vehicles to drive farther than they needed to. Even if the spots were actually filled with hybrid vehicles, it would technically be more environmentally friendly for the polluting vehicle to drive less and the hybrid to park farther away.

    It is a minor point, but I find it funny.

    • I realize that this discussion is old and has already gone way beyond the bounds of the unnecessary, but I can’t resist making this clarification…

      Reserving hybrid spaces close to restaurants does prevent pollution, because the point of the car’s origin isn’t the restaurant, it’s your house. Say you’re driving a traditional vehicle and leave your house and drive to a restaurant. You pull into the parking lot and have to park immediately because the spots closer to the restaurant are for hybrids. You stop your car and walk 5 parking rows to the restaurant. If the traditional spaces were closer to the restaurant, you would have driven those 5 rows instead of walking.

      Now this scenario assumes a strip-mall parking environment, and in real life the difference is probably only a couple of yards instead of 5 rows, but still. The take-away lesson is we should walk more, use shared/centralized parking, and worry less about reserving spaces for hybrids.

  13. If the food isn’t exceptional, the parking spaces might as well be reserved for clown cars for all I care.

    More importantly, if you google “mez hybrid parking” the link to carpedurham comes up Numero Uno, baby!!

  14. Just a quick note to say that while I love the idea of hybrid parking spots in general (my employer reserves these so that I can park the Prius close to my office), I find it pretentious for a place of public accomodation intended to serve the working stiffs of Durham looking for a dollar tongue taco.

    Mez, however, is not such a place. Hybrid parking compliments their pretentious menu. As a guest blogger here I look forward to posting a followp review, just as soon as I can pry the Prius away from Professor Kort.

  15. MEZ and the Chapel Hill Restaurant Group have made a commitment to sustainability – how stupid do you have to be to mock that? If you had a clue or didn’t have your head up your own dark orifice, you’d know that those parking spots will help them achieve LEED certification for the building and have nothing to do with pretentiousness … whether you enjoyed your meal or not (I personally have enjoyed most of what I have had there) their effort to help our community, our local suppliers and our planet is enough of a reason for me to return to any of their restaurants.

  16. I guess I must be some combination of stupid and clueless. It is a scary day when the legitimacy of parking spaces has become off-limits to critical discussion and even mentioning it serves as the basis for ad hominem attacks.

    In any case, this is a food blog, so let’s consider the matter closed. Feel free to shoot me an email if you would like to continue the discussion.

  17. Lighten up, Francis.

  18. This is your blog and you get to dictate what it on it.

    That being said, you added politics to your post, and now don’t want to hear from people that disagree with you? Weak.

  19. I am happy to hear from people that disagree with me, as we all are on any matter we post about here. I am less inclined to participate in a discussion with someone that needs to support their argument by telling me that my head must be “up [my] own dark orifice.”

    Additionally, the comment was simply an expression of distaste for a parking allocation system at a restaurant. Not everything is political.

  20. You tell ’em, Chief.

  21. Gotta disagree there: everything is political 🙂

  22. I have to say, I was pretty happy to see even the tiniest eff-you to the nearly suffocating smugness in this town. Go Carpe Durham!

  23. The LEED system is based on points. One point can be acheived for hybrid spaces, recycling of construction debris, more effiecent heating and cooling etc. Does the restaurant own the building? If they are renting space they would have no say in the parking arrangements.

    That said one of the faults of the LEED system is to give points for things, such as hybrid parking spaces, that may or may not get used while not deducting points for bad decisions / equipment that is not energy or resourse efficient.

    I haven’t eaten there but thought I would add a little context to the discussion.

  24. that would be resource… I have spelling issues.

  25. So I’d like to return to this post and offer apologies for being, well, unacceptable in the assertiveness of my previous post. No excuses.

    LEED is an imperfect system, it’s creators admit it, but it is the standard that exists to recognize environmentally friendly building practices. LEED certification, to a degree can be bought – you can pay for points such as marking spaces for alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles or supporting green power. But the intent is still valid. In this case the restaurant is apparently partners in the building, but tenants can influence any aspect of the property if the parties agree – see the other spaces in the same center that are reserved for Starbucks (just a tenant).

    Anyway, back to the food, MEZ has some really good offerings and they seem to be constantly adjusting their menu which makes sense as they seek to establish themselves. Try the burger, the guac is made fresh so it’s variable (but fresh).
    And as I tried to point out before, their commitment to the local community is real and worth patronizing.

    Hopefully those are reasons to go, not because of the paint on the asphalt – park your hummers wherever you please, that’s why you got them.

  26. I anxiously awaited the opening only to be bitterly disappointed in this place. I’ll never go back, Prius parking space or not.

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