The NCAA Women's Volleyball Championships 1st and 2nd rounds were being held on the campus of the University of Dayton this past weekend. After watching a great match between Ohio State and the University of Dayton (Ohio State won in 5 sets) our group was looking for a place to have dinner.
My wife and I have been to El Meson in West Carrollton, Ohio several times, but my mother-in-law and boyfriend had not, but were very willing to try based on my recommendation.
I have difficulty describing El Meson. I think the best way to describe it is a Hispanic style restaurant, featuring tapas (small bites) and entree's from multiple hispanic cultures, including Spain, the Caribbean, South America and Central America. El Meson features a full service bar and a decent wine list.
I like the decor inside. It is a Spanish theme with a gift shop featuring jewelry and arts and crafts for sale, and outdoor seating when the weather is nice.
The menu is extensive, almost to the point of being overwhelming. There must be at least a hundred different choices of tapas and entree's. But the wait staff is very knowlegable. There are a couple of items that I have tasted that I like to order every time I visit, the Empanadillas (both beef and salmon) and the coconut shrimp served with a Dijon sauce. But I always like to try something new, and look forward to the wait staff's recommendations.
On this particular evening our table decided to go with tapas to allow for a variety of tastes. We, of course, had the Empanadillas and coconut shrimp. In addition, based on recommendations from the staff, we had Lumpia Shanghai, described as Filipino style egg rolls, filled with beef. These were a table favorite, served with a spicy sweet and sour style sauce. We also tried the chicken, rice and cheese quesadilla (it was huge by the way) and the homemade spanish chorizo sausage sauteed in red peppers and shitake mushrooms. I found the chorizo to be a little tough, but I was the exception at our table as others thought it was delicious.
It might seem a little strange, but my favorite item at El Meson is the homemade Columbian dipping sauce called Aji' that is served with bread at the beginning of the meal. It is a mixture of tomato, green onions, cilantro and vinegar (and other ingredients). I spoon it on just about everything served at El Meson!
One of the small treats that I enjoy at El Meson is the yellow rice and black beans. I like to order both as side and mix them together. And of course add some Aji'!
Our table had a delicious meal on this night. We also pledged to come back, as the variety of items on the menu is so diverse it would take several visits to try them all. In addition, large groups would have a great time due to the festive atmosphere at El Meson!
El Meson Restaurant and Catering
903 E. Dixie Dr.
West Carrollton, Ohio 45449
(937) 859-8229 http://www.elmeson.net/
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