Executive Chef Niki Starr Weyler Arrives At Mesa in Orange County
Mesa’s new chef reaches for the stars.
A go-to at The Camp in Costa Mesa for a fun night out with great food, Mesa elevates its dining program with the addition of Executive Chef, Niki Starr Weyler.
Weyler’s reverence for locally sourced ingredients, simplicity and attention to detail are felt throughout every dish. Born and raised in Orange County, Weyler spent her formative years exploring food with her great aunt, picking produce from local markets and indulging in lobster dinners, which both inspired her and gave her a taste of what was ultimately to come.
Although she initially studied nursing at California State University Long Beach, she was lured into the culinary industry when she began cooking Julia Child’s famed recipes. That prompted her to let go of nursing and head south to the San Diego Culinary Institute.
After graduating, Weyler worked at French 75 in Laguna Beach before joining Charlie Palmer restaurant in Costa Mesa, where her mentors, Amar Santana and Seakyeong Kim taught her that creativity and playful dishes have no boundaries. After work, she and her Charlie Palmer coworkers often visited the nearby Mesa where she developed an admiration for the seasonal cuisine and philosophy of the restaurant. Mesa invited Weyler to guest chef at a special wine dinner, which spurred an invitation to permanently head the kitchen where she now resides.
Menu standouts include ahi tuna tacos with avocado, sriracha aioli, citrus ponzu, micro greens on a watermelon radish “shell”; heirloom apple salad with five-year aged gouda, marcona almonds, cider vinaigrette and tarragon; wine-braised short rib with housemade gnocchi, peas, creamy parmesan and micro greens and the not-to-be-missed off-menu Spanish-style PEI mussels with chorizo, Spanish smoked paprika, green onion, white wine and grilled bread, served in a cast iron skillet.
Mixologist Julia Arjune heads the bar program and serves up signature cocktails including the Little Dragon, made with Ketel One Oranje, lemon juice, house ginger syrup, blackberries, Key Lime foam and mint; an Old Fashioned made with Kentucky small batch straight bourbon, citrus oils, bitters and sugar served with a large ice block and the Control Machete with reposado tequila, honey, lime, pineapple, ginger, simple syrup and aromatic bitters.
Between Weyler’s innovative menu, the bar’s exceptional craft cocktails and the lounge’s weekly music lineup, an evening at Mesa makes for an ultra-cool good time. Open Tu-Sa from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.; bar until 2 a.m. Mesa at The Camp, 715 Baker St., Costa Mesa, 714.557.6700. mesacostamesa.com