Mesa Grill at the Sedona Airport

Earlier this year, private pilots voted Mesa Grill at the Sedona Airport the $100 Hamburger – Best of the Best Award. “$100 hamburger” is pilot speak for the habit of hopping aboard an airplane and flying to a distant airport for the sole purpose of having a meal (the dinner might not carry a hefty price tag, but airplane fuel isn’t cheap). Each year, the 54,000 pilots who subscribe to cast their votes, and this year Mesa Grill came out on top. It had been a while since we’d dined at Mesa Grill, so we decided to see what all the fuss was about. Turns out the pilots were right.

To take full advantage of the red-rock and runway views during daylight hours, we decided to have lunch at Mesa Grill. Seated at a table next to floor-to-ceiling windows, we started with the escargot appetizer. The dish featured seven snails cooked in the classic French style with lots of garlic and butter. The escargot is accompanied by four slices of the softest garlic bread we’ve ever had. For lunch – and in light of the recent award – we had to try the aptly named $100 Hamburger. The Angus-beef burger is topped with roasted red- and green-chili peppers, jack and cheddar cheeses, and a mild Santa Fe sauce. It is served with French fries that are topped with crunchy, fried green chilies. Hands down it is one of our favorite burgers in Red Rock Country. It’s fresh, juicy and bursting with flavor. We also tried the fish and chips. The delicate white fish is coated in Panko bread crumbs and deep-fried, resulting in a light, crunchy breading that doesn’t mask the flavor of the fish. Two large pieces of fish come with fries and coleslaw.

For dessert, we took one look at the chocolate torte and felt an ache in our sweet tooth. This five-layer concoction includes moist marble cake, milk-chocolate mousse and white-chocolate mousse topped with chocolate ganache and chocolate chips. The plate is garnished with chocolate and raspberry sauces, a strawberry and whipped cream. Lucky for us locals, we don’t have to fill out a flight plan when we want a terrific meal at Mesa Grill – it’s right in our backyard. – Erika Ayn Finch. Photograph by Tom Johnson.

Mesa Grill at the Sedona Airport, 1185 Airport Road. Open daily, 7 to 11 a.m., for breakfast; 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., for lunch; 4 to 9 p.m., for dinner (9:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday). MC, Visa, AmEx, Disc (928-282-2400) (Inexpensive to Very Expensive)

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