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Mediocre Maya - downhill alert?


Restaurants & Bars

Mediocre Maya - downhill alert?

Stanley Stephan | Jul 22, 2002 10:10 PM

It was Sunday night and the white mums on the table were wilting and slightly brown at the tips. It was a visual summary of Maya’s décor and food - tired and not fresh.

There have been mixed reviews of Maya on the board and I thought I would check it out since I live near Maya.

They still have the On the Town special - appetizer, entrée and dessert for $29.

Appetizer: sopa de elote ~ creamy roasted corn soup served with a huitlacoche dumpling

Put a can of Green Giant creamed corn in a blender, heat, and you would have a taste that was pretty similar to this soup. I‘m a big fan of creamed corn, but not at this price. I ordered the soup because I wanted to try huitlacoche, a corn fungus which is supposed to be a delicacy. It is said to have a flavor like mushrooms. The huitlacoche was in a dumpling and did not have any detectable flavor. It did make lovely black swirls in the corn soup.

Entrée: camarones azteca ~ shrimp flambé with tequila, served with a huarache stuffed with black beans and cheese with chile-chipotle.

If the shrimp were not frozen, it would be a surprise to me. Tasteless and tough. Don’t call it flambé unless I see it flaming. The worst was that there was no flavor of chipotle, a favorite of mine. The huarache was decent, a sort of fritter with beans and cheese. Bowls of nice nutty, buttery rice and decent black beans came with the entrée.

I ordered a side of plantains which were good and not greasy.

Dessert: Two plantain turnovers with coconut ice cream and strawberry sauce. They tasted like Pepperidge Farm frozen turnovers. I like Pepperidge Farm so these were not unpleasant like the ice cream. The only thing the coconut added was a gritty texture. The strawberry sauce had the taste of frozen strawberries puréed in a blender.

I had a mojito which was tasty. This was my first mojito, so I have noting to compare it with.

The guava margarita was a major mistake. Not a good combination with tequila. While it had a lovely pink color and real guava juice was used, it was the consistency of a Kern’s nectar and IMO, did not complement the tequila. I did not finish it.

I thought the restaurant would be prettier. I had visions of gleaming silver. There were touches of silver here and there, but it certainly was not as fabulous as described in reviews. I found the room depressing and worn like the table linens.

I want to like this restaurant. I think there is a market for upscale Mexican dining. Some of the upscale restaurants in Mexico City offer some exciting flavors and combinations.

I’m not sure if Maya has dumbed down the flavors for mass appeal or they are in a slump. It seems like they are trying to please too many people. They want an upscale restaurant, yet they serve chips and guacamole to placate the Chevy’s crowd. Quite frankly, I would have had a better dinner at Chevy’s. The food would have at least been fresher.

Service was pleasant, but diners were pushed to buy drinks. I was only half finished with the mojito when I was asked if I wanted another. The tables near me also were asked a number of times prematurely if they would like additional drinks. Also, the servers suggested ordering the more expensive dishes like the lobster and shrimp.

Recent reviews on city search have not been good. I hope that someone at Maya reads city search and takes some of those comments to heart. I think this restaurant could be better with a little more attention. We need a restaurant that doesn’t copy cat other dishes and offers alternatives to Tex-Mex.


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