By: Mike DeWitt
With the Metro Cruise filling 28th Street this weekend, we figured it would only be right to pick a restaurant right in the heart of Roger’s Plaza. One restaurant, Maya, jumped out to both Joanne and I as neither of us had been and we were both craving Mexican.
Maya is an authentic Mexican restaurant located in Roger’s Plaza where the old Big Boy used to be, but you wouldn’t know it upon entering. When you walk through the restaurant doors you are transported to another world outside of Roger’s Plaza, the City of Wyoming, and the United States. The restaurant is decorated to feel like Playa del Carmen with authentic chairs and themed paintings filling the walls.
Talk about setting the mood.
Once seated, we were greeted by our wonderful waiter named Reuben and given a basket full of chips and salsa. Reuben was fluent in spanish and quizzed Joanne and I on our own ability to speak to the language… my Spanish teachers from Michigan would’ve been very disappointed in what I’ve retained.
The lunch menu was quite large and very reasonably priced. I ended up choosing lunch item number four – excuse me, numero quatro – which included an enchilada, mini burrito, rice, and refried beans. It was wonderful and quickly filled the hunger building deep inside me. As I finished my last couple of spoonfuls of refried beans, I felt as though my stomach might burst.
Then Joanne thought it would be a good idea to order desert. I was suddenly hungry again.
Okay, so it didn’t quite go like that. Joanne just didn’t decide desert was necessary, it just kind of happened organically. One second we’re talking about churros with Reuben and the next second he’s bringing us both our own massive servings of Chimi Cheese Cake with vanilla ice cream. Reuben claimed he gave us each a half order. I’m telling you right now, if what we were given was a ‘half order’, I actually fear for the person who orders the Chimi Cheese Cake on their own. May you rest in peace.
The Chimi Cheese Cake was top-notch. It was rich cheesecake folded into a deep-fried tortilla and covered in cinnamon, sugar, and drizzled with chocolate and carmel syrup, and I think some saliva just spilled onto my keyboard as I typed this sentence.
Maya had tasty food and a wonderful atmosphere. I will be going back. However, next time it won’t be for work… I hear their margaritas are top-notch.
By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
The transformed space at Maya Mexican Grill literally made me feel like I had walked right into a restaurant in Old San Diego. Orange walls with wicker-style seating and bold black booths made this a place that I wanted to hang…for a while. And Mike and I kind of did, spending about an hour and half enjoying the atmosphere, the food and the company of our waiter, Reuben.
Even though Reuben did mistake Mike as my son, I have to give him a lot of props for making our visit entertaining. He is the kind of waiter you want at any restaurant, funny, informative, attentive and even tried to teach me a little Spanish.
Ever the bargain hunter, I once again zeroed in on the daily lunch specials, which are $6.99 (regular lunch specials start at $7.99). Wednesday’s special is either flautas or two min-burritos. Now I love Mexican food but in all my food adventures, I have not tried a flauta, so I decided to be bold and take the risk. That and Mike had a mini burrito coming with his meal. The flautas are rolled-up tortillas with filling — I had chicken — and then fried. It came with refried beans and rice.
The flautas were perfect, fried to be just crispy enough with the chicken — I tried just the filling — being melt in your mouth delicious. If a Mexican restaurant is going to fail it is with the refried beans, which if canned or processed can taste waxy. Maya’s refried beans easily passed the taste test and went perfectly with the tortilla chips.
So happy with the meal that I asked about churros, which Reuben sadly told us Maya does not offer. It does however have a Chimi Cheese Cake, which Mike and I split. The cinnamon-encrusted chimi — which was deep-fried and accompanied by a scoop of ice cream with sprinkles and drizzled with syrup — was the perfect substitute and took care of my sweet craving.
So Maya has made it to my repeat list mostly because Reuben told us about the restaurant’s “best in town” margaritas. I am all too happy to judge that claim for myself. In fact, Mike and I are planning our return visit to be after the DreamWheels! show Saturday, Aug. 27 from 6 – 7:30 p.m. If you can’t find us, just ask for Reuben’s section as we will be sitting there.
Just a quick note here to say that my dear co-workers were kind enough to bring me some takeout from Maya, and YUM! I really scored big! I normally hang back from participating in these in-person taste tests because, let’s face it, somebody has to work here, right?
I chose the Maya Rolls and I was really glad I did. The blackened chicken breast was cooked and seasoned to perfection, the spinach, sprouts, tomatoes and other veggies rounded out the presentation, and there were even bits of avocado that surprised my taste buds (in a very good way). Dipped into the cajun sauce… sinfully delicious.
And as a tasty bonus, these very same awesome co-workers (who now have a very special place in my heart) had saved me a piece of Chimi Cheese Cake, and I can honestly say that I got high off of that. The high lasted the rest of the afternoon. Well, almost.
I will definitely be checking out Maya Mexican Grill. Can’t wait!