Get your Upper East Side foodie friends and lovers today's deal: $50 worth of modern Mexican cuisine and drinks at Maya Tequila Bar & Lounge for $25. Even the most chile-seasoned veteran of Mexican food will find plenty of surprises on internationally renowned chef Richard Sandoval's menu.
Sandoval brings a revolutionary culinary imagination to his earthy, authentic dinner menu, adding unexpected modern twists to old standards such as chile relleno (three kinds of fresh seafood, gouda cheese, and a drizzle of chile de arbol sauce, $15). Start things off with a little fresh guacamole ($13), roasted corn soup with huitlacoche dumplings ($9), or ensalada de betabel (salad of red and yellow beets, orange, watercress, goat cheese, and candied walnut with a chile ancho-piloncillo glaze, $10).
From there, you can keep things light with one of the entradas, such as ostiones Sandoval (oysters baked with bacon, goat cheese, and black bean-apple salsa, $12) or a two-person assortment of Maya's signature dishes (chile relleno, quesadillas, and tamal al chipotle, $29). The truly macho, however, will want to test their fuertitude on one of the platos fuertes, such as the cordero (lamb shank braised in tomatillo-serrano-pumpkin seed sauce; $28) or the tampiqueña (organic tenderloin) with chile potato gratin, cactus salad, and guacamole ($28).
Even faced with the prospect of an impending shift in global consciousness, we suspect you'll have the common sense to save room for decadent desserts, such as the tres leches bread pudding with chocolate ice cream ($8) and wash it all down with a chocolate-and-cinnamon abuelita ($5) to aid digestion.
In the past, Maya was solely a fine-dining establishment, but after a recent renovation, it now has a tequila bar and lounge that also offers a Mexican-street-food-inspired menu. Munch on tacos al pastor (adobo marinated pork, grilled pineapple, and chopped onion on a corn tortilla) or a tamal de elote (a corn tamale), or get a smoked beef short rib sopa or a torta de carnitas (pork, lettuce, tomato, and black bean).
Beyond Sandoval's innovative modern Mexican cuisine, Maya is also famoso for its cocktail menu, which includes a rainbow of margaritas, sangria, and 100 different tequilas ($11–$36). After a few choice anejos and mezcales, the warm yellow walls start to really glow and that Mayan mask hanging on the wall above your table nook will tell you some pretty funny jokes.
- Chef-owner Richard Sandoval's food transcends the run-of-the-mill stuff served in many other restaurants that claim to be Mexican. – Gayot
- The steak tacos, served with cilantro- and jalapeño-flavored corn tortillas, and the seared scallops with grilled watermelon, are but a few of the standouts on the eclectic menu. – Time Out
- You'll hear the names of several classic, expensive, Midtown Mexicans bandied about, but Maya is far superior to all of them. – New York
- I have never had such innovative Mexican cooking - the food was creative and delicious. We also had top notch margaritas. – mhazen, Citysearch
- Menu was interesting and the food was spectacular. we were wowed by it all. I think the chocolate flan should be considered a controlled substance. – OpenTable.com user, 10/11/2009
- This place is my wife and I's [sic] favorite spot. The dishes are always perfect, and seafood made well. I have entertained many business associates here as well. – Ephren, Urbanspoon
The Wisdom of the Mayans
Scientists and spiritualists alike are quick to agree that the world is, will, and indeed has come to an end on December 21, 2012, when the Mayan “Long Count” calendar comes to an end, and the sun aligns with the center of the Milky Way for the first time in 26,000 years. Much of this certainty comes from the Mayan calendar’s many other accurate predictions:
1896: The horse will become extinct, due to the arrival of superior mechanical carriages that shame them into returning to the sea foam from whence they spawned.
1920: A babe named Ruth will traverse a diamond built of sand without ever leaving home, and encased meats slathered in fermented cabbage will pass for sustenance.
1997: A goddess called Roseanne will be banished from the skies after her nine-year reign, and perennial talent John of the Good Men will wisely gravitate toward a niche of meaty character roles and consistent voice work in children’s media, so sayeth Quetzalcoatl.
2000: The world will end at this time too, except because of computers and junk.
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