Maya Mexican Grill & Tequila Lounge 
We knew Plaza Guadalajara had closed. It was a decent spot to catch a bite to eat, but it was too similar to the ten other family style Mexican places you had to pass to get to it. Last month we stopped into a new FLGS and we were surprised to see a restaurant had risen from the ashes of Guadalajara. Last week we went back to the FLGS and made a stop in at Maya Mexican Grill & Tequila Lounge with 52L regulars Chuck and Wayne.
Maya is not another family style Mexican place. It is the same poor location. Tucked into a shopping center that is screened by other shopping centers off of Pouncey Tract. The menu and interior however, endeavor to put a contemporary twist on the traditional Mexican most Richmonders have come to expect. Dark woods and open space coupled with dishes that seem familiar, but dabble with upscale ingredients.
All great in theory, but the promise was slowly whittled away by the reality. The music in a restaurant is rarely noticed by either of us. Maya plays Latin American pop though and plays it loud. The volume of which came up in conversation during lunch on three different occasions. The staff was friendly, quickly taking our drink and food orders and returning often to refill, but we waited nearly 30 minutes for our meals to arrive. On a day were Maya was barely at 25% of it’s capacity.
Ethan ordered three tacos (Sirloin, Ancho Chicken, Carnitas) all with a pineapple salsa. They tasted fine, but they were delivered at room temperature. Chuck had the Torta, which also had good flavors, but was not hot and had been allowed to sit long enough for the lower bun to turn into a sponge. It fell apart after one bite. I lucked out with the Chipotle Rubbed Skirt Steak. It arrived piping hot and was served with grilled pineapple, Spanish rice, well seasoned black beans, guacamole and fried plantains. Every bit of it was delicious.
My meal left me slightly optimistic, but I saw disappointment in my compatriots eyes. Whether it was opening month jitters or poor execution on a good idea, Maya squandered its potential on the day we visited. With prices that are slightly above average for a West End lunch and a poor location they’ll need to fire on all cylinders to stay afloat in Short Pump. It is my sincere hope that they do, but it won’t be by my recommendation or repeating patronage.
Lunch topics: BioShock Infinite, Far Cry 3, Tomb Raider, G.I. Joe: COBRA, Unreal Engine and Epic‘s future, Game of Thrones beer, comic pricing, Gears of War: Judgment, “Crom laughs at your
Five Rings Four Winds”, Army of TWO The Devil’s Cartel