Maya Modern Mexican Kitchen & Tequilaría |

Maya Modern Mexican Kitchen & Tequilaría

Tianguis quesadilla with pork carnitas, avocado, and habanero slaw. | May Modern Mexican Kitchen & Tequilaria | EAT Magazine Summer 2016
Justin Q. McCarty |

$15 to $30 for just about everything
High-energy tequileria; colorful and comfortable
Signature dish
Enchiladas and tacos, as well as the table-made guacamole
¡Claro que sí!

126 Riverfront Lane, Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa | Avon | 970.790.5500 |

Maya is far from your typical run-of-the-mill vanilla hotel restaurant. The “modern Mexican kitchen” in the Westin Riverfront Hotel & Spa has vast windows that draw the eye up to Beaver Creek Mountain and the hand-made Mexican tiles surrounding the bar add to the south-of-the-border appeal — and encourage a tequila tasting at the bar.

The round deep-seated booths beckon for an extended stay. Settle in for a nibble that tempts your palate with boldly interesting Mexican combinations on the robust menu.

And know that Chef Kevin Delonay keeps an eye on the restaurant even on his days off. “Whenever I have family or friends visiting the Vail Valley, I always bring them in to Maya for dinner. It is a great way to experience everything and see it from the other side, which is important,” he says.

Maya is a Chef Richard Sandoval restaurant, and Chef Delonay was promoted to executive chef two years ago, creating the sumptuous masterpieces the restaurant is known for.

Upon settling in to one of the high-backed booths, the most pressing decision is which margarita will start the evening. The list is lengthy with interesting twists — a fresh fruit margarita for a summery afternoon or the popular Agavero. The bar boasts more than 100 agave-based spirits and house-infused tequilas.

When in Mexico — enjoy guacamole: When the avocado-laden cart rolls up, you know you’re in for a treat. All the food is prepared in-house — so fresh that the guacamole is made tableside exactly to your liking: spicy, chunky, smooth or salty; there’s the unusual bacon option or even tuna tartare. The chips are handmade right in the kitchen — it’s a challenge not to over-nosh on them before dinner arrives.

“We do make all of our own tortillas for the tacos and mole dishes. They are made with Maseca and masa harina,” the chef reveals. “I love making different tortillas and also exploring the many uses of the traditional masa.”

The pork carnitas — hard-shell tacos with just a drizzle of chile pulla sauce and one decadent slice of avocado — starts the meal on a perfect note… not too spicy, not at all heavy and something that wakes up the tastebuds. Expect the carnitas and six to eight new appetizers this summer.

The menu ranges with offerings of tacos, especialidades and enchiladas. The huitlacoche and wild mushroom enchilada is a savory, rich vegetarian option — even the meat-aficionado at the table will love. Huitlacoche, a mushroom found on corn, gives a lovely lingering flavor.

The carne asada, marinated in achiote, served with black bean puree and a smooth, creamy chile pulla sauce, is tender enough to cut with a butter knife. Save room, though, because dessert is a must: fried ice cream (pistachio, vanilla and cajeta with chocolate-drizzled bananas and whipped cream) to tres leches and chocolate decadence. There’s nothing rustic here; take your time to savor each modern Mexican bite.

Weekends are special at Maya. Don’t miss the wildly popular and excellent people-watching FAC, where locals and visitors flock to the expansive outdoor patio. On Saturdays, seasonal seafood, sides and live music are part of the $20 Summer Seafood Boil. Sunday evening pool parties at the Laps Pool Bar bring a bit of glamour to the mountains.

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