Maya Modern Mexican Kitchen & Tequilaria kicks fare up a notch
Special to the Daily
Editor’s note: This article was previously published as a paid feature in EAT, a compendium of restaurant snapshots featuring the best in Vail Valley dining. Look for it on newsstands everywhere.
AVON — Though Maya is tucked inside The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, this modern Mexican kitchen is no normal resort hotel restaurant. It’s a destination in itself, known for a buzzing, tequila-fueled bar scene and for cuisine inspired by celebrity chef Richard Sandoval.
Guacamole and tequila cocktails are a must-do start at Maya. Served tableside-style, the guac comes in four varieties — traditional, bacon, crab or the standout tuna tartare, garnished with piquant fresno peppers, chipotle aioli and crunchy jicama strips.
With more than 100 varieties of tequila available at Maya, the drink menu reads like a tome, but a specialty margarita list makes it easy to choose from among the best. The prickly pear margarita is a mellow and balanced choice, with cactus-juice-infused tequila and citrus, neither too sour nor too sweet.
Try a few small plates before moving on to the main course to get more of Maya’s flavor. Creative tacos come in threes, stuffed with pork belly or carne asada or grilled mahi mahi. The Calamari Azteca also works well as a shared appetizer: chili ancho-crusted calamari rings served with mango salsa, ginger lime aioli and blood orange chipotle.
Go ahead and indulge
Among Maya’s entrees, the shrimp and crab enchiladas are a special treat, stuffed with lump crab, shrimp, roasted poblano pepper, corn and creamy mascarpone cheese, topped with a roasted tomatillo sauce. And this is your chance to try the signature slow-roasted pork carnitas adorned with avocado puree, requeson cheese, blue corn tortilla, black beans and a pickled vegetable citrus salsa.
“The ingredients that go into this style of food are naturally accommodating for people with food allergies or sensitivities,” says Kevin Delonay, Maya’s food and beverage director and former executive chef. “Nearly all of our menu is gluten free, and we’re also vegetarian friendly.”
Maya’s melding of the modern and traditional continues beyond dinner and into dessert. Of course, you’ll find Mexican fried ice cream here for an after-dinner indulgence, but the Spanish coffee and caramel crepes provide a decidedly decadent way to end a meal at Maya.