Cafe Maya opened at Jefferson and Tyler last December, and I’ve eaten there several times since then, but I never wrote about it because everything I had was so-so at best.
But Cafe Maya kept coming up because it is so popular. I figured it was the restaurant’s $1 margarita night on the first Tuesday of every month (next one is Sept. 4), coupled with the super friendly and professional staff that made everyone seem to fall in love with the place. I just couldn’t get into the food.
But then, in the pouring rain Saturday, I decided I needed tacos and a margarita. So I parked my car at a meter on Jefferson, filled my shoes with water at the curb and sloshed up to the bar with wet hair and dress.
I ordered the cucumber-melon margarita. The bartender muddled a few chunks of honeydew with one slice of fresh jalapeño, mixed it with agave nectar, Epsolon tequila and lime juice, and served it with a cucumber slice floating on top. Compared to the price of fancy cocktails at other Oak Cliff restaurants, this $8 drink is a pretty good deal. It’s a cool and tasty cocktail that finishes with the satisfying burn of the jalapeño.
I also ordered crispy carnitas tacos, $2.50 each. They were excellent with a little squeeze of lime and habanero salsa, which is available upon request and much, much better than the weak sauce that comes with the chips. The meat is slow-cooked and then fried crispy, and the palm-sized tacos come with big spoonfuls of guacamole. Now I get it.