Maria's Mexican Bistro
Is it any good? I've heard conflicting reviews. Essentially I'm looking for a good place that's not too staid - something with more ethnic food and relaxed atmosphere than the pricier italian joints that dot 5th avenue. Any suggestions? Thanks so much.
Although many people on this board do not like Maria's, I quite like it. Its pretty much our "go-to" Mexican place in the neighborhood. I find the guacamole to be very good and fresh, the chips nice, and the food in general to be quite tasty. I am a big fan of the "molcajete" dishes they have -- basically their form of a fajita which is cooked in lava rocks. They usually have a "special" which includes new york strip, chicken and cheese as the proteins.
People complain about the service, but again, I have never had any sort of problem. I get the impression that some people on this board are very sensitive about service (take not of a recent thread about Tempo and you'll see what I mean), but I tend to be pretty laid back about such things. As long as I am not waiting an inordinate amount of time between courses, I do not need to be doted over. I tend to find that to be annoying -- just let me eat in peace!
So I would recommend Maria's, and I have never experienced any of the negatives that others on this board have mentioned.
I had the worst delivery experience in my life ordering from Maria's. It took them more than 2.5 hours to deliver food which was, predictably, cold when it got to me. Even worse, I called several times to find out about my order and asked them to confirm that they had the right address and that they had called the delivery guy to make sure he wasn't lost. They did neither. When he got to my place, he showed me the order slip which had the wrong address and told me that he was completely lost because he was looking for a non-existant address. They refused to give me a refund and I ended up paying the delivery guy because I was worried that they would take the money out of his pay if I didn't pay him.
I have written about Pyramide on this board in the past (on 5th and 12th). It's a good Mexican place with some innovative food but I have to say that the fact that it is ALWAYS empty, together with the ill-advised decor, makes meals there a little dreary. Unfortunately, I suspect that it will be anther restaurant that will shut its doors pretty soon. This is too bad because they are earnest folks and trying to win customers with all sorts of specials. Unfortunately, the decor was really a death sentence and, despite the fact that they are in an area that is starved for good dining options (i.e. 5th avenue south of 9th street). If they can't pack it in in the winter when walking up north is unpleasant, then they are in for a lot of trouble come the Spring.
I agree that Maria's tends to get slammed on these boards and I like it quite a lot as well. But the service issues are no joke. It seems that once they expanded they never bothered to increase their wait staff. The last two times I went it took over half an hour to get a menu and another half an hour to get a drink. Another drink ordered mid-meal didn't come until after the check. Don't care about doting, but c'mon!
Go, enjoy the food (I like both the Enchiladas Mi Bandera and the Shrimp Diabla) and please report back on whether the service has improved at all.
Okay food. Nice environment. I went last year and they forgot to add salt to the guacomole. Simple mistake,but come on, you make this how many times a day?
I think, though smaller portions, Los Pollitos is better. And for big cheap dishes try La Tauqeria on 7th and order from the counter.
Re: La Taq. I've been to S. California and, with the exception of one outstanding taqueria in Santa Barbara (one supposedly frequented in days gone by by Julia Child), La Taq's burritos and tacos are better than most.
I have just one complaint: their prices. The prices are no longer posted on the board and just yesterday, I ordered a veggie burrito to go and was charged $9.50.
I swear it was less than eight bucks the last time I was there. Anyone else feel a bit scammed by La Taq's prices lately?
I love Maria's for their fresh guac (ask for it spicy to get jalapenos in it), salmon ceviche, ensalada de peras, cazuela de mariscos, and molcajete. Also, of the specials that regularly show up -- the shrimp, paella, and chocolate jalapeno ice cream are awesome.
Even if you decide not to eat there, I would go to Maria's just for the excellent (strong) house margaritas.