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May 17, 2009 01:01 PM

Awesome Arepas and Pupusas hit Commack!

Stopped by this New latino restaurant in Commack called Maize Cantina. Saw a post in Newsday and thought I would check it out. They serve tradional pupusas and arepas in a non traditional way. Pupusas can be served tradtional (with slaw and spicy tomato sauce) or they have others like "El Cluck" Roasted chicken chipotle hashbrowns, pickled onions, melted jack cheese. That one was very tasty. We also liked the La Mer Arepa which was stuffed with mexican shrimp, preserved tomatoes, avocado, and crsipy plantains. Their was a lot of items to choose from. The Maize de Cantina app was delicious. Chargrilled corn with chipotle lime butter, cotija cheese and cilantro. Haven't seen food like this on the Island until now. Will be going back very soon, especially since the highest price on the menu was $10.50 (skirt steak dish on pupusa end).

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  1. Totally agree!! My husband and I went there a couple of weeks ago and loved it. We had a great salad with beets (and I never liked beets before), an arepa with chicken, and a pupusa. All were delicious, but the salad and arepa were exceptional. They didn't have a liquor license yet, so they were giving out free strawberry daquiris. A lot of people brought their own wine or beer. I highly recommend it!

    1. Sounds great. Is it a sit down restaurant or take out? Where in Commack is it?

      4 Replies
        1. re: emarcus

          Thank you. Will have to try it.

          1. re: emarcus

            Need to try this place -- sounds very interesting. But you are so right about the location. Nothing has suceeded there -- it's very difficult to see from the road. I have a feeling you need a "destination" restaurant in that space (how about, "Kitchen, A Commack Location"?).

            1. re: sbp

              Yes it is located in a difficult spot. but the food speaks for itself! hopefully the word will get out about this place . I took my family of four to dinner there this past weekend. all I have to say is OMG!!! the portions were huge. the prices were fantastic!! wait staff very attentive and friendly!! and in the hard economy that we live in , to be able to go out to dinner leave very full , statisfied, and come home with doggy bags for under 50.00 is major plus in my checkbook!! LOL . Kudos to you MAIZE CANTINA!! I look forward to visiting you again. My kids are still talking about that HUGE plate of nachos mixtos!

        2. Dang! Tried to go today (Sunday) and it was closed. Supposed to be open Sundays, looks like they closed for Memorial Day weekend. No sign on the door, which didn't help.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sbp

            Checked it out Saturday night for dinner with 3 friends. Still BYOB until they get license but they did give us a free margarita! The quality and freshness was unbelievable for the price. Baja Grill can learn a few things from Maize Cantina! Chef has a major resume-which is evident in the food. He also mentioned he was adding several new soft tacos to menu after memorial day. Recommend the El Griego Arepa with lemon chicken, feta, spinach and an delicious chile yogurt sauce. We also loved the yucca in the nachos mixtos and the homemade sals. FYI- the pupasa and arepas are gluten free,

            1. re: beans08

              Can't wait to try it. Baja Grill has been going downhill for 5 years, at least. I won't even go there anymore. I actually walked in with the family around 2pm once, we were the only people there except for a table of four playing cards. No one came to give us menus, drinks, anything. After 15 minutes, we got up to leave -- then one of the people playing cards asked if we wanted a menu!

              1. re: sbp

                just curious, are pupusas and arepas generally gluten free, or does this restaurant make a special effort?

          2. Wow! Just ate there with the family. Excellent both in conception and execution. Everything is clearly made to order -- and with care. The chef really pays attention to details.

            The little things done right -- the Corn with chipotle butter/cotija, for example, was nicely browned, giving it that popcorn aroma and slighlty caramelized bite. The cotija added a
            great touch, too, like sprinkling parmigiano on grilled vegetables.

            The pupusas and arepas were perfectly grilled, retaining a crunchy surface, but tender and flavorful inside. I was intially apprehensive about a pupusa/arepa based menu, since they can be like lead hockey pucks, but these were hearty without being heavy.

            I had the El Cluck pupusa and an El Rey arepa (shredded beef, fried yucca chips, black beans). I know, it was more than I could eat, but I wanted to try one of each. Both the pupusas and arepas are basically thick masa tortillas (or maybe more coarsely ground cornmeal -- had a more "grits" like texture than a masa taco tortilla). The arepas are griddled plain, then split and stuffed with the menu choice. The pupusas are filled with beans and cheese or pork/cheese, etc. prior to griddling, then topped withe menu choice.

            We also split churros for dessert. Comes with a scoop of chocolate ice cream and a little bowl of melted chocolate (and a nicely intense chocolate at that).

            Looking forward to returning. It's different and good.

            4 Replies
            1. re: sbp

              Going back for another meal with the family tomorrow night. Their review came out in Newsday today. Now I hope I can still get a table at this little gem in commack! I have been craving a pupusa. The free margarita is a definate plus. Will report back.

              1. re: cia93

                We went back last weekend. The remolacha salad is one of the best salads I've ever had. Perfect combination of flavors, and the lemon vinaigrette was very lemony. Our waiter was a bit lost (no salsa with the chips, forgot the sodas), but still a delicious and inexpensive dinner. And the Clipper advertising mag that came in the mail even had a buy one get one entree coupon!!

                1. re: sbp

                  Wow, who read the review! They got it right on target. Have been back a few times since my last posting and have enjoyed everything. Did not have any issues with my server, but they were quite busy when I went on Saturday afternoon. Check out the specials next time you are in, very nice pulled pork arepa.

                  1. re: beans08

                    One thing the review got wrong: the hours of operation. They're closed on Mondays (something I discovered only after a 45 mile round-trip drive)

            2. Went with companion and had one "tasting menu" and one pupusa with the works. Also, free margaritas. Great salad, really good salmon dish and awesome rice pudding. Got the bean & cheese pupusas with garlic brown beans...very filling. Happy to find out the chef/owner uses some produce from Rottkamp Farm and he's all about gluten free. Will be back and am spreading the word. However, it did make me want to go to the Red Hook ballfields (or wherever the vendors have gone that were at the Red Hook ballfields...Brooklyn Flea/Coney Island).

              5 Replies
              1. re: sjz

                I am planning to get take out tomorrow for dinner, since I'll be in the area in the afternoon (hope they're open at lunchtime). I will report back!

                1. re: sjz

                  Yes -- SPREAD THE WORD. This is the kind of little gem of a place that lasts for about a year because of it's location and the fact that it's menu is off the beaten path. Let's not let this place fail and get replaced by another red-sauce Italian joint (which I like, but on Long Island we have 1 for every 3 people).

                  1. re: sbp

                    I was googling them to get their address and saw they have on line coupons: 1 free entree with the purchase of another entree and a beverage. That's gilding the lily!

                    1. re: coll

                      I don't want to cast this as a hard-and-fast rule, but it's usually not a very good sign when a restaurant starts putting out coupons.

                      1. re: Scott_R

                        That's probably true when a place has been in business for some time but I would venture to say it's a grand opening draw to get people in to try the food. with so many restaurnats to choose from we all look for deals. Didn't know they have a tasting menu as well. I'll be going tomorrow and will report back!