First Look at Meso Maya in Plano

Purple is the color of fine Mexican food—at least, it’s the signature color of the new West Plano location of Meso Maya, opening at 4800 West Park Boulevard on September 25. This high-end, authentic Central and Southern Mexican restaurant is housed inside a purple building, and it features a lively atmosphere, specialty food and handcrafted drinks unlike anything you’ve tasted this side of the border.

“People like food in Plano,” said Hugo Miranda, director of emerging brands at Meso Maya. “The area for our new location is amazing, and the people here appreciate what we do. Our kitchen is labor-intensive, and many of our ingredients are made from scratch, including the sauces and the tortillas, which take 18 hours to make. Another reason we wanted to bring Meso Maya to Plano is because many Plano people come to our other locations, so we wanted to bring the restaurant closer to them.”

Meso Maya’s signature purple color can be found on the booths // photos Jennifer Shertzer

Step inside to see the open concept of the restaurant, complete with a 360-degree view of the bar, windows to the kitchen, outdoor porch and spacious dining room. If you’ve dined at one of the other Meso Maya locations in North Texas before, you will recognize elements of each restaurant incorporated in the décor. The windows from Preston Forest, the arches from Dallas, the open kitchen from Lakewood and the pictures on the wall from Tanglewood. In the back, you will find beautiful purple booths, a new touch that is unique to this location.

Meso Maya’s Cochinita Pibil features yucatan-style braised pork in a tangy achiote sauce, served with pickled red onions and habanero salsa

Lucky guests will love sitting in one of the booths near the wall of windows in the center of the restaurant, where you can peek into the kitchen during your meal. “You can eat a tortilla, while watching someone make more at the same time,” said Hugo. “People love seeing tortillas being rolled by hand, steak and fish sizzling on the grill, and food being prepared right in front of them.”

Booth seating lines the glass windows to the kitchen

Each meal starts with chips and a dark, mildly spicy salsa that is hard to resist. My table ordered the chicharrones appetizer first, which is Berkshire pork jaw chicharrones served with salsa verde and queso de rancho and handmade white corn tortillas on the side. The salty pork and sweet tortillas made for a surprisingly good combination, and with four people sharing, it was gone way too fast!

The menu features a nice variety of choices – everything from tacos and enchiladas to more intricately prepared dishes led by Executive Chef Nico Sanchez. Before coming to the United States and becoming an award-winning chef, Chef Nico perfected his cooking skills while growing up in Central Mexico. He uses fresh ingredients and incorporates his own flavor into each dish he serves, making it authentic and unique at the same time.

Herradura Salmon with charred Brussels sprouts

Chef Nico has highlighted his favorite meals on the menu, including Herradura Salmon served with charred Brussels sprouts; Chile Relleno, which is a cheese-stuffed roasted poblano pepper served with pork carnitas, avocado and rice and beans; and Pollo Con Mole, a tasty, hard-seared chicken breast. Come back for dinner for even more entrée options or on weekend mornings for a special brunch menu.

When we had a little trouble narrowing down our choices, our waiter proved to be extremely helpful in explaining what each dish was and recommending dishes to try. When our food arrived, it looked as delicious as it tasted. Mexican food doesn’t typically look “pretty,” but the spicy, orange mole sauce, sweet, light pink pickled onions, roasted, brown chicken and creamy, yellow plantains on my plate of Pollo Con Mole was one of the most Instagram-worthy Mexican dishes I’ve ever had. And the presentation was just part of the appeal—the bold flavors are enough to light a fire inside your mouth (in a good way) until they can be washed down by a smooth margarita.

If you are as picky about your margaritas as I am, Meso Maya will exceed your expectations again. “We call our bar the liquid kitchen because everything is made with recipes, many with special ingredients from the kitchen,” explained Hugo. “For example, we make guacamole in the kitchen and an avocado margarita in the bar.”

Meso Maya’s Avocado Margarita is the first cocktail you should order

Thinking you’d rather eat your avocados than drink them? Think again. The fresh muddled avocado in the delightful Avocado Margarita is subtle, but it creates a nice balance for the stronger flavors of the freshly squeezed pineapple and lime juice and the Casa Noble Crystal tequila. Also, the spicy crushed peppers and wedge of pineapple around the rim created a wonderful blend of sweet and spicy.

A few bites of the most amazing chocolate cake garnished with sliced strawberries and a cold scoop of vanilla ice cream was the perfect end to our meal. If you aren’t a huge chocolate fan, flan made with sugar cane caramel and dark rum whipped cream or a skillet-backed blueberry cake with vanilla ice cream are also available.

Take your significant other on a date, celebrate with friends or bring your whole family out to eat at Meso Maya this week. Regular hours will be Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Make your reservations in advance because it is sure to fill up quickly. You’ll leave the restaurant slightly buzzed, a little too full and already planning your next visit!

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