Situated behind a black unmarked door lies a bi-level hidden tequila lair in the E. Village, Mayahuel.
Brought to you by the men behind Death + Company, you can expect a similiar ambiance; dimly lit nooks and candlelit tables aka – a perfect date spot. I mean, what’s not to expect from a restaurant named after the goddess of fertility?
In true Death + Co. style, Mayahuel does not accept reservations, and also has a restaurant “door man” standing outside taking names and phone numbers to call you when a table does open. I’ve only been a couple times, both of which required little to no wait.
When you do get a table, be prepared to scour a menu largely occupied by tequila & mezcal cocktails. Make sure to bring your inner lush because this menu has more pages devoted to libations than to food.
This was clearly a non-issue for my friends and I as we proceeded to order 2 pitchers of the Pilot Punch upon being seated:
Pilot Punch: Blanco tequila, jalapeno (love spicy drinks), yellow chartreuse (brandy & aromatic herbs), lime with a hint of cucumber & mint. Yeah we started with 2, but ended with 4.
The food menu however should not be overlooked. Mayahuel actually has some great tasting plates to share. And bonus, the restaurant only serves corn tortillas, which means if you’re gluten-free you’re in luck.
I avoided anything labeled crispy or fried and was easily able to order food I could eat (confirmed by our waitress as GF):
Chips + Guac/Salsa: The waitress said the chips were GF but I didn’t want to risk any same-fryer-cross-contamination (SFCC) before a night out so I went sans chips and just put the guac/salsa on other dishes. The guac was teeny, but good. The dark salsa tasted like BBQ salsa – interesting & unexpected.
Fried Plantains: These were a special that night. Clearly not edible by me but I’m sure they tasted great. How could anything fried not? If you are GF and looking for plantains, you can order the Sweet Plantains (GF): w/ agave and crema fresca. They were out of these that night.
Ceviche de Atun (GF), tuna marinated in mezcal, served over crisp plantains & coconut/avocado mousse: Although I was told the crispy plantains were also GF, I carefully ate around them just in case. The avocado mousse wasn’t too flavorful – which is where the spicy salsa came in to play.
Chilaquiles (GF), crispy tortillas baked w/ chihuahua, & cotija cheese w/ salsa verde: The only thing I could think of while I ate this dish was how come I never knew about chilaquiles? Seriously – it’s like a melted nacho casserole smothered in cheese & topped with shredded chicken (or another protein if you choose). So good & so definitely not good for you
Tostados (GF) w. chicken , chorizo & steak: These were another special of the night. They came over fried corn tortillas. Since we ordered more than one plate I asked for the other order over non-fried tortillas to be safe. More or less another play on tacos/nachos. What’s not to love.
There were several other options to choose from [tacos, tamales, salads, ceviche]. I didn’t have a chance to actually compile a GF menu, but they seem pretty knowledagble should you just ask.
While nothing was set in stone as far as being cross contaminated (SFCC), I did eat some of the fried things and felt ok in the morning.
Regardless, who feels good after a night of Mexican food & tequila any way?
Pros: Chilaquiles and tequila.
Cons: Doesn’t take reservations.