Texas is known for Tex-Mex and Mexican cuisine. Meso Maya serves up some of the best, with delicious authentic cuisine and great drinks in Dallas.
In my 9 years at Oklahoma State, I’ve attended 8 of the 9 bowl games. For the first 7 years it was a lot more work than fun. I was at the bowl site anywhere from 4-7 days, and my job was coordinating events and activities for our fans. Last year I didn’t go to the bowl at all–which ended up being fine with me. Although the game was in Phoenix, it was in an outdoor stadium, and it was about 35 degrees at kickoff. My friends and I were at a watch party in Stillwater, warm and comfy. This year was the first time since 2001 that I went to the bowl completely as a fan. No work, responsibilities, alarm clock, or “I’ll meet you later” to my friends. It didn’t take long for me to get used to that.
My parents are big fans of the bowl trips as well. They went with me to Maryland’s bowl games when I worked there, and have been to 4 of the OSU bowl games. My original plan was to fly to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl last month. However, my mom wanted to spend Christmas in Oklahoma, so we drove. We left early Tuesday morning, to hit Dallas in time for lunch, and therefore make it to Lafayette early in the evening. In April I visited Meso Maya with Joni & Tony, and absolutely loved it. However, my pictures were not good, so this was a perfect opportunity to fix that.
Meso Maya has 2 locations in Dallas, and we visited the location in the heart of downtown, the same location as my first visit. The parking lot is in the rear of the building, and services Meso Maya and El Fenix next door. I love the vibrant, detailed wall mural on the back of the building.
Taqueria La Ventana is the patio restaurant behind Meso Maya, and it serves street tacos, churros, burritos, margaritas, and cervezas. I’m sure during the summer it is a hot spot, especially in the evening. It is part of Meso Maya, but I like that it has its own name and identity.
As you walk in the front door of Meso Maya there is a small waiting area and host stand. Behind the host stand is the bar seating area, as well as a large bar with an open kitchen behind it. There is also seating at the bar. The main dining room is divided into 2 sections, and then there’s also an open courtyard that has “patio” seating.
I love that they engraved the wooden bottles! I tried, but pictures just don’t do them justice. You have to see them for yourself.
We arrived at 11AM, and were the first guests in the door. The servers were in the midst of their pre-opening meeting, and the manager held the entire meeting in Spanish. Big clue this place is authentic.
Meso Maya is open for lunch & dinner, weekend brunch, and they also participate in Restaurant Week. The Meso Maya menu is quite large, and features appetizers, soups, salads, tacos, enchiladas, boudin Azteca, entrees, specials, sides, desserts, and beverages. Of course, chips and salsa are first.
The chips are warm, and a thicker cut than at many other restaurants. They are really delicious. The salsa has quite a kick, much more than I remembered from my first visit. The salsa is also quite a bit thicker than other places, and has a lot more flavor. I think they use roasted veggies. Whatever it is, it adds a great depth of flavor. We also got an order of queso fundido. Last visit we had it with the chorizo; my parents are vegetarian, so we went plain this time.
The queso was creamy and delicious. Since the salsa has such a kick, my dad mixed it with the queso to cool it down. As usual, my dad and I devoured the chips. My mom has a lot more self control, and only had a few.
Our server came to check on us a lot…more so than many other restaurants. At first it was a little annoying, but he was very friendly about it. He was also very knowledgeable about the dishes and gave good recommendations. Besides, since it was so empty when we arrived he probably just had more time.
My mom went with the Boudin Azteca with veggies. I had it on my last visit with beef tenderloin, and it was outstanding. So when our server recommended it to my mom, I chimed in as well.
Boudin Azteca is like a Mexican lasagna, with layers of tortillas and cheese. It is absolutely overflowing with vegetables–you can barely even see the lasagna on the plate. I tried a bite, and it was delicious. The sauce is very light, yet full of flavor, which is a great contrast to more dense lasagna.
My dad went with the veggie enchiladas
I tasted a bite and it was really good. The sauce is light, and the tortillas are stuffed with vegetables.
After some back and forth, I went with the brisket enchiladas
The only slight negative to my dish was that the food was only warm, not hot. You could see the steam coming off my mom’s dish, and my dad’s enchiladas were hot. So maybe they made mine first. But otherwise, it was fantastic. The flavors of the enchiladas work so well together, and the brisket is extremely tender. I don’t know what they season it with, but it is really good. I had never heard of guajillo chilis, but they add beautiful color and deep flavor.
The enchiladas, tacos, and several entrees are served with white rice. Rice is typically very plain, so I was pleasantly surprised with Meso Maya’s very flavorful version. Our server said that the rice is cooked with butter and onions. I need to try that the next time I cook rice, because it adds tons of flavor. I was full from my own meal, but when I saw that my dad wasn’t eating his rice I still asked if he planned to finish his. He ate the rice, which was good for both of us. I wasn’t a huge fan of the beans, but my dad really liked them.
I grew up eating a lot of plantains, and my mom always fried them for me. So when I saw that they had sweet plantains as a side, of course I had to order some
The thick-cut and lightly sauteed plantains have a really good flavor. This is my favorite cooking method, so I was very happy. I love the presentation in the cast iron pan, and I believe the cheese on top is cojito.
I had never heard of people splitting checks until I moved to Oklahoma. Maybe they do it in other places, but I’ve never noticed it. We just always broke up the bill ourselves. And maybe now it’s more of a universal thing.
I love this! They not only break it out per person, but they also break out the tax. There are so many businesses in downtown Dallas, and lots of people eat out for lunch regularly. Meso Maya may have started doing this due to all the requests for split checks, or maybe they figured it out ahead of the curve. Whatever it is, more restaurants should do this. I’m sure it’s just a simple program in the register.
As I mentioned earlier, we were the first guests in the building. By the time we left, the restaurant was completely full. This is definitely a hot spot for people working at local businesses, as you could see their work ID tags. I’m sure many of the nearby restaurants are the same way.
I am a huge fan of Meso Maya. I’d be lying if I said I have to visit every trip, because there are literally hundreds of restaurants in Dallas that I need to try. But when I’m downtown and craving good Mexican, Meso Maya will be it.
For reviews of more restaurants in the Dallas area, click on the photos below!