Chef Richard Sandoval is no stranger to the New York City restaurant scene, having owned and operated restaurants Savann, Savann Est., Pampano, and Zengo over the past nearly 20 years. Maya, which received two stars from The New York Times in 2011, is a tequileria that calls upon Sandoval’s childhood in his grandmother’s kitchen in Mexico City, and it's a lively place to spend two hours on a weekend taking in their bottomless brunch.
Here’s how it works: $43 (before tax and tip) gets you two hours at a table during which the friendly staff, who’re well-acquainted with the menu, assist you in ordering as many small delicious plates and a variety of cocktails as possible. While at some other establishments, this set up yields an unruly atmosphere and an experience that often leaves one frazzled and still hungry, Maya’s bottomless brunch hits all the right notes as the kitchen is fast yet precise, and the staff is calm and well trained.
Though every dish we tried had some merit, highlights include succulent barbacoa tacos (lamb for breakfast is a must), the cheesy squash blossom quesadilla that is pleasantly toothsome due to corn in the filling, and the pan dulce — a kind of Mexican take on French toast with chipotle cajeta, Nutella, bananas, and whipped crema fresca — that’s sweet but stops just shy of cloying.
Make sure to order the sides of chipotle bacon and “Mexico City-style corn on the cob” (better known as elote), and while choosing from the eight morning time cocktails can be difficult, you’re probably best off ordering the traditional Margarita that’s made with tequila Blanca and served on the rocks, or the signature Maya mimosa that’s a blend of champagne, blood orange puree, and passion fruit puree.
Maya is ideal for brunch if you’re a part of a larger-than-average-sized group, or if you would like to enjoy a modern Mexican brunch in a jovial atmosphere. They serve bottomless brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, and no pressure if you’re not into booze in the morning (or any time) — bottomless food is available for just $30 (before tax and tip).