First Look

La Ventana and a Second Meso Maya are Now Open Downtown (Photos)

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Inside, the place is rustic Mayan chic. Brick, iron, stucco and wood are accented by bold colors like orange, green and brown that give the space a classy-festive feel. But don't you dare forget to walk outside. An oasis surrounded by the cold metal and gray cement of downtown Dallas, the strings of lights that crisscross Meso Maya's beautiful interior courtyard are sure to make every day feel like a fiesta.

There's a lot on the menu worthy of celebration, namely Spanish, Chilean and Argentinian wines ($7-$15/glass and $28-$56/bottle), margaritas featuring additions like avocado, mango or serrano peppers ($7-$12), and cocktails like the Mexican Martini and Mexican Mule ($6-$12). Start your meal off with a traditional 3-cheese queso fundido ($8.5), chicharrones served with queso poblano and brisket adobado ($8.5), or a simple sopa de lima ($5 a cup, $10 a bowl). Entradas ($17-23) like the pollo con mole and the carne Oaxaca are ones I've tasted at the first location and highly recommend. Others I can't wait to dig into, like the pato al pasilla with pan roasted duck breast, real blue corn tiacoyo, nopalitos and a smoky dark pasilla broth. Each entrée's ingredients read like poetry. I don't know what huachinango is, but it had me at calabacitas, guajillo and hoja santa sauce.

Desserts like the caprirotada (Mexican bread pudding) or pastel de chocolate range from $4 to $8. Can't decide what to order? Ask for the Chef's Cinco Platos: five tasting courses for $35 (available for dinner Thursday through Saturday). The lunch menu is similar to the dinner one, adding tortas and tostaditas to the mix.

On a personal note, I can't wait to get my hands on bury my face in Meso Maya's signature yellow-orange salsa, which will now be in close proximity to both my home and office. That's news worthy of any of Meso Maya's roughly 46 varieties of house and premium tequila. Salúd!

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