a b c Maya

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1191 First Ave.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of his first New York restaurant, Richard Sandoval went all out. The space was expanded and redesigned to create a convivial place for relaxing and enjoying conversation and good food with friends. There are lounge areas, banquettes, and a communal table. The new Tequilaria Maya is happy hour central, and 100 different tequilas are available. Should you choose to own a bottle, you can rent a storage locker for future visits. Another recent addition is the weekend “bottomless margarita brunch.”

Sandoval’s love of whimsy and combining new flavors shows in the four house guacamoles for the table. Try the one with diced tuna tartare mixed with serrano, chipotle, and sesame seeds, and served with wonton chips (rather than tortilla chips) for a lighter crunch. Don’t pass up the Smoked Brisket Taco topped with a creamy chile slaw, pickled onion, and avocado. There’s a delicious Enchilada with huitlacoche and wild mushroom, roasted garlic, cheese, and poblano chile sauce. A signature entrée is Lobster and Shrimp Yucatan served on a long, elegant plate with creamed corn, watercress, chile de arbal sauce, and habanera rouille. Maya’s revamped menu includes more family-style dishes to share, such as the Cazuelas (Mexican slow braises). The Beef Short Ribs version is drop-dead delicious in a tamarind mole with root vegetables, black beans, and rice. Each component is placed in its own dish on a tray so you can serve and dish out as much or as little as you like. Dinner daily 5 to 10pm, later on weekends; Tequilaria until midnight; brunch on weekends from 11am to 3pm. -- Marian Betancourt

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