Inside Mayahuel's unmarked door lies a dimly lit, bi-level dungeon of potential naughtiness. It's paradise for a those who love tequila and is extremely dangerous for those whose stomachs don't agree with it. Mayahuel is another one of those sexy Specialty Cocktail dens that have helped to reshape Date Night here in NYC. Trying to get your date liquored up so you can do dirty things to him/her? Mayaheul isn't a bad place to start. They don't take reservations, but in each of our three visits we've been seated promptly. It can definitely get busy during prime time though, so plan accordingly. The booths in the front by the bar are the best tables- swipe one of those if it's an option instead of being upstairs, which is a little stuffy.
While Mayahuel's main focus is on concocting smoky mezcal and smooth tequila libations, there's also a full menu of impressive Mexican EATS to pair with them. This isn't the spot for a quick taco fix and a Modelo; there's already plenty of that to choose from in the East Village. However, it's the perfect venue to impress your new squeeze with stories of the old college glory days in Cancun. Just don't go overboard, this might not be the memory you want to relive. (Photo credit, yours truly. Taken on the lawn in front of The Oasis Cancun. Ithaca College Spring Break, March 2000. Nicole, if you see this, I apologize. It was just too perfect).
Here's my general knowledge base when it comes to tequila: Patron=good, Cuervo=projectile vomit. Whenever I actually drink a good tequila, I can never remember its name the next morning; a sign of a good night. One of Mayahuel's main attractions are tequila flight tastings- definitely try one of these. If you dig smooth, go with the Tequila Valley. Among others, some of our favorite cocktails included the Whoopsy Daisy (Blanco Tequila, Joven Mezcal, Pomegranate Molasses & Lime), Pilot Punch (Blanco Tequila, Jalapeño, Yellow Chartreuse, Lime, Cucumber, Mint), Spicy Paloma (Jalapeño Tequila with Lime, Soda & Salted Rim) and El Jimador's Shifty (Pineapple Infused Mezcal with Lime, Sugar Cane, Negra Modelo with Spiced Salt Rim). If you dig tequila, you can't really go wrong.
Chips served with a chunky, oniony guacamole, smoked tomato salsa and salsa verde. Your table obviously needs this.Croquetas
Get the chorizo and cheese smoked tomato. Gooey and delicious - you won't be sorry.Quesadilla
For $10, this is a serious helping of food and an excellent dish to split as it comes in neat quarters, stacked up for easy sharing. We tried both the regular quesadilla with papaya mango salsa (best part) and the special, which was goat cheese and mushroom. Both were solid.Sweet Plantains
Standard. Nothing too exciting to see here. Although, we won't dissuade you from ordering them, they weren't awesome.Tuna Ceviche
Very impressive plating here, check it out. The raw tuna is actually marinated in mezcal, and then served over a crown of crisp plantains and coconut avocado mousse. My complaint with this dish is that is pretty much flavorless if you take away the crunchy plantains. It's more fun to look at than it is to eat. Fish Tacos
Four nicely sized blackened fish tacos, check 'em. They packed some heat and had a good mix of toppings: corn, peppers, onions, radishes and more. These were a good time, and for $14, this was a lot of food. I'd come back for these.