REVIEW: The Chilaquiles of My Dreams Live at Plaza Maya

Chilaquiles, steak, eggs, and chorizo.

Plaza Maya is Wells Avenue’s answer to West Street Market. The plaza includes a coffee shop, an outdoor seating area and event space, an art gallery, and an outstanding Mexican restaurant.

More Than a Taste of Culture at Plaza Maya

The courtyard of Plaza Maya.
The courtyard of Plaza Maya. Image: Kyle Young

Some restaurants in town offer great food and a dollop of culture by way of the décor. At Plaza Maya, diners receive full servings of pottery, paintings, sculptures and some of the tastiest Mexican food that I’ve had.

The lay of the land isn’t especially well-marked, but in my mind, that invites exploration of the property. There are a few parking spaces directly on the property which sits near the roundabout at the end of Wells Ave. Across from the parking spaces lives the property’s coffee shop. The courtyard lives in the approximate center of the property with the restaurant and art gallery at the rear.

If the art gallery is closed on the day you choose to visit, as it was today, don’t fret. The courtyard and restaurant boast a ton of tasty treats for the eyes. The courtyard houses warm murals, eclectic sculptures, plenty of seating, and a small stage. It seems like the courtyard would host an incredible summer block party.

So You Think You Know About Triple Threats?

My wife and I joined our two friends at Plaza Maya for breakfast at 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday. Upon being seated, the very friendly server pointed out the distinct coffee selections on the menu. Our friends ordered the Café bombon for $3 and the Café de holla for $3. The Café bombon was a shot of espresso brewed into sweetened condensed milk. I tried a sip and it was strong, creamy and delicious. The Café de holla tasted like a mash-up of coffee, tea and cinnamon. The second drink wasn’t exactly what I’m into, but it’s absolutely worth a try.

The décor in the restaurant was bright, warm and welcoming. Statues, paintings and beautiful ceramic pieces are peppered throughout the restaurant. The open kitchen is quite attractive and gives the place a modern feel.

One of our friends ordered the large Posole, which included a beer, for $9.99. The other friend ordered the large Menudo, which also included a beer, for $9.99. Posole is a pork and hominy soup served with lime wedges, cilantro, shredded lettuce, raw chopped onions and sliced radishes. Menudo is a red chili soup with beef stomach, or tripe, as the star ingredient. The beers of choice for our friends were Pacifico and Dos Equis, though other beers were also available.

Limes, radishes, lettuce, cilantro, and onions.
Posole fixin’s. Image: Kyle Young.

The whole table agreed that it was a really nice touch to serve the vegetable accoutrement in a beautiful ceramic dish on the side. It’s my personal preference to load up soups such as Posole with fresh vegetables throughout the meal. Nobody enjoys soggy lettuce, right?

Our friend that ordered the Menudo said that it was tasty, but heavy on the tripe for his preference. Our friend who ordered the Posole said the pork was fall apart tender and she also seemed to really enjoy the meal.

My wife ordered the chilaquiles divorciados with two eggs for $12.99. Chilaquiles are corn tortilla chips pan-fried with salsa. Many places offer the meal with either red salsa or green salsa, but Plaza Maya offers something special with the divorciados: half the chips fried in red salsa and half the chips fried in green salsa. Divorces aren’t usually pleasant, but in the case of salsa, it’s nice to have two Christmases. My wife thoroughly enjoyed every part of the dish.

I ordered the Pancho, the special of the day, for $12.99. The meal included a small order of chilaquiles, two eggs, a thin ribeye topped with onions, peppers and mushrooms, and a generous portion of sliced chorizo. I was born to eat this meal.

The chorizo had a nice, spicy flavor but was a bit dry for my preference. The steak was cooked to medium rare by default and was especially juicy, a great feat for a thin cut. The sliced and pan-fried mushrooms, onions, and peppers were great toppers. This segment of the meal needed no additional sauces as it was wonderfully seasoned.

The tortilla chips were fried in a bright, fresh, medium-heat green salsa. I’m of the opinion that most places in Reno use too much salsa when frying the chips, and the result is a mushy mess. At Plaza Maya, just the right amount of salsa combined with house-fried chips creates a partly crisp, partly moist masterpiece. The salsa-fried chips were then drizzled with crema and what seemed to be cotija cheese. The flavor and texture of the dish was wonderful.

I’m unsure of the protocol in Mexican households, but I enjoy putting eggs on top of the chilaquiles. Today was no exception. I placed two, expertly cooked, over-medium eggs atop the chilaquilas. Yolk, chips and salsa create an unparalleled triple threat. If this special was available daily, I’d go broke eating it daily.

Plaza Maya is located at 1644 S. Wells Ave., Reno, NV 89502. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and open on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. They are closed on Mondays. Call in your take-out order at 775-287-1554. Book your reservation and scope out their menu at mexicanrestaurantsreno.com.

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Kyle Young
About Kyle Young 50 Articles
Kyle Young is a local freelance writer. He offers content writing, blog posts, copywriting, and editing services. His current writing foci are food, cooking, and the oddities native to Reno, Sparks, and Tahoe. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a bachelor’s degree in English writing. He gained some food chops while working as a dishwasher, line-cook, and food-truck operator. He learned quality control, imports/exports, and logistics at a local spice and seasoning manufacturer. When not hustling as a writer, he plays Scrabble, cooks, wrangles three pups, and attends live music/comedy with his fiancé.

3 Comments

  1. Wells Ave used to be 90% Hispanic and I loved it. Is this owned by a Mexican family or is it American Mexican? That location is a tough one right off the roundabout but I’m definitely checking it out. I hope its authentic.

  2. I appreciated the article about Plaza Maya! Reno has so many hidden hot spots even long time residents of Reno might be aware of, but have not yet experienced. I know lots of folks are more conscious about how their money gets spent, especially in tough financial times. We’re more inclined to spend less when eating out, sticking to cheaper alternatives than going to a restaurant we perceive as “too expensive.” But think about this:
    If you’re fortunate enough to enjoy a vacation, what’s the one thing, regardless of where you go, that all vacactions have in common? You spend more money! You wonder, “how can I have a good time, and not spend that much?
    Here’s what you do: have a Staycation. I think that’s the term-where you stay at home on your vacation, but you go to places in your town & spend money at places you’d usually not go to- like a fine restaurant.
    Plaza Maya is definitely a place I’ll go to. I won’t have to put off visiting and eating there until I schedule a Staycation, because it’s affordable anytime.

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