Maya Latin Cuisine–Bethany, OK

Maya Latin Cuisine (Closed)
3929 N. College Ave.
Bethany, OK
Maya Latin Cuisine

Maya Latin Cuisine


Maya Latin Cuisine opened in the same building that housed Inca Latin Cuisine, and although the Incas and Mayas are from different continents, their food traditions seem to be very similar.

There is still a substantial Maya population in Guatemala and the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, and this is the homeland of the restaurant’s owner as well.  Some of the former dishes from Inca Latin Cuisine, representing Peru, are served as well.  In fact, the name “Latin Cuisine” represents what the restaurant is trying to do– offer popular dishes from areas throughout Mexico as well as Central and South America.

The main thing I need to inform readers about is that Maya Latin Cuisine is not open in the evenings (this seems to be the case with many restaurants in Bethany).  It is open from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm daily except Sunday, and on Friday it stays open until 8:00 pm.

To me it seemed surprisingly upscale for a lunch place, and while dinners do not come in massive portions, they do consist of high quality meats and side dishes.

Pollo Asado
The owner is from Guatemala, and I asked if the server could point out the menu items that were Guatemalan.  It turned out to be about 20 percent of the menu– not a large number, but it points out the fact that this is a Latin American restaurant and not strictly one that is Guatemalan.

Pollo asado chapin

Pollo asado chapin

I ordered the Pollo Asado Chapin, which was one of the Guatemalan choices.  This was a marinated chicken breast with a Guatemalan style salsa coban.  I thought the flavoring was good, but the most impressive part was the quality of the chicken.

As much as I appreciate good chicken, though, the best part of the plate was probably the Plantains, which brought out the flavor that I always thought plantains could have.

The Black Beans were equally good, although this is something that is more readily available at other restaurants.

The Russian Salad was something that I could easily skip, although I did enjoy it.

Enchiladas Mexicanas

Enchiladas mexicanas

Enchiladas mexicanas

Shown in this photo is a item I sampled– the Enchiladas Mexicanas with a beef, chicken, and cheese enchilada.  I had a bite of all three, but I thought the chicken was best.

These enchiladas were not spicy, and had onions and cilantro on top.  I think they were supposed to be Yucatan style enchiladas (the area where the Mayas live), but I don’t have the experience to tell whether they were authentic or not.  They seemed to be good gourmet style enchiladas for those who do not want them very spicy.

A Preliminary Assessment

I have been to Guatemala, and I would not rate this restaurant as being very high on the authenticity scale.  In the first place, when I was there people could not afford much meat, and they certainly would not be eating the type of meat I had in the pollo asado chapin.  However, I am always willing for restaurants to provide something better than would probably be served in their home country, and this dish quite possibly meets this criterion.

I still think, though, that Chiltepes (and other restaurants in town) have more of an authentic Guatemalan flavor.  I do not say necessarily that they are better restaurants, because the chicken here was top notch.  I just think that Chiltepes is more authentic.

On the Mexican food, I was a little disappointed that it did not have the flavors of the old Adobe Grill, but I need to try some more items and make some more comparisons.

The thing to remember, though, is that this is not a Guatemalan restaurant or a Mexican restaurant, but one which serves Latin American food (including Peruvian).  I still need to try some more items.

I will say, though, that it is definitely worthwhile getting the plantains.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Latin American
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun. (closes at 8 pm Fri–6 pm other days)
Accessible: Yes (but parking is off site)
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: May 20,2016

Number of Visits: 1

Best Items: Pollo Asado Chapin, Plantains

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 3

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Pollo Asado Chapin
star 5 Enchiladas Mexicanas
star 5 Plantains
star 4 Russian Salad

Maggie’s Cafe–Bethany, OK

Maggie’s Cafe (Closed)
6315 N.W. 39th Expressway
Bethany, OK
Maggie's Cafe

Maggie’s Cafe

Date of Review: May 2011


Note: Maggie’s Cafe was my introduction to Polish food, and the more I ate there the more I wanted to try other things (but it closed shortly after I started going).  There were many positive reviews of it on the Internet, not from people who had a Polish background, but from people who just liked good food.  This “old” review of a closed restaurant may at least provide an introduction to the cuisine of Poland.


From the outside Maggie’s Cafe looks much like many other diners and small restaurants in the heartland, but even the large sign in front does not divulge what seems to be its best kept secret–that this is probably the only place in the OKC metro that serves Polish food. At least this was a secret to me until I first heard rumors about it and then found information on the Internet leading me to Maggie’s Cafe.

Maggie’s has the standard American menu found in many other restaurants, but I would say this type of home cooked style food is more common in Oklahoma’s small towns than in Oklahoma City. On my first visit it seemed as if they were doing a booming business in pork chops, but the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus all had their own most popular dishes (breakfast is only served until 11:30 a.m.).

When I first visited Maggie’s in the summer of 2010 the restaurant was open for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays, with a special Polish menu served on both days (the largest selection of items was on Friday night). Maggie’s is no longer open for dinner, but all of the Polish specialities are available at lunch (and I believe some are on the breakfast menu).

Cabbage rolls

Golabki, or Polish style cabbage rolls with sauerkraut and Polska salata

One thing I discovered about Polish food is that most of the items served look similar to German food, but they are prepared differently. For instance, the Golabki seemed similar to other cabbage rolls I have tried, with mushrooms and beef encased in cabbage leaves. It was not as highly seasoned, though, as many other cabbage rolls, and the tomato sauce on top gave more of a slight flavor to the rolls than a strong, overpowering one. These rolls were quite flavorful, but all the flavors were more subtle than I had expected. After several visits to Maggie’s Cafe, the cabbage rolls continue to be one of my favorite items.

The Sauerkraut was excellent, and was possibly the best I have tried in the OKC area (although I will have to reevaluate that after trying the one at Ingrid’s Pantry, which is also located in Bethany).

Polska Salatka, a Polish style potato salad, was a little different from most, with peas and carrots mixed in. It had a mustard base, and the potatoes were cut into such small pieces that they were not as predominant as is the case with many potato salads.

Mashed Potatoes that came with the dinner were kind of plain as far as flavor, but they were much like ones that would be served at home where each person can add their own salt or seasonings. Most lunch plates come with a side dish (as opposed to two sides that were served with the dinners), and I would say the mashed potatoes would probably not be my choice when only a single side dish was served.

Placki cyganskie

Placki cyganskie, or potato pancake with goulash

The Placki Cyganskie, or potato pancake with goulash, was the dish Maggie’s advertised as their specialty. While I thought the cabbage roll had a subtle flavor, the potato pancake to me was almost to the point of being bland. This does not mean, though, that I did not enjoy it. On the contrary, I thought this provided a good contrast to the goulash that was stuffed inside like a sandwich, with the pancake serving as a bread (and yes, it was cooked like a pancake that looked as if it came from a grill).

I do not think the Goulash is served separately, but if it were it would be one of my favorite dishes at Maggie’s. The gravy had a very good flavor and the chunks of meat were moist and flavorful.

Pierogi

Pierogi

Pierogi is the dish I have seen mentioned most often by other customers, and I definitely thought it was one of the best dishes served at Maggie’s. This was a fried dumpling with potato and cheese inside, with bacon on top. This description probably does not do it justice, though, because the flavor was quite strong and quite good. I would say the flavor came more from good cheese, fresh potatoes, and flavorful dumplings than from seasonings or other added ingredients. Of course the bacon also played a big part.

Pierogi and side dishes

Pierogi, sauerkraut, green beans, and cucumber salad

Mizeria, a Polish style cucumber salad, sounded more interesting than it turned out to be when I ordered it. I should state, though, that I generally do not care much for creamy dressings or sauces that are similar to the one used in this salad.

American vegetables are also served, of which I have found the Green Beans to be the best I have tried so far. These are cooked with bacon, but they bring bacon flavored green beans to a whole new level than I usually find in American food restaurants.

The American menu at Maggie’s is probably as extensive as at any other American restaurant in town, but based on what I have tried I would probably say it is better than most. The restaurant is small, but well decorated and comfortable. Polish main dishes or side dishes can be ordered along with the American food if customers just want to sample them.

The slices of cake served look more like about a sixth of a cake than the standard sized slice, and they look very good (but I have not tried them). There is really a lot at Maggie’s that I would still like to try.

 


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Polish & American
Cost: $$
Hours: Breakfast & lunch daily
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No
Special Features: Serves breakfast

Most Recent Visit: May 10, 2011

Number of Visits: 6

Best Items: Golabki, Pierogi, Goulash, Sauerkraut, Green Beans

Special Ratings

star 5 Golabki
star 5 Pierogi
star 5 Placki Cyganskie
star 5 Sauerkraut
star 5 Green Beans
star 5 Polska Salatka
star 4 Mizeria

Bánh Cuón Tây Hò–Oklahoma City, OK

Bánh Cuón Tây Hò (Closed)
2524 N. Military Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK
Bánh Cuón Tây Hò

Bánh Cuón Tây Hò in Oklahoma City

Date of Review: Jun. 2008


Note: Bánh Cuón Tây Hò closed sometime around 2009 or 2010, but until that time was one of the more authentic Vietnamese restaurants in the Asian District. It was part of a California chain of restaurants, and has a good reputation from the reviews I have seen. My review mentions that it changed owners, and I think I had better luck with the first ones (as someone who does not speak Vietnamese and was trying to understand the menu). The best dish I tried was Bánh Cuón (rice sheet wraps), the restaurant’s specialty. Lang’s Bakery, two doors down from the former Bánh Cuón Tây Hò, says they have a similar rice sheet wrap dish (No. 19 on the menu, described as “Slice Vietnamese Ham & Bean Sprouts over White Rice Noodle Sheets”).


It may be easy to miss Bánh Cuón Tây Hò. Located behind the larger Lido Restaurant in the same shopping center, patrons may be misled into the belief that Lido has the larger selection of authentic Vietnamese food, when in fact the menu at Tây Hò is probably just as extensive.

Bánh Cuón Tây Hò is actually “Restaurant #5,” something I discovered by picking up the take-home menu. The one in Oklahoma City is the only non-California location of this chain, and I got the impression that this food is good enough quality to be successful in California’s “Little Saigon” districts.

On my first trip I ordered the Bún, or vermicelli with vegetable dish, but it lacked the flavor I have experienced at Lido and other Vietnamese restaurants.

On a subsequent visit, however, I asked about the recommended dishes, and was told that Bánh Cuón (rice sheet wraps) was a good choice. I figured this must be their speciality, so I tried it. I had not seen rice sheet wraps in any other Vietnamese restaurant, and it was delicious because of the vegetables and sauces that came with it. You actually create your own sauce by adding the desired quantities of fish sauce, chile, and peanuts from containers on the table. Several meats and tofu toppings are available. Recently they began adding yams in a tempura breading to the dish, and I now like it even better than before.

Yam sticks

Yam sticks

The “Yam Sticks” (I don’t know their proper name) can be ordered as a stand-alone order (as shown in the photo above), but I did not care for them this way (I only ordered them because I misunderstood the menu, and thought they were a vegetarian version of the rice wraps).

The Tofu Delight was quite good– comparable to the ones served at some of the better Chinese restaurants. Most Vietnamese restaurants in OKC serve Chinese dishes, but this was one of the few that had a true Chinese flavor.

The special hot tea was really a treat, brewed with loose leaves.

The restaurant has changed somewhat since my first visit in 2005, and seems to have new owners now. For instance, tempura yams have been added to the bánh cuón dishes, and Vietnamese ham is also included. The prices have increased, and some of the dishes seem to have changed. The food is just as good as before, and apparently the “ham and yam” combination is the typical Vietnamese way of serving the dish (although I do not know why it was not served previously).

Hot tea is no longer on the house, and it has not been consistently made with the excellent loose leaves I experienced on my first visit.

On my early visits I did not care much for some of the items other than rice wraps, but that may have changed for the better with the new owners and cooks. I just know that with the exception of some Chinese lunch plates, the restaurant tries to present authentic Vietnamese cooking. I have experimented with a few items, but there is much more available that I have not tried.

 


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Vietnamese
Cost: $
Accessible: Yes
Tea: Jasmine (loose leaves)
MSG: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Buffet: No

Most Recent Visit: Jun. 7, 2008
Number of Visits: 5
Best Items: Bánh Cuón, Hot Tea

Special Ratings
star 5 Bánh Cuón
star 5 Tofu Delight
star 4 Yam Sticks
star 3 Bún (Vermicelli Noodles)