Having lived in Dallas, Texas for over 25 years, I have gone through periods of food boredom where nothing about any restaurant gets me jazzed. Yes, I have my longtime standbys which will always fill the bill for good eats, but sometimes I crave a new find.
(Image of Maximo Restaurant - All Rights Reserved).
Yesterday I was watching Oxygen's new reality show with North Dallas Chef Blythe Beck who holds court as the Naughty Chef at Hotel Palomar's Cafe 214. While watching the show it featured Chef Beck having lunch at Maximo Restaurant in North Dallas and catching up with her old friend, Chef Amador
Hmmmm. Why didn't I know about Maximo?
It seems Chef Beck has a long time relationship with Chef Amador Mora who is known for his amazing menus and dishes. Watching Chef Beck dig into some scrumptious dishes had my curiosity completely peaked.
I looked up the Maximo and was surprised to find it's location right behind the Dallas Galleria (5301 ALPHA ROAD, SUITE 80, DALLAS, TX 75240 ) on the corner of Noel and Alpha in the new Village On The Green lifestyle space.
After checking out the menu I found several yummy lunch dishes I couldn't wait to try. Even though a bone chilling drizzle was falling over the city, a lunch companion and I set out to check out Maximo. After all, if Chef Beck loves the food, it has to be great. Right?
The restaurant was surprising easy to locate. There is complimentary valet parking, which was a welcome option in light of the ongoing rain and nippy air.
After requesting a booth we were seated in a cozy area adjacent to the main room. The decor is exquisite with great attention to detail. Although the building is new, the restaurant had a warm rustic feeling with gorgeous art pieces carefully place throughout. I guess it could best be described as a wonderful balance of old world and central Americana deco although it has a very modern feel as well.
Although Maximo’s menu spotlights some familiar Tex-Mex, I found it to be more aligned to traditional Mexican plates than what I think of as Tex-Mex. There are also some very unique menu offerings from other culinary regions such as Puebla, Yucatan, Veracruz and Oaxaca.
Maximo encourages guests to explore the roots of the restaurant's regional Mexican cuisine, from the Aztecas of the south to the Tarahumaras of the north.
If you're looking for traditional burritos, enchiladas or even tacos for lunch, you will not find them at Maximo. What you will find is an exciting and eclectic blend of offerings including spectacular Spinach & Cheese Quesadillas ($9), Amador’s Signature Guacamole ($8), yummy Daily Specials as well as interesting combo plates (PLATOS COMBINADOS). There is also a list of great sounding soups and salads, Entradas (entries) and sandwiches and eggs.
After agonizing over all the great options I chose the tableside guacamole as well as the Spinach & Cheese Quesadillas. The Chile Relleno con Queso, Camaron o Pollo was calling my name but I decided to eat lighter to save room for one of the scrumptious dessert entries.
My companion also struggled with the many delicious sounding dishes but chose two soft tacos (grilled chicken, beef fajita, grilled vegetables and cheese) with black beans and rice from the Combo plates ($8.99). The daily special was Cochinita pibil tacos – a classic of the Yucatan, tender pork baked in achiote and other spices served with warm tortillas ($12)
First up was Amador’s Signature Guacamole which was made tableside by a charming server who asked if we wanted jalepeno peppers, which we didn't. We were served a generous helping of guacamole bursting with fresh cilantro, roasted onions, roasted garlic, roasted tomatoes and just the right amount of lime juice. The tableside chips are very unique and fried with great flavor which is hard to describe.
I was pleasantly surprised by the delicate flakiness of the Quesadillas when they arrived. Cut into perfect triangles, the four chicken and spinach offerings were wrapped in perfect puff pastrylike wedges. I was impressed at the perfect mingling of the meat, cheese and spinach. Sometimes a Spinach Chicken Quesadilla is too heavy on the green stuff and not heavy enough on the chicken. Not so at Maximo. The chicken, cheeses and spinach were a perfect balance.
Even though each bite was a burst of flavor, I could barely finish two of the four triangles. Stashing the remains in a ToGo box prepared by the attentive server at the table, which was a nice touch, I managed to save room for a shared dessert.
My lunch companion also requested a ToGo carton for the remains of her tacos which she deemed magnificent.
We agreed to try the Mexican donuts which are an unusual form of churros (not like you normally would see) with a whipped cream/vanilla soup. They were heavenly with one order being the perfect amount for two people to share.
As if the great service, atmosphere and food wasn't enough, as we were wrapping up our time at Maximo we were approached by the owner of the restaurant checking in to see how we enjoyed everything. I was very impressed that Mr. Mark Maguire, a very big name (with tremendous success) in the food world, made time to stop and say hello to new patrons at his restaurant. What a fabulous touch of personal service. Right?
If we had been unsure about our experience up to that point (we weren't) that personal touch would have tipped the scales in the favor of the restaurant.
I mentioned to Mark that we had traveled all the way from Richardson to have lunch at his restaurant as a result of seeing Chef Beck on Oxygen yesterday. He seemed pleased that the word was getting out about his dining establishment.
As we were leaving my companion and I promised we would not only be back (we will) but we would tell all our friends about the great find in North Dallas. Which is why I'm writing this Blog today. No, it's not about hair, beauty, fashion, skin or similar but it is about beauty in a roundabout way. The Beauty of finding a fabulous new dining establishment to awaken your senses and put a smile on your face.
Of course I'm not a food critic, I just know what I like but if I were a food critic I would definitely give this restaurant a solid 4 stars since this was only my first visit. Over time I'm sure I will rate this restaurant even higher. My only hope is that it sticks around and thrives so that I can continue to go back. I'm even hoping to take my guy there and have him try some of the amazing dishes.
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