Rowlett, about 22 miles northeast of Dallas, has maybe 60 restaurants, tops, and that includes the Jack in the Box and the two Sonics. So Maya Mexican Kitchen makes a welcome addition, with its big-city lineup of refreshing mojitos and authentic Mexican food. Chef Kent Lemmons worked at the Mansion on Turtle Creek as well as at Trece, a background he makes the most of for his menu at Maya. Diablo Caesar salad, for example, had Mansion roots, with its spicy-hot dressing, sprinkling of pomegranate seeds, toasted pumpkin seeds, and cotija cheese. At $5, it was a steal. Carne asada started with an 8-ounce sirloin pounded thin until tender, slopped with sautéed peppers and red onion, and topped with pepper jack and Monterey jack cheese, keeping it moist and juicy, all for $14. Entrees included a vegetarian enchilada filled with soft potatoes and caramelized onions—good stuff. Gorditas, three masa pockets filled with spicy ground beef and charred tomato salsa, were a winner, comforting and piquant. Salsa offered four choices such as grilled corn salsa and pineapple-mango. The chips had an appealing sturdiness, but they were too bulky to dip into the too-small ramekins of salsa, placed just so in their wrought-iron candelabra. Service was young and green, but what do you expect? It’s not as if there are a lot of fine-dining places you can train in out there.
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