Usually, we reserved steak dinners out for special occasions or (in my case) extreme pregnancy cravings. So, when the opportunity came up to grub hard on red meat for lunch, it was like a food Christmas. It’s definitely still the case at Maya, a Sandy Springs spot now open for lunch. They’re serving up Filet all day with an extremely tasty menu to complement it. So, if you’ve got time to take a mind0afternoon nap, or maybe you’re a Real Housewife in training (so it doesn’t matter what you have to do afterwards), book your table and clear your palate. Its time to eat.
The good thing about the food, whipped up by Lebanese/Spanish Chef Mimmo Alboumeh, is that you’ve got justification for fighting your way through the busiest street in the city. Roswell Road at the Perimeter (otherwise to be avoided by the plague) is a madhouse. Don’t even think about turning left and don’t even think about getting somewhere in less than thirty minutes. Fortunately, once you’re in the tiny little lot that Maya sits on, you can throw your keys at the valet (who parks it ten feet away) and escape to eating. Albeit nestled on that bustling street, inside, it’s tranquil and simple, a small geometric space transformed with subtly vibrant patterns, mixes of texture (leather, wood, stainless, etc.) and the steak dinner-appropriate white tablecloths. It’s a step inside something off the @gardenhomeandparty Instagram account, when they’re showing off cool bars or masculine makeovers.
The menu reflects the same. Front and back, the not-your-average lunch menu covers cravings from robust snacks, soups and salads to big-eater approved burgers and sandwiches, seafood and of course, steak. The disclaimer is that while you won’t be able to choose something from every section (I mean, I guess you could), you won’t go wrong with whatever you narrow it down to. I loved that our server as honest and enthusiastic about the menu items. With a discerning facial expression, she led us toward a successful tasting and sent us home with full bellies and a penchant for more luxurious lunches in the future. Here’s what we tried:
Start with the Beef Carpaccio, holy cow. We learned that while most carpaccio beef is frozen, allowing the chef to slice it to that impossibly thin sheet, Chef Mimmo pounds fresh beef to get it that way instead. The result – a rich, buttery beef bite that all but made me want to call it a day. In fact, breaking all of the tasting menu rules, I cleaned that plate to every last caper. I’ll go back, even just for this and a glass of red.
Depending on your mood – hot or cold – choose either the Corn Bisque or the Wedge Salad. The bisque was a warm bowl of home cooking, it seemed. The pureed corn was slurp-worthy without being void of texture, the flavor robust yet not filling and the homemade crouton, yes. The wedge (and I am a wedge snob) was perfect. The lettuce crisp, the dressing creamy and rich, the blue cheese not too blue and the bacon thick and peppery. Either choice gave our palates a boost to bring on more.
If you can’t bring yourself to eat steak (because you’re not a Real Housewife, and you do have to go back to work), choose the Brisket Burger. Even if you’re not a huge fan of burgers, this guy comes on a Pumpernickel bun. Hello!? It’s not too fancy, it’s not going to get all over your hands, but it does taste awesome. The brisket gives it the expected “pieces of flair” and the chef’s layers of condiments make it a tasty two-handed choice.
There is a ton of fish on the menu, to be expected. We ordered the Paella, so we could sample a little of everything. It was no joke, and if you’re a fan of the ripe Spanish flavors of this classic dish, you’ll love it too. Just count on someone asking for one of your mussels.
And then there was the steak. To be traditional at a “Steaks and Seafood” spot, we ordered the Surf and Turf. A Filet medallion cooked to medium and a luscious prawn grilled alongside it – Heaven. The steak is tender, tasty and totally hogs your tastebuds. The prawn was supple, but flavorful and a perfect addition to its rich beef partner. I was satisfied; one because a restaurant with “steak” in its name should capitalize with the signature dish and two because it was exactly what lunchtime should be all about. Food comas. What traffic?
Maya Steaks | Seafood is open for lunch and dinner – see the menu and read more about it here.