Robin Garr and Kevin Gibson both dropped in on the so-recently-opened-it-has-no-Internet-presence Riviera Maya, now occupying the site of the former Cubana Breeze. Who better delivers an opinion on whether Riviera Maya is worth some hard-earned dinero? While Gibson does admirably stay on topic, when comparing visits and descriptions of dishes, the answer is all too sadly "a tie."
|Riviera Maya Review||Garr||Gibson|
|Paragraphs about Riviera Maya||5||13|
|Number of visits||1 (lunch)||1 (dinner)|
|Dishes actually tasted||3||3|
|Owners supposedly also operate||Sol Aztecas||Los Aztecas|
|Other restaurants mentioned||9||4|
|Actual subjective dish descriptions (e.g. "fine," "solid")||8||8|
Garr spends most of his review spinning ghost stories that "local foodies quickly learn" about locations that seem to "labor under a curse, housing one short-lived restaurant failed after another." This allows Garr to name-drop a string of shuttered restaurants ("Dirty" Min's, Parisian Pantry) and fill space left by his "quick lunch" at Riviera Maya, consisting solely of:
Complimentary chips ... fine, crisp and fresh, with tangy mild and piquant but not fiery hot salsas.
Lechon al horno ... marinated in citrus and spice, roasted and "pulled," juicy and tender with crunchy end bits for variety, served on a large banana leaf.
A trio of mushroom tacos ... a deeply flavorful mix of spiced sautéed mushrooms loaded into soft tortillas.
While disappointed in a "less-than-memorable mound of shredded iceberg lettuce, pale diced tomatoes and sour cream," Riviera Maya is nonetheless rewarded with a Robin Garr rating of 86. [LEO Weekly]
Seeming to lack a map showing the Yucatan and its Mayan population as part of Mexico, Kevin Gibson grumps Riviera Maya's menu
is a bit more expansive than the somewhat misleading "Mexican Cuisine" moniker. The menu features sort of a Mayan/Latin/Mexican hybrid of selections – you can get something as middle of the road as tacos with beans and rice, or you can branch out with a dish called Cochinita Pibil, which is tender pork simmered in citrus juices and Mayan spices.
Gibson "branches out" with a cochinita pibil taco, while his "lovely dinner companion" Cynthia orders beef enchiladas with mole. The couple also splits some "Mariquitas y Guacamole, which is a fancy way of saying fried plantain chips and guac dip." While Gibson appreciates his "prompt and attentive service" and his appetizer,
I have to hand it to Riviera Maya on the Cochinita Pibil. The pork — so tender it felt like it had simmered for a week — was unbelievably moist, with a subtle, mild-to-medium spice and slight citrus undertone. If you like tacos el pastor, you'll like these tacos ... .
The mole sauce with Cynthia's meal was a striking dark red/brown, and the flavor was smoky, bordering on sweet. I think I would have gone for the chicken version, but her ground beef enchiladas were plenty tasty.
Gibson believes Riviera Maya "has potential," and approvingly notes "there is a bar in the back." [Insider Louisville]
· Can Riviera Maya exorcise a haunted venue?[LEO Weekly]
· Riviera Maya brings Latin fare back to Frankfort Avenue[Insider Louisville]
· All Eater Week In Reviews [~ELOU~]