Marty Rosen begins his review of Mayan Café by reminding Louisville that "for almost two decades, chef Bruce Ucan has been at the forefront of Louisville's culinary scene." Rosen goes on to relate the history of Ucan's various Mayan outlets, from his food truck to his location shift along Market Street, ending at the "intimate, cube-like space" at 813 East Market. Rosen notes that while there have been some changes over the years, one thing that has not is "the rigorous standard of quality; this is a small, craft-focused restaurant where you get the impression that no detail goes unconsidered."
Rosen enjoys Mayan Café's "feel of an intimate bistro" and "intriguing photos" as well as its beverage program, which he says
has become an exemplary model of how to build a program that complements the cuisine. There are craft cocktails, a wine list that's perfectly attuned to Ucan's complex saucings and combinations, and a carefully selected list of craft beers.Rosen says "every dish offers a combination of visual and aromatic spectacle," including salbutes, which
harken back to Ucan's food truck days. Simple Yucatan-style tapas, they seem simple enough, built of ingredients like spicy chorizo, black beans, roasted pork, smoked salmon, avocado and melted cheese placed atop puffy house-made tortillas. But they arrive at the table as artful compositions garnished with fresh, crisp greenery and a creamy jalapeno sauce that may be the finest condiment in the city...Rosen mentions Mayan Café's seasonal specials, but assures readers that "the regular menu is full of temptations, including"
[a] perfectly cooked piece of salmon ... dressed with a creamy sauce made from cuitlacoche, a corn fungus that farmers consider deplorable (because it decreases yields), but that has become a highly desirable delicacy in culinary circles, where it's sometimes known as the "Mexican truffle." It's certainly a delicacy in Ucan's hands; and that plate of salmon comes with limas and a potato-corn cake that could serve as a meal in itself.As with everything else about Mayan Café Rosen also enjoyed his desserts, which included a "perky" mango sorbet. However, Mayan Café only earned four out of a possible five stars, though it's unclear from Rosen's review why the place fell short of perfection. [Courier-Journal]
· Restaurant Review: Mayan Café [Courier-Journal]
· Mayan Café [Official Site]
· All Eater Week In Reviews [~ELOU~]