Salsa sensations

by Marty Kokotaylo

Amaya’s Fresh Mexican Grill offers a relaxed dining experience during the evening with a quicker-paced service during the day for that lunch time-crunch.  And, weather permitting, you can opt for dining on the patio.

Managing partner Tino Amaya, an insurance agent from Monroe, MI, was a part owner of Salsarita’s who bought the restaurant outright, renamed it Amaya’s, and is using his family recipes for the menu. Amaya and his staff take pride in serving only what they would serve to family, using fresh, quality ingredients. The menu ranges from tacos to salads to burritos and Mexican pizzas as well as specially prepared vegetarian dishes. And the generous-sized margaritas are made in flavors such as strawberry, original, peach mango and pineapple.

On the salsa side, Amaya’s offers medium or hot cantina-style salsas (the hot variety has a pronounced flavor of cumin), as well as a cucumber or a mango ghost pepper salsa. The ghost pepper is blisteringly hot, but when used sparingly and in the right balance—as it is here—it is actually milder than the hot cantina salsa and definitely worth a try. Opt for the salsa fresca or the salsa verde, both are also excellent and made fresh daily.  None of these salsas are out of a jar and you can really taste the freshness.

Happy hour combo

Amaya’s has a happy hour from 4-7pm Monday through Friday featuring one taco, chips and salsa along with a margarita or beer for only $5. Their chips are thin and crisp and, just like all the food here, made in-house daily,.

Daily specials range from a rice bowl to a Mexican pizza and taco salad for $5 without a beverage or $6.50 with one. If you’re in the mood for something more substantial, try the ground beef or chicken  burrito for $5.75 (small) or $7.10 (large). The burritos can be sauced with queso, enchilada, tomatillo or medium salsa. The large burrito lives up to the description—it is imposingly large. They are made to order while you watch, adding your choice of beans, rice, queso , shredded cheese, tomato, olives, corn, black beans and refritos to name a few options.

Steak, shrimp and pork are available options, with tender chunks of grilled skirt steak a delicious addition to any entree. You can also build the nachos from the same large variety of toppings. The guacamole is chunky and adds a nice touch to any entree.

Tacos, pizza, tamales

Tacos come in soft or hard varieties. I especially liked the soft corn with shredded beef, made from tender and juicy smoked brisket. Tacos are $2.69 for one or $7.99 for three. The Mexican pizza is made on a thin crisp tortilla and topped with a choice of  chicken or ground beef ($6.39) or steak or shrimp ($7.46). Tamales are three for $7.99. The menu will  change at times, depending on the availability of ingredients.

Amaya’s is familyfriendly and offers kids meal specials, and kids eat free on Sunday with each adult purchase. They also offer a 10% discount to service members.

This is really a great new local Mexican restaurant, and a good place to unwind after work for a drink and a quick bite to eat.

Amaya’s Fresh Mexican Grill, 

1470 Ford St., Maumee, 419-482-5500 or amayasmexicangrill.com

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