Updated: Feb 12, 2020
I tried a new restaurant yesterday. If you haven't been to Maiz in Ypsilanti's Depot Town, and if you like Mexican food, well you should go. Located on the south side of E. Cross street, just east of Eastern Michigan University campus, Maiz sits a bit inconspicuously. While the front sign pops out and is easily seen, I had no appreciation for how large the restaurant actually is. Standing out front just before they opened for lunch waiting for friends, I began to realize that they had expanded into the neighboring buildings. Depot town is an older part of Ypsilanti, named from the time Union soldiers were housed until departing by train to the civil war, the majority of the buildings in the area were built in the mid-late 1800s. If you like trains, this is the place for you.
Because of the expansion, and the age of the buildings, the restaurant is departmentalized in its seating. It allows for nice pockets, you feel you are dining in a quaint section of the restaurant, rather than one large open space. The roaring fire in the fireplace right by the host stand when you walk in was a nice touch on a 30 degree day.
Talking with our server, everything is made from scratch. And that was apparent when our table got our chips & salsa. The multi colored corn tortilla chips added a boost of color to our table.
I had never been, and hadn't looked at the menu online first. I often do that for new places so I can figure out some things to eat. I search for vegan options, and if I can't choose any default to the best vegetarian choices that I can make. Since I was seeing the menu for the first time, it was a little tough. The only knock I'd say is there is a ton of stuff on their menus, and it doesn't flow well. It's cluttered and too wordy to try and figure out things without really reading and taking your time. They had little symbols by vegetarian dishes, so that was helpful.
Our table in addition to the chips got an order of Baked Avocados. They come with oven roasted with muenster cheese, and optional bacon, so this is a warm appetizer. Topped with pico de gallo, cilantro aioli and fresh cilantro. They were quite tasty, without the bacon. Avocados having a creamy texture already were additionally smooth with the aioli. If you have just a few people at the table they are fine to share.
We all decided to get tacos for lunch and each choose the mixed meal combo where you get a choice of 3 different taco versions. My three were a Fried Cauliflower taco, made with cauliflower, julienne radishes, chipotle honey, and cilantro and lime. A Fried Avocado taco, made with slices of avocado, a tangy slaw, cilantro aioli. The last was a Taco de Papas made with Yukon potatoes, peppers, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, muenster cheese and chipotle cream. All wrapped in a soft, warm corn tortilla. It comes with sides, I got black beans and rice.
All three were good, but my personal favorite was the Fried Cauliflower. It was basically vegan without having to make too many alterations to the menu item. I thought everything was very tasty. I could really taste the freshness of all the ingredients that I ate. It was obvious there was a lot of time and care put in the food.
The service was great! We didn't wait for anything, all of our items came out timely. Drinks were refilled, chips restocked, and it was a great time. If you haven't been, I'd definitely recommend it. I learned that at times, it's quite busy so plan your trip. During good weather days, if the outdoor seating is open, I'd love to try that!