Maria’s Mexican Restaurant, Bakery and Catering
Housemade Tortillas and Salsa
Side of Mole
$4 Frozen Lemon Margarita
Sample Platter – Nachos, Beans, Taquitos, Chicken Fingers, Quesadilla. Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, Sour Cream
Giant Burrito – Carnitas, Rice, Beans, Cheese, Pico de Gallo, Red Sauce, Guacamole, Sour Cream
Located in Las Vegas out near Nellis Air Force Base since the late 2000s, a family run place that has recently rebranded from “Mama Maria’s Mexican Restaurant and Panaderia” to “Maria’s Mexican Restaurant, Bakery and Catering,” though signage facing East Lake Mead Boulevard still bears the old name, it was prior to a Graduation Party that our group of three stopped in for what was hoped to be some well-made Southwestern cuisine at a good price, the subsequent hour and forty-five minutes instead spent mostly sitting in wait as two servers meandered around the room somewhat aimlessly.
Known best of all for their Giant Burritos and Nachos, neither particularly rare amongst local Mexican eateries but here said to be bigger and better than most, it was just past 5:00 that two adults and one child entered the combined Restaurant/Carry-Out and Bakery tucked into a small Shopping complex, an invitation to seat ourselves suggested from a woman in back as only two other families were present, a family of four soon to settle the bill and thus leaving only five patrons present for the duration of the visit.
Eventually electing a rounded booth set against a pony-wall diving restaurant from store, the kitchen window in full view along with a few murals of Mexico as Latin music chimed above, it was with menus in hand that two pages of Food plus one of Drinks was quickly navigated as a plate of sizzling Fajitas was brought to a middle-age Caucasian couple across the way, the server not even making eye contact as she walked, nor as she returned to the register where she proceeded to clean the cash register CPU with a disposable cloth.
Eventually offered water by the ‘hostess,’ a bowl of warm Corn Tortillas and Chunky Salsa without much heat soon to follow, it was with phrasing something along the lines of “the waitress will be back to take your order” that this woman disappeared to the back, the ‘server’ continuing to pay no mind to anything but her task at hand and not once acknowledging the dining room until twenty minute later, when she walked by to check on the other table and was alerted by a rather loud clearing of the throat.
Having twice now debated getting up to leave, or at least to visit the Bakery for some snacks on the way out, it was again with a delay that diners awaited the young woman’s return with a pen to jot down an order consisting of two plates and one drink to be shared, the $4 Frozen Margarita with quite a bit of booze admittedly a great deal in a portion that would typically cost guests closer to $15 on The Strip.
Not really needing much guidance on such a straightforward menu, the kitchen moving slower than one would guess given the low volume but clearly visible making all but the pre-breaded Tenders from scratch, it was perhaps twenty more minutes before two large plates of food would arrive including the Sample Platter highlighted by tightly rolled Chicken Taquitos plus Nachos, Quesadillas and Chicken Fingers that even the most novice college student could make at home, the Burrito bigger and thicker than a 9-year old’s arm a far better choice at just $10.95, the enormous Flour Tortilla stuffed with fragrant Rice, Refried Beans, roast Pork and Pico de Gallo beneath melted shreds of Cheese and a peppery Red Sauce.
Impressed by the moist Meat in the Burrito, though others might opt for Carne Asada, Chicken, Roast Peppers or ground Beef, it was with both plates mostly cleared and a sample of thin, spicy ‘Mole’ tasted that the check was requested not once or twice but three times, the decision at this point made to visit the Bakery next door where a variety of perhaps two-dozen items were offered from an on-site kitchen, the Guava Besos soft and fluffy with sweetness mellowed by Coconut while the Butter Cookies and Turnovers were both fair-to-middling, a far better option available in a Sprinkled Cake wedge that at first looked a little dry but proved to be both soft and not too sugary, the whole to-go Box costing just $3.85.
TWO STARS: No doubt an affordable dining option with Food that is middle-of-the-road Mexican save for the Giant Burrito, Maria’s Mexican Restaurant, Bakery and Catering would be difficult to recommend for anyone save for those who live in the area and have a lot of time to waste, though the pickings are admittedly slim in this part of Las Vegas.
RECOMMENDED: Giant Burrito, Frozen Lemon Margarita, Guava Besos.
AVOID: Chicken Fingers, Quesadilla, Mole, Apple Turnover.
TIP: Restaurant.com offers a $5 discount coupon and photos on Yelp seem to indicate coupons are sent out occasionally in local mailers.
FYI: The Panamanian Catering offered at the Graduation Party was better.
WHAT THE STARS MEAN: 5 World Class, 4 Excellent, 3 Good, 2 Fair, 1 Poor.
No Website, but @MamaMarias on Social Media