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Riviera Maya Mexican Grill

Riviera interior

Well, here it is time again for Cinco de Mayo, which almost always occurs during the first week of May for some reason. 

We’ve already discussed in the past how this holiday has, like St. Patrick’s Day, been co-opted by Americans as an excuse to eat and drink too much. If you’re unfamiliar with the history of Cinco de Mayo and how in Mexico it’s mostly a non-event, check out my previous rant.

But if that doesn’t dissuade you, I have a new Mexican restaurant where you can go and celebrate, though perhaps quietly.

Things were disturbingly quiet when I drove up to Riviera Maya on a recent Saturday evening, around 7:30. In fact, when I walked through the door, I discovered that I was the only person there besides the owner, who greeted me with apropos bonhomie, or whatever the Spanish translation of that French term would be.

Usually, my instincts tell me to turn and run from a place as empty as that, but I sort of felt sorry for the guy, so I took a seat (my choice) and ordered.

I figured I’d go all out for the Mexican Riviera Grande combination, a feast of three items of the diner’s choice. I went with the pork tamale, chicken enchilada and shredded beef taco. I asked -- really as a means to verify what I was pretty sure would be the case -- if the taco was a soft shell. The fellow seemed a bit surprised and said, “Oh, you prefer a soft shell?” But I think there might have been a misunderstanding. The taco was served in a flour shell instead of corn. I wanted a soft corn shell, but there you go. For a taco made with a doughy flour tortilla, it was fine.

Riviera platter

The tamale was better, though, meaty bits of pork inside a densely packed corn-masa shell. And the enchilada was filled with plenty of moist shredded chicken.

The plate came with refried beans and rice, though to be honest neither one was very special. And as long as we’re being honest, the food here is more Tex-Mex than Mex, but I wasn’t complaining -- it filled a void, and I was quite satisfied.

The owner was friendly to the end -- by which time a few more tables were occupied -- and I found the space to be pleasant and comfortable despite the in-your-face placement of the flat-screen tvs.

Riviera Maya Mexican Grill is in the Royal Oak Village Shopping Plaza, 168 S. Semoran Blvd., Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner daily. It has no website. Entrees range from $8.99 to $16.99. My combo platter was $10.99. The phone number is 407-737-2810.

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-1 #2 Eileen 2013-05-28 19:55
LOL! We are glad to hear that after so many years "Scott Joseph" is finally (almost) gaining a taste for Mexican Food! Yes, this is a new location, for an Authentic Mexican who has been in Mexican Food Service & Hospitality business since he was just tall enough to clear plates from the table! Our Friends know us well, and our web address will lead you right to our Facebook Page, where you can catch up on all the details! Blessings to all who spent one or both of the Dias des Madres with us! Of course we are partial, because we eat there every day, but folks who speak & understand English, or Spanish, or both, have seemed to enjoy our flavors for over a decade, and have followed Gabriel & his crew across town to enjoy dining with us again and again. Scott- if you're nice, we might let you visit us again some day... for more Spanish Lessons. LOL!! Peace and Flavor be with You; The Owner's Gringuita Wife :-) www.RivieraMayaGrill.com
0 #1 Brook Monroe 2013-05-02 20:37
That'd be "sobre bonhomía."
Thursday, 24th July 2014

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