I knew from the website that this place was going to be very touristy. Live parrots squawk as you come in (you are encouraged to take a picture with them) and there is an attractive young woman in traditional mayan dress making handmade tortillas smiling at you at the entrance. The fake stone architecture is very cheesy, and the inside part of the restaurant is very dark. Mosquitos are a bit of an issue.
The gimmicks go beyond the birds. The menu has a few items that are there more for commentary and shock factor than for actually enjoyment. I happen to like oaxacan crickets, escamoles (delicious and nutty ant eggs) and even mezcal worms (just the worms, no mezcal). Unfortunately the execution of much of the food is also intended for the tourists with no real knowledge of mexican cuisine. I tried their mayan appetizer platter, which was partly delicious (stuffed xcatic pepper) and partly tasteless (salbutes and panuchos) and on the whole a bit of a wash. I tried some of my friends bean soup, and it was pretty good. The guacamole we ordered was not the best.
The manager and staff were all very friendly. The service is what made me rate Xulam as highly as I have. The staff went above and beyond to be pleasing, raising no objection to our switching tables when the one we chose initially started getting a little rain on it and helping us transition. I watched another table take advantage of the valet service, and the manager even offered to keep their car parked while they explored 5th ave when they were getting ready to leave. The waiters were pleasant and for the first time in a long time I never had to look around for one in vain when I needed something. As soon as I needed something they came to me.
The touristy thing is not usually my style, but the gimmicks were well executed and the staff very friendly. I'd recommend them, especially for lunch when they aren't as busy.
If you own or manage Xulam The Mayan Fisher, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.