I went to Luna Maya based on the strong reviews here. I found it to be very good, but with a few quirks that kept it from being great, in my opinion.
La Luna is in a strip mall a block south of the Ghent District's main east-west road (21st St). When you walk in, there are curtains that separate a small waiting area from the main dining room. The waiting room has framed reviews about the restaurant and its owners, two young sisters from a Bolivian family. The atmosphere is much trendier than that of other Latin American restaurants I've been to: orange and yellow acrylic-topped tables and curved, molded plastic designer chairs. A stylish bar with a backlit display of tequilas and beers takes up much of one side of the restaurant. The music was a European dance mix, with a loud but not oppressive beat. The lighting was dim, and the waitstaff were all dressed in black.
There was no greeter or "please seat yourself" indication in the little waiting area, so I walked into the dining room to be noticed. The waiter who saw me seemed a bit irked at my not waiting in the anteroom, but he seated me promptly. My server was prompt, helpful, and very friendly.
I had a margarita, which was very tasty, but served in a tumbler with a straw rather than a more traditional 'grita glass, which was a little odd. The guacamole was freshly made, and served in a stylish white three-compartment serving dish with chips and salsa. However, it was very sparse on the lime juice and seasonings, so tasted more like plain chopped avocado rather than a true guac. The salsa was unremarkable, and was smooth, not chunky. For the main course I had the pastel de choclo, which is a corn casserole with chicken chorizo topped with cheese. It was quite yummy, although it came out so hot (temperature, not spicy) that I had to stir it for several minutes before I could eat it . It was paired with seasoned rice, which made for a combination (corn & rice) that felt a little heavy on the starches. For dessert I had a tasty and well-executed flan. The bill was quite reasonable, at $25 for the food and $9 for the top-shelf margarita.
On the whole it was a pleasant experience. It could have been improved with a more pleasant greeting, a more effective margarita glass, a less scorching temperature for the main course, and a better protein-starch balance in the main/side dish combo.
That being said, I will definitely go back, and will probably have the pique lo macho (Bolivian beef filet) and the tres leches cake for dessert. If anyone has those, please review and comment! Thanks.
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