What Maya lacks in ambiance is more than made up for in hospitality and the authenticity of their food. The restaurant itself is cavernous, lit with fluorescent tube lighting, and a bit loud. I'm willing to let that, and their abundant use of styrofoam and disposable flatware slide for now because this is one of the few Mexican places in Northeast that I can get a truly vegan meal, and cheap.
The ordering system is cafeteria style; you grab a menu, hop in line, and the next thing you know someone is piling your tray and taking you down a line full of hot sauces and garnishes. You can see into the kitchen and watch tortillas being pressed, veggies getting grilled, and various doughs and tamales getting formed.
My husband and I each ordered a Maya Plate; beans (black or pinto- both veg), rice , and your choice of three single items (tortillas, tostadas, tamales- mix and match) plus salsa bar, and an order of chips and guac. Our entire order was abundant, and only 17.50 after tax.
We tried both the black and pinto beans, and the pintos were perfectly creamy and just salty enough. We shared tacos vegetales, tostadas vegetales with pintos, tamales vegetariano, and split a pina con coco tamale .
The tacos were good, but the tostadas were great! Freshly fried to order, non-greasy, and piled with creamy beans, grilled mixed veggies, pickled jalapeños and shredded lettuce. The savory veg tamales were creamier than I am used to, and the vegetables were a tad too soft for my liking, but the flavors were nice and light. The absolute knockout of the night was the pina con coco tamale- its a dessert tamale with raisins, coconut flakes, and pineapple mixed into the masa, making it like a sweet, cake-y dumpling rather than the creamy consistency of the dinner tamales. I've never had a sweet tamale before, and if I wasn't so stuffed from the rest of my dinner I would have gone back for the fresas con durzano tamale (fresh strawberries and peaches). It was such a pleasant surprise after gorging myself on such a salty and savory meal. I should also mention that they have fresh horchata (sweetened cinnamon rice milk)- which I didn't notice until leaving. The staff is super sweet and friendly, and their service is fast.
I have a friend who knows the owner and she confirmed (as well as my tastebuds) that they don't use pork in their beans, lard in their masa/tortillas, chicken or beef stock in their rice, and 3 of their tamales are listed without (and don't surprise you with) cheese. All of the tortillas and tortas are made from scratch to order, the only exception being the tamales because they take so long to steam.