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Mai Mexican gets a makeover

January 22, 2009 |  4:37 pm

Maismexicanb1 Downtown's hungry hordes have probably walked by Mai Mexican Kitchen a hundred times without thinking about stopping in. This year, new owners are attempting to change that. 

Husband-and-wife team Darius and Mirna Tahmasebni took over the tiny restaurant (at 30 by 18 feet, Mai’s is smaller than most studio apartments) from her uncle earlier this month and have already started making some changes, starting with a paint job.

A colorful new mural on the side of the brick building that sports the restaurant's name is the first indication that the couple are stepping up their game to woo residents of the area, many of them newly arrived loft-leasers. Bright yellow paint and new tile now greet those just discovering Mai (a.k.a. Mai Super Tacos), along with the dedicated fans who have been coming for more than a decade.

Nothing on the menu is over $8, and the meat-centric fare is exactly the kind of Mexican home cooking many are seeking for a quick lunch or early dinner downtown.

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Think chiles rellenos, chicken meatballs (albondigas de pollo), beef soup, boneless pork loin, lomo de res and more. Mai (short for Maigualida) is known for its chicharron de puerco salsa as well. And if you're simply looking for a quick burrito or quesadilla, Mai has the basics covered too.

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Expect new furniture and floors by next month. The Tahmasebnis also say that come summer, they plan to stay open until midnight on weekends to accommodate the area's growing bar scene.

Mai Mexican, 633 S. Spring St., (213) 688-0011; open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

— Charlie Amter

Photos by Elina Shatkin / Los Angeles Times

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