First Taste

Max's Mukhaase in Mesa: West African Cuisine in the Southeast Valley

When a new spot opens in town, we can't wait to check it out — and let you know our initial impressions, share a few photos, and dish about some menu items. First Taste, as the name implies, is not a full-blown review, but instead a peek inside restaurants that have just opened, sampling a few items, and satisfying curiosities (yours and ours).

Restaurant: Max's Mukhaase Location: 1245 W. Guadalupe Road, Mesa Open: About three weeks Eats: West African Price: $15 under/person

African cuisine is by no means widespread in Phoenix, but those who know where to look can fairly easily enjoy spongy, crepe-like injera from Ethiopia and the savory-sweet meat pie called bastilla from Morocco.

When it comes to finding West African specialties like banku, a fermented corn and cassava dough, however, your options become limited. In fact, one of the only places you'll be able to find that dish may be at the newly opened Max's Mukhaase in Mesa.