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Maple Ave Restaurant, 147 Maple Avenue W in Vienna - Chef Tim Ma and GM Joey Hernandez

Vienna Modern American Weekend Brunch 28 Seats

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#1 Scott Johnston

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 01:00 PM

Been open 3-4 weeks? anyone tried this yet?

Maple Avenue Restaurant


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#2 Biotech

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Posted 14 September 2009 - 01:38 PM

Been open 3-4 weeks? anyone tried this yet?

Maple Avenue Restaurant

I'm going to give it a shot this weekend coming up when I'm out in Vienna. The location is usually a death wish for any business. It's been at least 4 different places in as many years. It's a really a small space, with limited parking. That also reminds me that the Le Canard place turned over a few months back into another kind of modern American joint too. I haven't been there either, but their menu didn't initially grab me.

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#3 goodeats

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 01:00 AM

My drive-by on midday Saturday yielded this little, quaint sighting. I almost mistaken it for the Maple Avenue market because of its name; alas, this was one of the times I wish I was a hobbit so that I could have a second breakfast, but since I had, this little place got filed away.

Seeing WARojas's "new to the neighborhood" feature on this place has now really intrigued me. It's almost literally right across from Sakana Sushi and the cute little logo is very welcoming.

Not to mention when Mr. Rojas writes the following from Chef Ma's resume:

his Chinese heritage (homemade pot stickers), time at the French Culinary Institute (carrot-ginger soup), an externship at Momofuku Ko (truffle-pork-lemongrass noodles), a Salvadoran girlfriend/general manager Joey Hernandez (plantain-filled empanadas with honey) and American upbringing (Dr. Pepper-braised ribs).

Has anyone tried this place yet?

Maple Avenue Restaurant
147 Maple Avenue West
Vienna, Virginia
http://www.mapleaverestaurant.com/

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#4 diddy

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Posted 29 December 2009 - 01:22 AM

They have been open for a couple months I think. I went a while back, but it was very good for a new restaurant. I had the chicken agar salad, dr pepper ribs, and the funnel cake for dessert. The chicken agar salad was different, but good. I had never had agar before but it was a nice, refreshing dish (it was still warm outside when i went.) The funnel cake was what it sounds like, but it was really good. It was nice to eat a funnel cake at somewhere that isn't an amusement park. The dr pepper ribs were the star of the night however. Absolutely delicious! They also had some pretty good beers. I had the Clipper City Red Sky at Night Saison. A perfect beer for the summer/fall.

The negatives were that it was kind of small and it got pretty loud, pretty quickly. The pacing was also a little bit slower, but that's to be expected since they were only open a few weeks at that point.

All in all a nice surprise out in the burbs. If I'm ever out in vienna i look forward to going back

#5 JLK

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Posted 16 June 2010 - 12:05 PM

Maple Ave has added a mobile food truck and today it came my office neighborhood (full disclosure: Joey, the GM is a friend of a colleague - I had not met her before today).

What a treat to have such interesting lunch options come to us. I have worked out here at Tysons for over four years now and feel bored with most of the options. Add traffic and long-term construction projects, and you can see why I often bring leftovers from home.

Today was the first visit from the truck and it offered bulgogi, pulled pork, fried cauliflower and a chicken salad. Three of my colleagues got the bulgogi (which looked a lot like the buns I had at Momofuku Ssam about 10 days ago) and I had the pulled pork ($7). I was very happy with my lunch and my colleagues devoured theirs without sharing.

Jennifer


#6 dgreen

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 06:35 AM

We had reservations for 6. Maple Avenue called us around 4:00-4:30 to say that their a/c had gone out. They were working on it, but they wanted us to know so we could make alternate plans if we wanted to. Within about 15 minutes, they called back to say the a/c was up and running. It ended up being a little warm in there, but we definitely appreciated the heads up from them.

In the car, on the way to Maple Avenue, we had picked out what we wanted to order. I was going with the Dr. Pepper Ribs (how could I not?) and my wife was interested in the crab and asparagus mac n cheese. We sit down, open the menu, and, of course, the menu had changed. Neither of those dishes were on the current menu. The thai okra, another dish my wife was wanted, was also missing from the small plates menu. Disappointment was starting to set in. We looked over the menu for several minutes trying to regroup. My wife ended up with the thai cauliflower small plate and the apple and asparagus fried rice as her main plate. I went with the shrimp and grits and bulgogi wraps. We added the funnel cake and chocolate dumplings for dessert and we both overcame the initial disappointment and really enjoyed our meal.

It was just an all-around solid meal. Nothing blew me away, but everything was good.

#7 jpbloom

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 09:47 AM

It was just an all-around solid meal. Nothing blew me away, but everything was good.

That's been my experience each time I've been there. It has an appeal for me because it's close, but I wouldn't go significantly out of my way for it.

#8 DrXmus

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Posted 19 March 2011 - 01:36 PM

A group of us dined here last night. I have to say it was a rough start, but overall the general consensus was that it was a good meal. Our reservation was for 7:30 and we were seated promptly. The place is very small, but it was full and the 2 waiters and Joey were in the weeds. We sat for way too long before Joey took our drink orders and told us about the specials, but service got much better as the meal went on. The room is very loud when all tables are full and it hard to even hear the person sitting next to you.

The beer selection is great with a range of beers from gluten-free, to wheat, to hoppy, to Singaporean and several in between. With their focus on local producers, I hope they'll get more local brews like Blue Mountain and Port City and DC Brau (once the last 2 start bottling and distributing). They had Starr Hill and Heavy Seas in stock locally last night.

One of the specials was a salsify soup which was thick, smoky and delicious. The beet salad with local chevre was very good with a bright vinaigrette that raised the dish. I heard that the chicken sandwich and the pulled port BBQ sandwich were fantastic. My Moroccan chicken dish was very good - boneless thighs (menu said "leg") with a crust of interesting spices plus a soup and cucumber/onion/cherry tomato salad. No complaints here. I'd get it again. One tablemate had the sous vide duck leg confit with fingerling potatoes. While the meat was a little salty, the texture and flavor were phenomenal and the salt wasn't enough to keep one from enjoying it. If I were to complain, I'd say I got a lot more food than she did.

The funnel cake, as always is good and is a great conversation piece because it never fails to bring up stories of carnivals and fairs and street festivals from everyone's childhood. The peanut butter brownie was warm and very good. Personally, I prefer a fudgier brownie, but I enjoyed it very much.

I'll agree with others that it's a good place to go, but nothing about it drives us back. All of us agreed it was better than Bazin's on Church, which we've given several tries. Price-wise it's probably about the same.

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#9 kirite

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 09:40 PM

This is a great little place! We went there tonight for the second time and had another very good meal. Apple salad with mesclun, blue cheese, pickled onions, and candied walnuts in a light oil and vinegar dressing; a rather small beet salad (a bit of a disappointment); and a very tasty mushroom risotto with zuccchini, shitake mushrooms, and melted gruyere.

The entire staff is gracious and professional. Did this space used to house a Dairy Queen. Nine tables and absolutely no ambience.

#10 Joe H

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 10:08 PM

Are you talking about the old location of Anita's in Vienna which had been there since the early '70's? Yes, it was a frozen custard stand before this but I still can't drive by it without thinking of Anita's. Probably a curse that it is going to have to overcome because of the history.

#11 kirite

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 09:43 PM

Really happy to see the Wa Po award 2 1/2 stars to the Maple Avenue Restaurant. I was unaware of the four seats in the tucked away bar.

#12 DrXmus

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:41 PM

Yeah, it's good to see them get some love from the Post (Candy Saigon). Hadn't Tom reviewed the restaurant before? I could've sworn they had an official big-time review a year or two ago. Do you think reviewers have a drinking game or some sort of bet involved with using the word "redolent" in a review? Has anyone seen the word used in any other writing but a restaurant review?

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#13 MsDiPesto

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 12:48 PM

Has anyone seen the word used in any other writing but a restaurant review?


My personal favorite use of the word is the NYT editorial in 1996 that described Pat Robertson running for office in New Hampshire. An excerpt:

"The Buchanan events here are Yankee versions of the kind of Dixie rallies Mr. Wallace introduced to national campaigns. These crowds are more redolent of the trailer park and the bowling alley than the country club. Some of the folks arrive in cars with rusted-out fenders. Sometimes when Mr. Buchanan warns them to "calm down," it is because he recognizes that a few of the pot-bellied boys in the back would be happy to throw a punch just for the recreation of it."

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#14 Food Nomad

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 01:18 PM

I'm new to the forums and I had to search for this thread (apologies for resurrecting!). I'm just curious why there isn't more talk about Maple Ave in here. It's definitely one of the better food experiences I've had since moving back to DC.

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#15 RWBooneJr.

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 03:39 PM

Maple Ave Restaurant is extremely important. It fills the proverbial “sweet spot” between everyday casual and fine dining, and pretty much defines what a really good, neighborhood mom-n-pop has the potential to be.

My young dining companion enjoyed a Dominion Root Beer ($2.50) while I nursed a Ludovicus Garnacha/Tempranillo/Syrah blend ($10).

I still haven’t had the heart to tell Matt about the special of Grilled Sweetbreads ($16) which I selfishly ordered for us to split as an appetizer, served with a finger-dabbing good caramel (yes, caramel) onion sauce over stone-ground grits, and a peppy, slaw-like apple-lime salad on the side.

“You’ve had sweetbreads before,” I told him.

“Yes, once,” he remembered. “Aren’t they … umm … kind of like … heart?”

“Nah … it’s more like veal cheeks,” I lied said.

While we both enjoyed them, the custardy texture was a bit … custardy for him, and so I made sure to give him the bulk of the wonderful cheese roll that came, hot and sliced, before the meal (see, I’m not all bad).

For the main course, I switched over to the superior Anciano Tempranillo ($9) which is the best red by the glass on their current list. And it paired so well with the Dr. Pepper Short Ribs ($26), Pineland Farms braised (oven-braised!) short ribs, also atop stone-ground grits, brunoise, and braise sauce. Without nitrates, you cannot get a pink color in oven-braised short ribs, and you don’t want one, either – why would you? While the portion size was very small, the quality of this dish (both in terms of ingredients (Dr. Pepper notwithstanding; how dare they not use Mr. Pibb) and execution) was excellent.

And another daily special which was on the printed menu the last time, a Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich ($14) and fries. This pork must surely be smoked in-house, and combined with the elegant application of sweet sauce, it was a great combination of flavors – chef Tim Ma has a knack for working sweetness into his savory dishes without it being the least bit condescending or cloying.

If I had one knock against Maple Ave Restaurant (and I do), it’s that it’s a bit expensive for 1) its building, which is simply decrepit from the outside, with the most challenging parking lot I’ve come across in quite some time, and 2) the portion sizes which tend to be on the small side. But for this type of quality, smack-dab in the middle of Vienna? I’m more than happy to give them a couple extra dollars of my money anytime.

I never realized there was a second dining area until shortly before we left – how could there be any room back there for anything other than a kitchen?

Well, I got my answers:

1) There are only four burners for the whole restaurant, so I assume we’re dealing with a fairly small kitchen here.

And the really funny one:

2) “Is there a bar?” I asked.

“Yes, but I think someone is sitting there right now,” replied GM Joey Hernandez.

Curious, we walked into the impossibly hidden side entrance, and poked our heads in. Sure enough, there’s a back dining area with several tables … and a bar with two – two! – barstools.

Demand is outstripping supply at Maple Ave Restaurant, and deservedly so. Will they expand? Well, they sort of did: congratulations to Tim and Joey – two of the proudest new parents you could ever want to meet!


Because the website's namesake didn't post his review here?

#16 darkstar965

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 05:47 PM

Every now and then--not often enough--I'm in an area I don't frequent and remember to check dr.com for a recc on a place I don't already know. More often I revert to known places or word-of-mouth reccs, especially in beyond-Arlington-VA which I don't know as well as close-in-VA, MD and DC.

Today I had a meeting that would end just before lunchtime out past Vienna. From Don's Dining Guide, I narrowed down possibilities to two spots which would be new for me, sounded good, and open for lunch. Choosing Maple Ave Restaurat (MAR) over a certain, very overlooked, Vietnamese spot, I headed over to Vienna.

HEADLINE

Good neighborhood fare with a smart business model and reasonable consumer value with specials.

VENUE

I won't write a lot about venue--or overall--since MAR is a known quantity already to many here on dr.com. The restaurant is very small with just nine tables. Maybe two four-tops and the rest for duos. I didn't ask to see the "bar" through the kitchen (written about upthread) but agree you'd never know anything was back there besides a small kitchen. Clean and bright dining room with a small host table holding menus right at the entrance. Plenty of parking in their own lot.

FOOD

I tried the baked mac & cheese and thought it very good. The pasta was al dente, somewhat unusual in a good way. And the mix of cheeses, gruyere, cheddar and at least one other, gave it nice flavor. Maybe a bit too heavy a hand on the panko atop the dish but overall, tasty.

As a main, I ordered the Moroccan chicken, a dish for which the restaurant seems well known. Served as a nicely seasoned leg and thigh with good char and crispiness to the skin, it came with roasted (grilled?) vegetables including bits of cabbage and carrot. Israeli cous cous completed the dish. I enjoyed it.

SERVICE

Very friendly and efficient. I read in one of the articles on the wall that the restaurant works to turn tables when busy at dinner in a way that seemed both respectful and sensitive to customers while also good for the restaurant's economics as a small volume spot.

My waiter didn't make me feel rushed but did pace the meal briskly and did a good job.

VALUE

My initial read was that the value at MAR wasn't so good but soon realized the opposite was true.

I respect what MAR is doing from a business perspective. My guess is their rent isn't too bad. The menu is quite limited with 5 or 6 starters and another 6 or so mains from which to choose; that keeps inventory/food costs manageable. They can operate with a small team of trained and capable staff and a clear focus on a menu which isn't stagnant, is at times inventive and good quality coming from the kitchen. Combined with pricing, it's easy to see how MAR is viable and can produce positive cash flow better than many others.

From a value perspective, it's perhaps a bit richly priced normally. The mac & cheese, a nice-sized portion, was listed at $12, higher than most in the area. The chicken with vegetables and cous cous prices at $19. $31 for lunch before any drink, tip or tax probably meets my standard for expensive given the simplicity of the place and its location but that's not my bottom line due to MAR's special.

For $20, one can choose any starter or a dessert ("sweet") with a main. So, lunch for $20 that would have been $31 otherwise is a good value. The special seems to be ongoing.

BOTTOM LINE

Fine food. Good value with their specials (a 3-course special is offered for dinner at $35). Not something to drive out to from MD or DC but absolutely worthwhile if in the area. Thanks Don, for your Dining Guide and for this recc!

#17 Genevieve

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:38 AM

We were out in Fairfax City with a relative Sunday morning, and found ourselves with time for brunch.  Checked the guide and found Maple Avenue Restaurant - thanks, Don, and the Rockwellians! 

It's a tiny place and the empty tables were reserved, but there was room at a table in the even tinier back room, sitting on barstools.  We had a really delicious brunch with creative ingredients -- husband had eggs with kimchi and Chinese sausage (which I tried and it was wonderful, with a tender texture and unexpected flavor), son had blueberry pancakes (and I had his homefries and applewood bacon -- textbook perfect homefries, nicely browned and no grease, crisp outside and soft inside, and bacon as browned as I've never had it - maybe it was caramelized - I loved every crisp bite).  I went for the lunch section of the menu and had scallops over coconut risotto with basil ice cream - the ice cream melted away into the risotto and made it even creamier (they must have had it at a not over-frozen temperature, it was cool but not icy), coconut flavor was nicely evident, and the scallops were gorgeously browned and not at all rubbery.

 

They had drinks from a British company whose name I have forgotten - I had ginger beer that had other herbal ingredients too, and I'm curious about the dandelion burdock drink.



#18 SeanMike

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:10 AM

They had drinks from a British company whose name I have forgotten - I had ginger beer that had other herbal ingredients too, and I'm curious about the dandelion burdock drink.

 

That would probably be Fentiman's.

 

Originally, when you got Fentiman's (say, at Ace Beverage) it was British, but they now produce it in Pennsylvania. I don't know if all the US-side products are made there or not now but from what I understand that was supposed to be the case.

 

(I love the stuff, and it's great to keep on-hand for non-drinkers at parties.)


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#19 Genevieve

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 03:45 PM

That was it, SeanMike.  It said it was produced somewhere in Canada, I think, and mentioned the original company in England somewhere on the label.


As a non-drinker, I am always pleased when a restaurant has good and/or interesting options.



#20 Kibbee Nayee

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 11:06 AM

Consider this a public thank-you for Tim Ma and Joey Hernandez for stepping up and helping me out with a glorious feast for the celebration and send-off of Lady KN's son, a Marine Lieutenant heading to Afghanistan.

 

What a feast! The mains were very ample quantities of the Dr. Pepper Ribs, 1-2-3 Shrimp, and Lemongrass Chicken. The sides were a Dill Potato Salad, Chicken and Agar Salad, and Cherry and Green Tomato Salad. Accompanying the feast was a generous tray of two different cupcakes with Marine Insignias on top.

 

Everything was excellent. The Ribs were fall-off-the-bone tender and loaded with flavor. The 1-2-3 Shrimp swam in a delicious sauce that was sopped up by the aromatic rice that came on the side. The Lemongrass Chicken was tender and flavorful and came with a wonderful spicy brown sauce that was good enough to drink by the shot. The sides were fantastic, and Lady KN couldn't get enough of the Dill Potato Salad. I found the Cherry and Green Tomatos Salad to be nicely refreshing on a hot day, and having not enjoyed agar before, I found the Chicken and Agar Salad to be well balanced and a nice treat.

 

The cupcakes were really delicious. One version was a chocolate and peanut butter icing on a rich chocolate cupcake with a peanut butter plug in the center. I'm not a sweets person at all, but I wolfed down one of those and would have tackled another one if there were any left. The other cupcakes were white frosted over a vanilla cupcake with a plug of sweet fruity goodness in the center.

 

For any of you Rockwellians considering a catered feast in the future, this is your place. Just hand over the details to Joey and Tim, and sit back and enjoy. For us, one Marine Lieutenant had the best meal he's going to have in the next 9-12 months, and that alone was worth it.

 

Maple Ave Restaurant is a spare little place off the main drag in Vienna, but there's some serious cooking coming out of that kitchen. I'm a big fan, Tim and Joey, and I'll be there often in the future.


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#21 thistle

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 05:59 PM

Hope he has an uneventful tour, semper fi....it's great to get a good meal before you leave, & get together with your family.

#22 Tim Ma

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 09:05 PM

Was MORE than glad to do it.  Hope everything turned out well and only best wishes and prayers to your Marine Lieutenant.   


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#23 yuzuman

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Posted 23 September 2013 - 05:02 PM

Staycation without much planning led us to wandering around Vienna and Maple Ave Restaurant for lunch. We got there right around 11 and our group were the only ones there. They are running a $20 lunch special (Monday to Friday only, I believe) that was a good deal - pick a small plate and a main plate, or a main plate and a sweet plate. With three people, we had the chance to try get a good read on the current offerings. Everything we tried was well done. Standouts were the shrimp and grits and the scallops (scallops very well seared, but the basil ice cream added great creaminess and basil flavor and stole the show). Some dishes were a bit rich, particularly the ones with risotto, but since we were sharing plates, it wasn't overwhelmingly so. Also really enjoyed the yuzu lime pie - I'd love to see more places using yuzu. The chocolate bread pudding was decadent and great for chocolate lovers, but I think I enjoyed the more subdued yuzu lime pie more.

#24 webbo

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Posted 23 December 2013 - 11:58 AM

Went there with my wife for our anniversary last month, and was really pleased, particularly liked the scallops and basil ice cream, and the chocolate coffee stout beer float!  Now I want to try Water and Wall.







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