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Water & Wall, by the Owners of Maple Ave. Restaurant - Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square

Arlington Virginia Square Modern American

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#1 DonRocks

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 05:56 PM

It's too soon to break this news, but unfortunately, ARLnow.com got ahold of public records, and is going to break the story if I don't. So, with the blessings of Tim Ma and Joey Hernandez ...

 

Tim and Joey, the owners of Maple Ave. Restaurant in Vienna, will be opening Water & Wall at 3811 N. Fairfax Drive in Virginia Square (in the old Pines of Florence space).

 

"Water and Wall" is the intersection of where Tim and Joey lived in New York City when Tim was attending the French Culinary Institute, and interning at Momofuku Ko.

 

In Joey's words, "It was in that building that we started to draft our ideas of owning a restaurant. We created menus there, created dishes there, etc. So, essentially, it was where the dream was born."

 

The style of cuisine, and values of the restaurant, will carry over from Maple Ave. Restaurant, but Water and Wall will have its own identity.

 

There is no word at all on an opening date, although it may well be in 2013. Tim and I talked about some of his culinary visions awhile back, but things are just too nascent and dynamic to even discuss.

 

So I'm sorry this news is out so soon, but I'm happy to say congratulations, both to Tim and Joey, and also to the residents of Virginia Square.

 

Cheers,

Rocks

 

P.S., also in Joey's own words: "In terms of Maple Ave: Our sous chef Nyi Nyi Mint will take over tomorrow as Chef De Cuisine. Nyi Nyi will also help out with Water & Wall. Nyi Nyi was trained by David Thompson, chef and creator of Nahm in London. Nyi Nyi also spent time in London's Hakkasan before it was bought out by corporate. Tim will continue to be the Executive Chef for Maple Ave."

 

P.P.S. Sorry for the earlier, cloddish Tweets - I was half-asleep (just woke up from a much-needed nap!)


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#2 DrXmus

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:59 AM

Vienna Patch has name-dropped donrockwell.com in their article on the new restaurant.


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#3 ktmoomau

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 12:59 PM

This is exciting, it is right down the street from me.  (Doing the happy dance.)


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#4 cheezepowder

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Posted 27 October 2013 - 01:02 PM

Water and Wall is getting close to opening!  They have updates on their Facebook page.

 

An EaterDC article in September said Nov. 1 was the scheduled opening date, and in this Oct. 25 Zagat preview interview with Tim Ma and Joey Hernandez, Tim Ma says the target date is [still] Nov. 1! 

 

I'm looking forward to trying Water and Wall when it opens, especially because I haven't been able to try Maple Ave Restaurant yet.



#5 cheezepowder

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Posted 28 October 2013 - 08:29 PM

Opening on Sat, Nov. 2 via Northern Virginia Magazine.  They also have the menu.



#6 DonRocks

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Posted 29 October 2013 - 11:54 AM

Opening on Sat, Nov. 2 via Northern Virginia Magazine.  They also have the menu.

Vienna Patch has name-dropped donrockwell.com in their article on the new restaurant.

 

This is great news for the residents of Virginia Square.

 

In case anyone hasn’t figured it out by now, I’m grateful when media outlets name-drop us. It’s the correct and professional thing to do, and something that I will always aspire to, in terms of accrediting my fellow journalists for their original work.


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#7 Bart

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Posted 18 January 2014 - 10:33 AM

Anyone been to this place yet?

 

Taking Don's advice from my question in the "help needed" forum, my wife and I stopped by this place last night.  We had very limited time between work and a 7 pm commitment so we only got drinks and apps.

 

There were lots of parking spots available on the street and we parked directly in front of the place.  Surprising for a Friday night I thought.  We got there a little after 6 (in time for free parking) and left a little after 7.  The place looked fairly empty, but we were there early and stayed only in the bar area.  When you walk in, there's a 10 or so seats at the bar and a few low tables with seating for another 10 or so.  The main restaurant is to the right of the door/bar area and we never went in there so I'm not sure what what happening in there.

 

The service was great - very friendly, casual, fun and attentive.  Our main server was the bartender but we also interacted with a couple other women (hostess and manager maybe?).  They were all very hot!  ;-)  When we sat down our server/bartender asked if she could check our coats and we said no thanks, but a couple minutes later my wife's coat slipped off the chair next to her and when she picked it up to stuff it in the corner, the hostess noticed this and ran over and asked if she could check it for us.  Nice catch on her part!  A little later in the meal, a third woman (manager?) stopped by and asked how our food was and if the wings were too hot.  I sort of joked that they could be hotter and she immediately offered to bring out some hotter sauce.  It wasn't at all necessary, and we had a nice chat about the place and how they are going to expanding the menu and offering new dishes.

 

The menu itself was pretty small.  You can see it on their site, but there were only maybe 10 entrees and 10 apps.  (just checked....it's actually 9 of each).  They also had an additional appetizer and main course special that was not on the menu.  Actually the menu online is similar but different to the one we saw last night.

 

Since our time was short, we only ordered apps, but they had happy hour specials on 3 apps and a couple mixed drinks and a few whites, reds and one rose.  They all looked to be about half price from the regular menu.

 

We got the octopus special which was good, but not as tender as the most recent one I had at Kapnos.  We also got the steak frites with truffle aioli, chicken wings with your typical buffalo wing sauce spruced up with creme fraiche, and the sweet breads.  The sweet breads were served on a bed of relish and covered with the (now) very spicy wing sauce (this time without the creme fraiche).  It was a very interesting combo that worked well.  The sweet breads themselves were melt in your mouth delicious......they could be "tongue chewed".  No teeth required!  They were my favorite dish of the night.

 

Four glasses of wine and four appetizers only cost us 63 bucks before tip (happy hour pricing) but because of the great service the meal ended up being just shy of $80!   ;-)

 

This is not really a convenient area for us to get to, and it's not close to home, but if I'm ever in the area again, I'd make a effort to go back.  Two thumbs up!


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#8 BookGuy

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Posted 03 February 2014 - 12:46 PM

I went there on Saturday with a couple I know.  We arrived early at five pm and the place wasn't crowded but there were some people at the bar.  We shared a sweet potato gnocchi small plate which was fine.  I had the bouliabasse which was a nice dish of various sea foods which was, true to the menu's warning, spicy and hot, a tribute to the chef's Thai background.  The couple got a duck confit and hanger steak which they said was good.  I do know that the Post's critics recommended both.  The wine is served in water glasses.  When we left, the place was crowded and there were quite a few groups of young women dining together.  The restaurant has ample street parking, free after six, and is very close to both the Virginia Square and Ballston Metro stops.

 

The name Water and Wall comes from the intersection near where the chef/owner lived in New York.



#9 jiveturk21

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Posted 20 February 2014 - 02:34 PM

Went with a large group on Monday night.  We got there early (5:30 PM) and it was President's Day and there was snow on the ground, so we had the run of the restaurant for a while.  Service was great, I would say it was nearly perfect.  Food was close to that level as well, particularly the sweetbreads, duck confit and pecan shortbread.  Bar was limited, but had good choices.  Limited selection on the wine list as well, but again, pretty good choices (although I always want a larger wine list).

 

When it comes down to it, this is the best restaurant that I have been to all year at this point.  I won't say that it is at the top level of restaurants in the area, but it isn't trying to be that either.  Almost perfect for what it is.



#10 Genevieve

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 11:33 AM

We've had two top-notch dinners here, one several months ago, one a couple of weeks ago.  I highly recommend it.  Food was delicious and inventive, service was excellent.

 

Most recently, I had two appetizers for my dinner:  potato gnocchi with English peas, morels, and crème fraiche as a starter, and softshell crab in cornmeal tempura with spinach, old bay aioli and pickled ramps as my second course.  The gnocchi were tender, the peas were not cooked to mush but more al dente and were bursting with fresh flavor (much better than I've managed to get at the grocery store - I love English peas but it's hard to find them fresh or young enough to be sweet), and the morels were lovely and deep-tasting.  A terrific starter.

The softshell was great - very lightly battered and with a crisp coating, on the small side but I didn't mind.  The vegetables complemented it very well, and I am not a fan of Old Bay (I feel it overwhelms the sweet crab taste) but in aioli it's the first time I've liked it with crab, since the spices were much milder when balanced with the aioli. 

 

My husband had the mixed green salad with blueberries, goat cheese, candied walnuts, and sherry vinaigrette, which was delicious (really good goat cheese and blueberries), and beef brisket with cheerwine sauce, smoked whipped potatoes, and mustard greens (nicely peppery tasting to complement the richness of the meat and potatoes).  He didn't leave any behind, and I thoroughly enjoyed my bite.

 

For dessert, he had the peanut butter chocolate tart with graham cracker crust, chocolate ganache, and peanut butter mousse, which he said was terrific.  It looked wonderful (I'm not eating chocolate so I didn't try it).  I had my only mild disappointment of the night, a shortbread with butterscotch that isn't on the online menu - the butterscotch sauce was marvelous but the shortbread itself was rather dry, as shortbread tends to be (the ice cream on top helped).

 

One tiny caveat, as I'm usually a mocktail/nonalcoholic drink recommender -- their nonalcoholic sodas are Fentiman's, which were great, but turn out to have a small amount of alcohol in them (so small as to be allowed to be marked as nonalcoholic).  Not a problem for most people, but if you really need to avoid alcohol as I do, it's a problem.  Next time I'll see what kind of mocktail they can make, and I bet it'll be a good one.

 

So if you're anywhere near the Virginia Square area, definitely eat here!!



#11 Lori Gardner

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 09:49 PM

Ate here this past weekend and was very impressed.  I began with a cocktail that I can honestly say was the best I've ever had- "moonshine," truffle oil, honey, and mint.  Worth the trip from the Maryland suburbs just for this.  But wait- the food is also destination worthy.  I had a starter of seared diver scallops with yuzu, dashi, and cucumber-daikon noodles, which were perfectly cooked and a generously portioned.  For an entree- harissa marinated lamb top sirloin. The sous vide meat was incredibly tender, the flavors unbelievably good.  What makes it all the more impressive are the prices.  Lamb at $22?  I consider it a bargain.  I became a fan of Chef Tim Ma after a visit to Maple Ave. Water and Wall is a bit more formal, but equally appealing.  


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#12 ktmoomau

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 10:55 AM

This place was fairly busy for a Sunday night, but for the price and quality it should be busier.  I myself am at fault for not visiting previously.  I have been trying to get there but other places have just come up.  I love the decor on the inside.  That is something hard to gauge from the outside with the tinted windows, but the inside is really lovely.

 

We got a bottle of wine, Sunday and Monday is 1/2 price bottle of wine nights.  I had the scallops with dashi and yuzu and cucumber noodles.  This dish wasn't exactly what I expected, but it was very good and refreshing.  It could have used a bit more dashi and yuzu flavor though.  the scallops were perfect though and I really liked the "noodles" made out of cucumber.  I also had the softshell crab with spinach and old bay aioli.  This was a great dish, the softshell was prepared perfectly, not too much crust, not fried too much.  It was excellent.  I like the spinach and aioli with it, as well, I thought all the flavors melded well.  Hubby had the five spice chicken, which was a really good dish.  The black rice was so good and the chicken was juicy with great flavor.  I always love it when a restaurant can make chicken shine.  Especially when they have chicken preparations I wouldn't make at home.  The rice was just so good.  We ended with a really good chocolate, peanut butter tart and strawberry shortcake.  Both were excellent.  Our final bill with tip was a little over $100 which I think is very reasonable for bottle of wine, 2 apps, 1 entree and 2 desserts, especially given the quality.  I will be back here.  In fact, I would really like to arrange a DR dinner here.  I think it would be a great place for us, as the apps and entrees I think are very reasonable for the price.   


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#13 DonRocks

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Posted 23 June 2014 - 11:00 AM

In fact, I would really like to arrange a DR dinner here.  I think it would be a great place for us, as the apps and entrees I think are very reasonable for the price.   

 

Do it on a Sunday or Monday night - they're right off the Virginia Square Metro and wines would be half-price. Tim would be happy to design a menu for us - just let me know.


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#14 durwoodx

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Posted 01 July 2014 - 04:29 PM

I stumbled on this place for a quick early dinner a few months ago. It was so good I have been back twice since. Great bar service. Startlingly inexpensive dinner specials (at the bar). Possibly the best duck confit I have had in the region. To my mind this is the most unappreciated restaurant in Arlington if not perhaps even wider afield. 


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#15 anhdeluxe

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 02:03 PM

I have only been here for brunch twice but happy with my experiences both times. The second time I found out that they don't do their prix fixe brunch tasting menu any more but ended up getting a starter and a main and it was enough and not too much food. I got the charcuterie plate and Texas French toast; my friend got mussels and crabcake eggs Benedict. My charcuterie was about five small slices of duck proscuitto (nothing wrong with it, tasty) and a little ramekin of chicken liver mousse that I could have eaten all day. I wanted to scrape the last bits up and lick the dish. Accompaniments were three long toast points, a dollop of grainy mustard, thin slices of dill pickle and pickled ramps. My French toast was three sliced of thin bread seasoned with cinnamon and garnished with a berry compote and served with three slices of excellent bacon and a pot of maple syrup. I finished everything and it was just right. I sampled a mussel that was steamed in PBR and corn with bacon - nothing wrong there. The crab cake egg Benedict was just that - one large crabcake, one poached runny egg. It looked really good. We shared two French presses of coffee that got really strong as I got to the end and so there was a fair amount of sludge on the bottom of my mug but otherwise, no complaints. I have vowed to come back for dinner sometime soon - maybe a DR dinner, hmmm?

#16 d-harp

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 03:07 PM

Based on what I'm seeing here, my first experience at Water & Wall was an anomaly in both food and service.

 

Went in for brunch on Sunday around 12:45pm. We stood around for a few minutes since no one was at the host stand. When someone finally appeared, we were asked to have a seat at the bar because they had run out of menus. (But I could see brunch menus in the rack...) We indicated that we were still waiting for one person to complete our party of three and that we would prefer to just be seated at our table and could wait for menus there. I (hopefully?) jokingly said, "Well, I don't need a menu to know I'd like some coffee..." We were seated at a large banquette in the far corner of the restaurant. Our third person arrived several minutes later and we still hadn't been acknowledged by anyone. The person who seated us came back with water and said, "You said something about a coffee?" After a conversation about the iced (bottled? Huh?) coffee versus hot (French press), we ordered hot.

 

A different person came to take our food order. There was some delay when the server told us there was only one order of French toast left (and two of the party wanted that) and she went to the kitchen to double check. We ended up ordering:

 

French Texas Toast | Berry Compote | Grade A Maple Syrup | Applewood Bacon $10

Not very Texas Toast-y. There were three halves of normal sized bread, two slices of (kind of sad looking) bacon and a fruit topping that seemed mostly pieces of fruit, not sauce. Syrup was not included when the food was brought to the table (by a runner, not the person who seated us or our server), but quickly appeared when we asked our server. We didn't understand how they could have run out of the dish already when the portion size seemed so small. Overall, disappointing. (Full disclosure: I did not try this dish as I am not a huge fan of French toast.)

 

Crab Cake Benedict | MD Lump Crab Cake | Poached Egg | Hollandaise $12

Side of Potato Hash $4

This dish included one crab cake on a half an English muffin, two poached eggs and Hollandaise sauce, because no sides came with the dish, we ordered a side of potato hash. The crab cake was good, but not great and the eggs were just a hair underdone for my taste. (There were bits of the white that weren't opaque.) I thought the Hollandaise sauce had a bright, citrusy flavor. The hash didn't include peppers or onions or anything else, but were fine. I only mention that it was just potatoes because in my mind that's not hash, it's home fries. But that's probably just me...

 

Pickle Brined Chicken Sandwich | Fried Chicken Breast | Pickles | Lettuce | Aioli | Cheddar | Side Salad $14

I didn't really taste the pickle brine flavor like I thought I would, but the chicken was crispy on the outside (although the breading did separate from the meat in some places) and juicy on the inside. There were three thin pickle slices, melted cheese and fresh lettuce on the sandwich. The side salad was dressed with a vinaigrette and included diced tomatoes.

 

I had pretty high expectations based friends' experiences at Maple Ave. Restaurant (I"ve never been) and what I read about Water & Wall here. I will try it again, but probably not for brunch.


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#17 DonRocks

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 08:13 PM

I had pretty high expectations based friends' experiences at Maple Ave. Restaurant (I"ve never been) and what I read about Water & Wall here. I will try it again, but probably not for brunch.

 

d-harp, I'm "Liking" your review purely on content; not because I revel in a less-than-stellar writeup for Tim and Joey.

 

My guess - although I've never had brunch here - is that you had a one-off meal, although I can't be sure because I just don't know their brunch. Regardless, thank you for your candor, and I'm sure Tim will appreciate your write-up even thought it might be something of a bitter pill.

 

Tim is about to open his third restaurant, and he should perhaps pause and take note of this.


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#18 durwoodx

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 09:11 PM

I hate to post anything negative about a restaurant that I have otherwise adored, but....

 

Stopped in for the happy hour bar deal I have had a few times before. A new bartender greets me. Ask for all the menus and after they are brought out I inquire (since I suck at memory): "How does the bar special work? Is it any appetizer and any entree or just a selected few?"

 

Bartender: "Oh, you mean our happy hour special? Yeah, we discontinued that. It's still being advertised a few places, but we aren't doing it anymore."

 

Me: "Ummmm....it's kind of the reason I'm here." 

 

Bartender: "It's been discontinued."

 

While I end up having some decent scallops and an astounding new entree of Pork Shoulder (seriously, it was REALLY good) the way that went down left me feeling a bit off. You're still advertising it a few places but not honoring it? Poor form. 


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#19 DonRocks

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Posted 09 October 2014 - 09:38 PM

While I end up having some decent scallops and an astounding new entree of Pork Shoulder (seriously, it was REALLY good) the way that went down left me feeling a bit off. You're still advertising it a few places but not honoring it? Poor form. 

 

A second very useful post that I'm sure Tim and Joey will appreciate (in the long term). You two are not some random people off the street with axes to grind; you're seasoned diners whose opinions mean a lot.

 

Water & Wall has nothing to worry about; they're a good restaurant, and are probably doing just fine - don't feel bad about telling the truth as you see it.


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#20 Tim Ma

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Posted 11 October 2014 - 07:55 PM

Sorry I'm so late to the reply, thank you Don for bringing it to my attention.  

 

First, I'm personally sorry for the experiences d-harp and durwoodx had at Water & Wall.  Service like that right off the bat will kill any meal and we obviously accomplished that.  To top it off with sad food is well.... sad.  Sad for you, more sad for me.  Please PM me so I can make it right for you, and thanks for these reviews, they will help me correct what is wrong for everyone as soon as I can.  

 

We are coming up on a year very soon, these are issues I would have hoped to be worked out by now (but obviously not) and I'll work hard to get it right by then.

 

Feedback deeply appreciated, I always say I don't want to know what's going well, I want to know what's NOT going well.  

 

Tim Ma

tim@mapleaverestaurant.com

 

 


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#21 outsideshot

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Posted 17 October 2014 - 04:05 PM

One thing that is going well is the duck confit! My wife had it recently, proclaimed it the best she has had, and limited me to but one bite.







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