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Anyone been to Ranazul in Maple Lawn?

I see where they opened last week, it's the new tapas rest. across the street from Oz. Just looking for feedback...

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  1. I have lived here 22 years and never heard of Maple Lawn. A google search took me right to the website, but then I had to poke around the website to find out where this town is. Well, it isn't a town. It's a planned (plastic?) community near Columbia, just south of Rte. 32. This place just opened in August and according to its website, it is owned by the people who own Sierra's Grill in Beltsville.

    And according to the website, they just opened...YESTERDAY (Sept. 19).

    1 Reply
    1. re: Just Visiting

      in other words, just south of that other planned plastic community

    2. the architecture at Maple Lawn is really nice...I wouldnt be so closed minded, probably 100 years ago Brooklyn, NY brownstones were considered plastic.

      10 Replies
      1. re: nellnp

        > the architecture at Maple Lawn is really nice...

        Nice compared to what? I haven't been there in person, but the photos on their website don't seem terribly interesting.

        What makes me want to gag the most, though, is the name "Maple Lawn".

        1. re: Hal Laurent

          I don't know why. Maple Lawn is the name of the large family run turkey farm just a minute a way. Best Thanksgving turkeys ever. Agree with nellnp.

          1. re: cocoagirl

            Maybe it is just me, but any name with the word "lawn" makes me think of a cemetery. And it makes me very sad that all this open space/ag land is now one more banal planned community. The brownstones in Brooklyn could withstand a nuclear blast. The plastic siding in Maple Lawn? Well, let's just say that the plastic siding on the megamillions McMansions they built on my street is already looking like crap. I will be eager to hear about Ranazul, though. There isn't much between Balt and DC - Iron Bridge is one good choice. We've tried Tersiguel's FOUR times and never once had a good meal. It makes me think that location IS everything - when you are the only half-way decent restaurant for miles around, no real competition, you don't have to be all that good. We've even had burnt food served to us there. I just don't get why this place is popular. So if Ranazul is good, it will be a welcome addition.

            So, Nellnp - how was it? Though the website on the menu is only a partial menu, it looks interesting. I happen to be a big fan of tappas, mezzes, etc - so I don't have to make up my mind!

            Has anyone been to their other restaurant?

            1. re: Just Visiting

              (..The plastic siding in Maple Lawn?..)

              Well I can tell you don't live in Maple Lawn. Plastic siding is not allowed in ML. It's all Concrete Hardiplank Siding which is NOT the same thing. I was the 7th person to close on my house in 2005 and have already moved within this community to another home. Please don't talk about something you know nothing about. Thanks!

              1. re: burrowbk

                burrowbk,

                Do you know anything about the estimated opening date for the new Harris Teeter @ ML?

                    1. re: LGood

                      The outside of the building looks done, and they have covered most of it with bricks. I figured that six months was enough time to build out the inside. Although you may be right because that first Harris Teeter seemed to take *forever* for them to build and open.

                      The Maple Lawn developer was talking Fall 2009 in December: http://www.maplelawnmd.com/news/harri...

                  1. re: mdfoodlover

                    I just heard from a friend that Harris Teeder has pulled out of maple lawn. With the building all but completed... not sure what the developer will do now... I keep everyone posted on what I hear.

                    1. re: burrowbk

                      That is really a shame. My wife & I were looking forward to a conveniently located quality grocery store.

        2. Im going tonight to Ranazul's, so Ill let you know.

          6 Replies
          1. re: nellnp

            So....Nelln...was it so good you went into a swoon and haven't recovered yet? or was it so bad you are still hanging over the porcelain water feature? Don't keep us in suspense!

            1. re: Just Visiting

              Been to Ranazul and sat at the bar. I only had 2 of their small plates and I cant recall the names of either one (the website menu is not helpful). One was a sausage over mashed potato - extremely salty, not good and honestly I do not recall the other plate but it was better than the first. Their beer selection is limited 4 and their wine I guess compensates for that. The whole place smells like a furniture store since its so brand new - leather and wood polish to be exact.

              One thing I noticed about the restaurants in Maple Lawn including oZ. (better of the three) and Trapeze (terrible food), is that they hire plenty of 18 year olds that are not very much experienced. Nothing against the youth who are making their living but their level of service is quite not there with my own experiences in eating in finer establishments. They're helpful, yet not really mature enough to even know what wine is good with what like what happened to us at Trapeze. We gave Trapeze another chance but my wife and I will never go back there again. While at Ranazul, the wait staff kept coming to the bar, non-discretely, asking for the wine pairings and they had no clue. Why ask the bartender for this? One would think they'll have a sommelier for a restaurant that seems to have much to offer.

              I live across Rt. 29 near Maple Lawn in another "plastic" neighborhood Cherry Tree Park. And yes I would rather be in brownstone in either Mt. Vernon or Bolton Hill in Baltimore. Interestingly, there is a new area within Maple Lawn being built called Bolton Hill - townhouses with elevators - there is too much money in this world! (Had a friend that visited from Paris and he was floored when I told him about this - he lives in one of those grand old Parisian apt building on the 7th floor without an elevator!) Maple Lawn is pretty and almost Disneyland-like, BUT will take a few more generations and a test of time for it to have true character and charm as those older and much more real ones.

              1. re: ericm

                I need to respectfully disagree with you regarding Trapeze. My wife and I have eaten there at least three times and our only complaint was the noise that a large party made on one of those visits. The food we ordered each time was really good and the service was fine. I can't understand your problem. As far as townhouses with elevators are concerned, they undoubtedly are for seniors who are downsizing.

                1. re: skipper

                  We have only been at the restaurant twice. The first time was when they only have been open for a few months. We sat at the back dining room and the food was not that good for the price that we paid. We had let that one slide being that they were new. Let me tell you of our second visit which was just last month (we were looking for redemption, but alas none was at hand):
                  - I had their mussels - absolutely bland. I had tastier ones in cheaper places. I asked for a medium New York Strip, I got a well done one.
                  - We sat outside and our table was extremely shaky and not balanced. We mentioned it to our waiter and she got us something after our THIRD request and I had to crawl under there myself. The restaurant that evening was not busy at all.
                  - As we were finishing our appetizers, someone came out again with the same ones and saw that we already got our food. In retrospect, I should have asked for it - maybe it would have been better.
                  - We are not wine drinkers, so we make it a point to ask what would be good for our food. Our waitress said "I'm sorry I'm only 18" and she just left it at that. The better answer would be "Let me go get someone who can assist you." Don't you agree?
                  I always rate service one the same line as food especially for expensive restaurants such as Trapeze. Maybe our third try would be better, but who knows; I have to ask my wife for that and she already says No.

                  And for the elevator townhouse, they start at 4,000 square foot - hardly downsizing even for a family of 5! And I can't bear the thought of my own ailing parents getting trapped in one of those if and when they malfunction. God forbid my parents would get a heart attack or worse...

                  1. re: ericm

                    Geez this thread is rather harsh. People seem to have forgotten that only a few years ago the suburbs were a total wasteland foodwise, and anything in the direction of non-chain, modern eateries is more than welcome in Howard County, trust me.

                    I went to Trapeze and thought it was terrific, and was stunned that anything of this caliber could exist in this area now. The prices are moderate and the portions are generous considering how good the food is. Service was adequate, if a little lackadaisical, but ultimately I care more about the food anyway which was wonderful. As far as Maple Lawn goes, I'd take plastic and pretty anyday over cramped, old, overpriced and dirty, which is how most of the Northeast has become. People are friggin spoiled to complain about that place.

                    1. re: jeanki

                      Oh, I couldn't agree more. Trapeze has become our favorite restaurant. The food is terrific, and the service generally is as well.

          2. We went to Ranazul last night and I can't say it was a pleasant experience. While my drink came out relatively quickly, my friend had to wait at least 20 minute for her wine, and this was after the waitress and the "wine geek" came over to the table and explained that my friend's first choice of wine was not available. It was only after we complained to the manager that she got her wine served. Similarly, with our cold appetizers, we waited at least 30 minutes, and not until we got the manager involved, did the food come out from the kitchen. The waitress did not once check on our table during this time. We then put in our orders for hot tapas and, of course, since the manager was already taking care of us, they came out relatively quickly. We also had to ask the busboy for bread and olive oil and we had to order the olives off of the menu. In my opinion, these two staples of a tapas restaurant should be put on the table as soon as the patrons are seated and water is served. We should not have to pay for olives!! In favor, of the restaurant, once we did get our food, everything tasted very good. The manager did give us drinks and a small dessert plate on the house. It seemed that we got better service from the busboys than we did our waitress. A lot of quirks need to be worked out before I would go back to this restaurant. In fact, the owner's son came over to our table, and when we asked him what he would do if he had to wait this long for food, he said he would probably leave and go somewhere else!!

            1. I liked the appetizers, but that is all I had. Seemed a little pricey.

              1. I have read the reviews on this site and I have to disagree with most. Like many new restaurants, the kinks need to be worked out. The food is absolutely delicious and the only problem I have concerns the waiters. On a slow day, they get it right but when they are really busy, they just aren't experienced enough. However, it is improving. I highly recommend you try it out and have the Arapas, Tuna tar tar and the filet on a portabella mushroom. For drinks they have some great wines but if you are looking for a great martini try the French Martini (have John the Bar Manager make it - his are the best).

                1. I just went with a friend last night after reading all these reviews, and the Post's review, etc. I was hoping they had worked out service problems and was looking forward to great tapas and a great environment. I am sad to report I had one of the most surreal and disappointing dining experiences ever. The ambience is forced and fake. I can tell I'm sitting in a glorified office park. The waiter ran over asking if we waited long--they've been working on consistent, good service. That was a good sign I thought. Water and bread arrived quickly. The waiter recommended a great wine. I was excited.

                  The food: first off the menu is very short for tapas, and these are not traditional tapas as the name of the restaurant would suggest, but fusion tapas. We ordered 5 dishes between two of us (both women). The scallops and gnochi was tasty, but the gnochi was a bit off in texture, but still good. The fried calamari and shrimp were overfried to the point we couldn't eat them they were so chewy. The dipping sauces amounted to mayo and salsa in taste and texture. The fried potato cubes were eh at best. Think home fries. Again, the dipping sauces were the same mayo and salsa. There's no aoili in sight... despite hints of "we ordered more dishes, right?" and a direct request for more wine, twice, it took longer to get our remaining dishes. The corn cake with shrimp, tomato and crab was ok. The cake was too sweet, the shrimp were ok, tho a bit small. Small threads of crab. Again, it was OK. We got the mussels and were warned it had a heavy cilantro flavor. We love mussels and cilantro--go for it! Ugh, we didn't finish this one either (or the potatoes)--there was no cilantro taste despite it being in a pureed green sauce, it was just bitter.

                  Then as we are still eating, a woman bussing the next table placed the other table's empty dishes on our table! She was stacking dirty dishes on the table we were still eating from!!!! I loudly made a comment to give her a head's up, but it went over her head. Then our second glass of wine finally came at the end of our meal which we sent back since we were done eating already.

                  I told the waiter about the stacking of dishes--he apologized and told the manager who nicely came over and said he was as horrified as we were. He asked for details of our night so I was honest about it all. He then proceeded to make excuses, as did our waiter, of how everyone else loves their food and he's working on consistent service, and they're short-staffed tonight and all restaurants newly opened have hiccups....not the response I was looking for. He comped us dessert and coffee, which was nice.

                  But the chocolate souffle was only mediocre at best, and I love anything chocolate. And it was really a lava cake, not a souffle. The carrot cake was in fact a carrot jelly roll cake, but good. Their proclaimed homemade ice cream as garnishes--eck. They would be better of scooping haagen-daz. And then my coffee was spilled all over my saucer as they poured it, and they cleared the saucer and spoon away while I was still drinking my coffee!!! When I pointed that out, he just said Oh. No offer for a fresh set was made.

                  I have never had such an awful dining experience, and it was not a cheap bill. I won't be going back there again and couldn't recommend anyone else go! If I want good tapas I'll hike to Bethesda for Jaleo's next time!

                  1. Well, having been a resident of maple lawn since 2005, here's what I know of the restaurants. Ranazul has a limited tapas menu, which is tasty, but overpriced considering what you could get at a retaurant in Baltimore or D.C. It's convenient to those of us who live in the middle of the two cities, however, affording 3 and a half to 4 star cuisine without making it an event to get there.
                    Of the three restaurants currently there, Oz, Trapeze, and Ranazul (a barbecue place is supposed to open near the John's Hopkin's side of the neighborhood in a few years, among possible others) I personally like Trapeze best, as the food is good, service is good, and the menu's change seasonally so that there's always surprises. They currently have a Snowball dessert that is to die for if you like toffee and ice cream. The downside to that is that something that may have been your favorite may no longer be there after only a few months.
                    Having said that, OZ has a very good lunch menu featuring sandwiches that don't appear during dinner hours. I tend to favor OZ for lunch and Trapeze for dinner. I do not frequent Ranazul as much because the expense doesn't justify the terrible service and the less than 5 star cuisine. OZ reminds me of a Ruths Chris wannabe, but its not a bad place and the decor is interesting.
                    Trapeze is the best place to go for happy hour. It boasts the largest bar seating areas and has hip laid back decor. OZ has a dedicated bar section set away from the main restaurant and specializes in several unique martini concoctions, but it is not as large as Trapeze and the martini's are expensive. Ranazul has a smallish bar area, and I haven't been to their happy hour, mostly because getting wine there generally takes about as long as it did to grow the grapes.

                    And to those of you knocking Maple Lawn it truly smacks of jealousy for not being able to live there. The neighborhood is very beautifully planned and it takes its name from the farm on which it was built. The builders Mitchell and Best and Miller and Smith take great care to vary the houses from street to street so that no house on any street has the same front as any other. The townhouses especially around the pool area are very beautiful. Mitchell and Best is not one of those builders that builds McMansions. They go for style and class. In fact there are only 5 houses in the whole community right now that could even be classified as a Mcmansion. And no more of that sort will be built until the 3rd phase several years from now. Each one of those "McMansions" has a unique front. They wouldn't even let you pick similar materials and paint colors as someone next to you and not one of them has a price tag that registers in the "millions" while some of them are over a million, there are many many homes that were sold in the 600k-800k range. The very reason why no chain restaurants exist in Maple Lawn is the planner's commitment to uniqueness. Every single business in that community is privately owned and if it has more than one location it is only 1 or 2 that are local. The only chain to enter Maple Lawn so far was the Quiznos which has since closed. You will not find many other pre-planned "plastic" communities that can boast the same thing. I'm not being elitist about being able to afford living in Maple Lawn either. My three years living there has been as a renter of a couple rooms of one of the houses; I could never hope to afford to own one of these beautiful homes.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Amalfia

                      There is already a BBQ place off of Johns Hopkins Road. Smokey Hollow was there, but they closed. Just two weeks ago a new BBQ place opened - Klobys (http://www.klobysbbq.com/Klobys_BBQ/H...). While not technically in Maple Lawn, it is pretty much right across the street. I'm looking forward to trying it out.

                      1. re: steinre1

                        I didn't know the Kloby's was open yet. The one near Security Mall isn't too bad.

                        I also like Oz Chophouse. They've got a nice touch on basics like burgers and fries that make them a cut above the pack and I really liked the combination of berries, fruit, and cream with their baked brie in phyllo. One day I'll try their steaks.

                      2. re: Amalfia

                        My experience visiting Trapeze & Oz left me wondering why they charge so much money for such mediocre food & crappy service. Howard Co certainly has the per capita income to support some good high end dining spots, but the whole Maple Lawn thing is a disappointment to me.

                        1. re: mdfoodlover

                          They all have very high rent... just keep that in mind.