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Jan 13, 2009 02:02 AM

"le canard" to become "maplewood grill" -- vienna

looking at nova french restos, i noticed that the french place will now become the maplewood grill, serving "modern american cuisine." it will also feature a piano bar, according to the website.

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  1. All the french restaurants in Vienna are slowly going out of business. First it was Le Provence, then it's Bistro 123, now it's Le Canard. The only one left is Renaissance Cafe.

    16 Replies
    1. re: Ericandblueboy

      ericandblueboy, what is a reasonably priced, good "country" french place in nova? (the model i'm thinking of is the OLD, ORIGINAL le gaulois.) i like bouillabaisse, quenelles de brochet with sauce americaine, escargot in garlic herb butter, blanquette de veau, beef stew with brandy and green peppercorn gravy, spaghettis des courgettes with seafood in a light sauce, celeri remoulade, and the like.....

      1. re: alkapal

        To be honest, I haven't been to any of the french restaurants in Old Town and can't say anything about them. Mediterranee in Great Falls is reasonably priced and good.

        I can't think of any other "country" french place in the area.

        1. re: Ericandblueboy

          i knew the chef (very casually) here in arlington, when the resto was just over here in the cherrydale area of lee highway. then, it struck me as more, well, "mediterranean" in the mediterranean-north africa dynamic. (i think that is where he is from). he was always friendly, and the food was well-prepared, if not a wee bit pricey for the serving size. but, the new menu looks good, and quite reasonable, i'd say. his fish was always "right on."

          now colvin run is a little hike, but it looks well worth a trip. especially appealing is the fact that they have a pretty patio with outdoor dining in good weather.

          eric, thanks for the reminder.

          1. re: alkapal

            Love the new Mediterranee location in Great Falls. I wish it was in our neighborhood, it's the kind of place you'd stop in at least once a week. If not for dinner, drinks and apps at the bar. They have terrific specials every night of the week, including all you can eat mussels and pommes frites and half price wine, etc. Though it's not the country style cooking of Le Gaulois.

            Though I noticed a new (to me) French restaurant on Rt. 123 today called Le Rue 123 (I think). It's two doors down from Cafe Mozart. Anyone have any insight?

            1. re: Meg

              We've been there. From the former owner of Le Tire Bouchon. The restaurant itself is beautiful (almost as charming as L'auberge). Classic french food, but not what Alkapal was asking for. The prices are higher than Mediterranee but has a relatively small menu.

              Another restaurant that few have heard/been to in my hood is Cafe Tatti.


              1. re: Ericandblueboy

                Wow! A blast from the past. Haven't been to Cafe Tatti in years. I remember it as a nice neighborhood spot for it's service, charm and convenience, but no stand outs in terms of food. I used to be a regular at McKeever's around the corner but in driving by last weekend I think I noticed it's gone. Do you know for sure?

                1. re: Meg

                  I think McKeever's still there but I don't know for sure. I think I go to McKeever's maybe once a year. Maybe Chics 'n Wing (a new sports bar in Tysons) put the old pub out of business.

                  1. re: Meg

                    So many blasts from the past in this thread.

                    You could walk into Cafe Tatti today and it would be as if time had stood still. The decor and menu were unchanged at our last visit about a year ago, and we've been dining there very sporadically since it opened almost thirty years ago. As of last year, the cooking was still competent assuming you stick to traditional, home-y choices. Specifically, that means the braised meat dishes, mostly offered as specials. (One of the charms of this place is the spidery European script of the specials list.) I sure wouldn't order some of the high end dishes on the menu. The Caesar salad that accompanies each entree was quite good. To give you a sense of how this restaurant is frozen in time... There was a time when garlic was considered a scary ingredient. As of our last meal there, you could still order the Caesar dressing with or without garlic.

                    Reading this thread, I'm delighted to learn that Mediterranee still exists. I drive by the old location and dismissively think, "Just what we need. Another Mattress Discounters."

                    McKeever's? Isn't that the name for the pub that used to front Old Dominion in the same shopping center as Cafe Tatti? If so, McKeever's has been gone for a long time. It is now occupied by Cafe Mistral, a classic French restaurant with world-class gratineed onion soup and somewhat overpriced but competent entrees.

                    Mention of Cafe Mistral brings up a new development on the McLean restaurant scene. The same individual owns Cafe Mistral, Corner Bistro (tapas) and Joe's Burgers located across Old Dominion. As of this past weekend, I noticed that Corner Bistro no longer exists, and Joe's Burgers has moved into its larger space. Joe's Burgers now houses Joe's Gyros. I don't understand that development. Corner Bistro was always packed!

                    1. re: Indy 67

                      Unfortunately I live in McLean and I'm still stuck with these choices.

                      McKeever's is/was across the corridor from Le Mistral. Le Mistral is where Forbidden City used to be. In the former Le Petit Mistral is/was Corner Bistro. Joe's Burger was where Corner Bistro use to be.

                      When Corner Bistro was at Joe's Burger's space, it was always packed because it was small and the only tapas restaurant in McLean. In the last few years, as tapas become more widely available, Corner Bistro lost some of my business (probably others as well).

                      Now with all that shake-up, maybe I'll stop by tomorrow at lunch to see what's the deal.

                      1. re: Indy 67

                        actually, the mediterranee location in arlington is a (crummy) dunkin' donuts.

                        1. re: alkapal

                          Same difference.

                          What was a unique, chef-owner restaurant gave way to an unnecessary branch of a nationwide chain whether selling edible or non-edible stuff.

                          P.S. Isn't there a Mattresss Discounters somewhere in the vicinity?

                          1. re: Indy 67

                            you are correct! also nearby, an abandoned project that i'm shocked the county hasn't demanded razed.

                            but the phiippine market is still there, if you noticed.

                            do you remember the fire that damaged the mediterranee building -- you could see major damage in the upper rear, near the roofline (i.e., over the kitchen, iirc)?

                            they never opened back up after that in that spot, iirc. maybe some nice insurance money helped "ease" the transition to a nicer space and more ritzy neighborhood.

                  2. re: Meg

                    all you can eat mussels? thursday night! mmmmmm.

                    all the sauces sound great. white wine garlic sauce, with tomato basil sauce, with cream sauce or with saffron cream sauce.

                    can you try them all in one evening (like smaller portions)? i'm assuming so. ah, but with which one to start?

              2. re: alkapal

                Have you tried Le Refuge in Old Town? I've had so many people recommend it (highly) to me.


                Le Refuge Restaurant
                127 N Washington St Ste C, Alexandria, VA 22314

                1. re: chowser

                  that may fit the bill -- esp. the dishes with cream and brandy.

                  i've heard la chaumiere's quenelles are good... also, cafe du parc's (next to willard hotel).

                  1. re: alkapal

                    Cafe du Parc is currently featuring the cuisine of Brittany with lots of fish poached in fumet preparations. Quenelles are not being offered at the moment. (The online matched the one we were handed. The pre-theater menu is written on several chalkboards throughout the restaurant.)

                    Four of us ate there Saturday night and weren't very impressed. The garbure (a French vegetable soup with duck rillettes) was really tasty. Two folks in our group ordered the ballotine of chicken as part of the pre-theater menu. One liked it; one didn't.

                    I had rockfish with capers and cornichons from the regular menu. The fish was flawlessly cooked -- lovely and moist. However, the sauce overwhelmed the fish and was one-note -- salty. This was the result of the sauce being little more than a staggering amount of capers and diced pickles. I improved the taste by scraping off the majority of the caper/cornichon topping and squeezing some lemon on the dish. Still, the recipe as it came out of the kitchen begs the question: Did the chef taste the food at any point in the development of the dish?

                    My husband's entrecote wasn't a hit. He said that it had a strange taste -- almost artificial -- but the accompanying Bernaise sauce was good. The cassoulet was well received but the calamari entree wasn't. These latter two dishes were from the pre-theater menu.

                    Dessert was the best course. My husband and I shared a cakey-flan with prunes that was topped with creme Anglaise. Our friends shared chou paste puffs filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce.

                    The location of the restaurant near the National theater and the fact that the restaurant stamps parking for the eveing means that we'll give this place another try when we next go to the National and want to minimize walking. However, I'm surprised by these lapses given the reputation of the chef. (I understand the limits of bistro cooking, but our meal had too many inexplicable problems. For example, bistro steak tends to be chewy but flavorful. But artificial tasting?)

            2. anyone heard about any "new" french place in reston town center?

              i looked up mon ami gabi, but that's not "new", right?

              3 Replies
              1. re: alkapal

                It's new to that location but I've never been a fan of Mon Ami Gabi.

                1. re: Ericandblueboy

                  some friends who live in herndon made some vague reference. the mon ami gabi menu didn't look appealing.

                  1. re: alkapal

                    I've been to the one in Bethesda and Vegas. If I lived in Bethesda, I might go there if I was craving for some bistro food and didn't feel like driving. I would not drive from Tysons to Bethesda or Reston just to eat there. Even if I was already in Reston or Bethesda, I would find other places to eat.

              2. Was by there (Maplewood Grill), and they are announcing a March 2 opening. The most recent email newsletter from Norm's Beer and Wine (great beer store next door) says that the following beers will be on tap at Maplewood: Dogfish 90 Minute IPA, Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, Dale’s Pale Ale, Bell’s Amber Ale, and Delirium Nocturnum. One can only hope that the food is nearly as good as this outstanding lineup.

                1 Reply
                1. re: SoxFan1

                  Ditto. Here's hoping there's finally an inviting and reasonably priced bar/restaurant in Vienna. Would love to have a good go-to joint nearby.

                2. the le canard website still has the same message, indicating a march 2 open date for "maplewood grill".....but the website was last updated feb 19......

                  does anyone drive by this place?

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: alkapal

                    They did open as scheduled on March 2. I have been in only once, about a week ago, to sample a couple of the beers on tap, so I can not report on the food. I don't even really remember what was on the menu, even though I looked at it briefly. The beer was tasty-I had a Two Hearted and a Delirium.

                    I went on a weeknight at about 6:30, and the restaurant part of the place was probably a little over half full.

                    1. re: SoxFan1

                      Went there last night with my usual Sunday night dinner friends. Having never eaten at the previous Le Canard (we're more "grill" than "French" eaters) we were curious as to how the original staff and chef dealt with a substantially new menu.

                      It was about 6:30 PM on Sunday when we arrived. With plenty of empty tables and only about three tables occupied, we were a bit surprised when the host asked us to wait "at the piano" (in the bar) for a few minutes. After about five minutes and seeing no action in the dining room, I asked him what we were waiting for. He said he was waiting for another waiter since the one waiter there was a bit overloaded. But then he offered to seat us at a table. After three different servers (menus, drinks, and finally food orders) and about fifteen minutes, our food order was finally taken, and nearly half an hour later, we were finally served. Two strip steaks with frites and one (mine) pork loin. The steak eaters reported good beef flavor, cooked as ordered (they both ordered medium-well so no indication that they can do rare properly) but more gristle than expected. I really liked the pork loin dish, with a spicy cream sauce, slices of andoulle sausage, and cooked apples. I'll have to try something like that at home.

                      They need to get the service act together. Although it was certainly polite, and our water glasses were refilled fairly promptly when needed, the waiter who delivered our food didn't know who ordered what (not a big deal, but most restaurants seem to get this right though I don't know how) and it did take quite a long time for what was basically a pretty simple dinner. No particular reason to go back, but no particular reason to complain loudly either.

                      We've had similar food but better steaks, better service, and slightly lower prices at J. Gilbert's, a few miles away (Rt. 123 and Old Dominion on the other side of Tyson's Corner).