Maple Avenue Restaurant, Vienna
I wonder why there hasn't yet been any CH mention of this restaurant in Vienna. Chef Tim Ma opened this place in the old Anita's on Maple Avenue in downtown Vienna. He's a former engineer who wanted to pursue his passion for food. After attending the French Culinary Institute, and time with David Chang's Momofuku Ko and a stint in the USVI, he returned to open this place in March 2009.
I finally had my chance last night with wife and friends. The menu is small, but varied and interesting. Had a round of appetizers including the One Two Three Shrimp, Tuna Tartare, Fried Tofu and steamed mussels. I had the bulgogi for main entree. Wife had the grilled ponzu fish. Everything was very good. The dessert menu was a highlight of the meal. My Yazu Lime Pie was excellent, as was the chocolate dumplings.
The restaurant's main dining room is small, at most it seats about 20 people. There's a small patio area in the back that can seat about 10 more people.
I wish we had places like this closer to home, but it's worth driving a bit to go to interesting restaurants like Maple Avenue Restaurant.
I 'reviewed' Maple Ave when it first opened. I live in Vienna and it's great to have a fine dining place open within walking distance of my apartment. I took members of my family there, who happen to be fairly discerning eaters, and they loved it too. In fact they commented on how reasonable the prices were.
And I agree with you the Yuzu Key Lime Pie is phenominal.
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Actually, there was some discussion about it shortly after it opened. Generally others observed about what you did, but with reserved enthusiasm. Small place, small menu, small portions, pretty hefty prices considering. I guess you need to go there for the sense of being part of the community as well as for the food in order to feel like you're getting the full experience.
Interesting. I never hear people say that Jose Andres's food at Jaleo as small portions and hefty prices. I enjoyed my meal at Maple Ave and the food was certainly just as enjoyable and much less expensive than Jaleo. I can't blame Ma for keeping the menu small so he can control the quality of the food and keep prices down.
I used to llive in Vienna and the building that now houses Maple Avenue Restaurant is not very appealing, to say the least. Plus, the parking lot has always been horrible. I think it's the general lack of appeal from the outside. Not somewhere that a casual customer looking for a place to eat would stop, in my opinion. This was Anita's Tex-Mex Restaurant's original location way back in the day.
Well, who's comparing Maple Ave with Jaleo? And who's blaming anyone? They have some interesting things on the menu. But in order to make it a "come back often" place, I'd need more variety and either larger portions or lower prices so I could order more of the smaller offerings without busting the budget. But keep in mind that i have never had a $150 dinner and probably never will unless someone else is buying. I can enjoy good food, but my retired old duffer's limited income can take me only so far.