By Stefanie Gans / Photography by Rey Lopez & Jonathan Timmes
Maple Ave Restaurant
Modern American / $$ / 147 Maple Ave. W., Vienna
Earlier this year Tim Ma sold Maple Ave Restaurant to his former employees Juste Zidelyte, now the executive chef, and Ricardo Teves, server-turned-GM. Ma, still an investor, relinquished culinary control, though fans of the 30-seat Vienna restaurant can still find many of the signature dishes: creme fraiche wings, shrimp and grits with blueberry sausage and scallops with coconut risotto and basil ice cream. Zidelyte will keep the modern American, globally influenced menu as she taps ingredients from her native Lithuania (currants, beets, mushrooms) and offers Argentine empanadas as a nod to Teves’ homeland.
Duck leg confit is juicy, salty meat, and caramelized little chips of Brussels sprouts remind me why this cabbage became popular in the first place. At lunch, braised beef cheeks are so tender they disintegrate like cotton candy and are piled within a glistening broiche bun with crispy onions, bits of crunchy lettuce and a creamy garlic aioli. The side of fries is not an afterthought: beer-battered and seasoned like a French roast chicken, complete with lots of salt, pepper and herbs. Ma might not be there anymore, but Maple Ave is still beating.
So you may or may not know that biweekly Maple Ave holds a “under the radar” Tasting Table dinner in the back dining room. Yes, we have a back dining room and it’s a secret shhhh!
No, but seriously we hold these dinners biweekly Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7pm for up 6 guests. Each dinner has a theme. The last theme was “Offal is Good” and this is what Tim, NyiNyi, Shaina and the rest of the team cooked for last night’s dinner:
Beef Heart Tartare
Frog Leg Curry
Hudson Valley Duck Liver “Chicken & Waffles”
Pig Ear Taco
Chicken Heart and Mortar & Pestle Okra
Bone Marrow Ice Cream and baby raspberry bundt cake
Next Tasting Table Dates will be released via e-mail and social media the second week of May!
Want to know the secret behind our creme fraiche wings? Check out the article that Bonnie Benwick wrote in the Washington Post Food Section.
Photograph by Renee Comet for The Washington Post
MAY 2, 2014
These wings have become a signature dish at Maple Ave Restaurant in Vienna. The no-cook sauce relies on the smooth blending of creme fraiche, gochujang (Korean red pepper paste) and the sour tang of sudachi juice, a Japanese citrus.
It’s preferable to have an instant-read thermometer for monitoring the oil as well as the doneness of the wings.
Make Ahead: Leftover sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month.
Where to Buy: Sudachi juice is available at Japanese grocers such as Hana Market in the District. Gojuchang is available at Asian markets and at some Whole Foods Markets.
1/2 to 3/4 cup gojuchang (Korean red pepper paste; see headnote)
3 tablespoons tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
3 tablespoons sudachi juice (see headnote; may substitute yuzu juice or fresh lime juice)
Pinch kosher salt, plus more as needed
Pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
1 pound chicken wings and drumettes
Finely chopped chives or scallions thinly sliced on the diagonal, for garnish
Heat the canola oil in a deep pot over medium-high heat, so the oil reaches 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a few layers of paper towels, then place a wire rack over them.
Combine the creme fraiche, oyster sauce, fish sauce, 1/2 cup of the gojuchang, tamari, sudachi juice and the pinches of salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Whisk to form a smooth, well incorporated sauce. Taste; if you like spicy heat, add some or all of the remaining 1/4 cup of gojuchang.
Working in two or three batches, fry the chicken wings and drumettes to an internal temperature (taken away from the bone) of 200 degrees; this should take 7 or 8 minutes. They will be lightly golden brown. Immediately transfer to the wire rack to drain; season lightly with salt and pepper.
While the wings are still warm, transfer them to the bowl. Use your clean hands to toss and coat them evenly. Stack or arrange on a plate; garnish with the chives or scallions.
Humbled that our tiny little 9 table restaurant has made Eater DC’s “Eater 38”. This list is known as the list that Washingtonian’s consider essential restaurants in our area. Thank you all for the love!
It’s time to update the Eater 38, your answer and ours to any question that begins, “Can you recommend a restaurant?” This highly elite group covers the entire city and surrounding areas, spans myriad cuisines and budgets, and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs, except for those occasions when you absolutely must spend half a paycheck. Every couple of months, we’ll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be open at least six months), or have stepped up their game.
This time around, Eater is adding some new blood to the list. Restaurants Birch & Barley, Brasserie Beck, Vidalia, Fishnet, Liberty Tavern and Graffiato are gone for now — not because they’re not great, but in order allow room for some interesting newcomers. In their place: Ruan Thai, Rose’s Luxury, Maple Ave., Pizzeria Orso, Kapnos and DGS Delicatessen. All of these changes are reflected in totally random order here.
Rising star chef Tim Ma puts out big flavors in a tiny space in Vienna (similar dishes can also be found in his newer venture, Water & Wall). Many dishes have an Asian twist, but the restaurant can also put out an impressive brunch and killer wings.
Beyond speechless to find out we made it on Washingtonian’s “100 Very Best Restaurants 2014” feature for the second time. Thank you all for all the continued love and support you show all of us!
A $250-per-person modernist joy ride with José Andrés at the wheel. A $12.50 takeout box of the crispiest fried chicken we’ve ever tasted. Those are two ends of the wild and colorful spectrum of our critics’ favorite places to eat this year. In between, there are some terrific newcomers (a couple of which landed in our ranked list of the top 25 restaurants), fabulous splurges and affordable gems, and plenty of other reasons to get excited about going out to dinner.
Todd Kliman’s Review for this feature:
So many restaurants are so cripplingly self-aware that from the moment you step inside them, you sense the holding of a collective breath. Not here. The glass-enclosed space all but shouts whimsy, and then you take a peek at chef Tim Ma’s menu. Ma isn’t the biggest name on the restaurant scene, but we daresay nobody is having more fun. His cuisine is eclectic in the extreme, with shrimp ’n’ grits and mussels in saffron-coconut broth sharing space with a braised beef-cheek sandwich and beer-battered fries. But what unifies these disparate tastes and traditions is the exuberance of their preparation and the happy, festive air they call forth. Look around the room and you’ll see laughter, sharing, a conversation that never flags. Come dessert—a lineup as serious as it is playful, including chocolate purses and yuzu-lime tart—you’re certain to be smiling, too.
Open: Monday through Friday for lunch and dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner.
Thank you WaPo Express for including Chef Tim Ma in October’s article “The Tastemakers”
Secret Ingredient: Perseverance
Maple Avenue Restaurant (147 Maple Ave., Vienna) was days away from bankruptcy when Tim Ma figured he might as well start cooking whatever he wanted at the nine-table eatery he opened in 2009 with a credit card. “There’s a brunch dish we serve with eggs and kimchee that I literally make for myself every morning,” Ma says. “I was like, ‘Screw it, let’s just put it on the menu.’ ” Following some positive local press, diners flocked in droves. Now the reservation-recommended restaurant is busy slinging plates of eclectic American cuisine influenced by Ma’s classic French training. The little restaurant that could is doing so well, in fact, Ma is opening a second outlet in Arlington, named Water & Wall, on Nov. 1. “It’s going to be an expansion of Maple Avenue, with the addition of a tasting menu.”
Vienna is known for many good things, but until a few years ago, it was never known for being any sort of hip culinary destination. Joey Hernandez and Tim Ma changed that when they took over the old Anita’s building on 123 (the original Anita’s in fact), and rolled out their creative New American vision at Maple Ave Restaurant. Earlier this year, Maple Ave made Washingtonian’s “The 100 Very Best Restaurants,” making it mandatory that you reserve your table in advance in this small, intimate and critically acclaimed restaurant.
Located at 147 Maple Ave W, this innovative restaurant is a foodie’s delight and the food is fresh, local and made entirely from scratch. (You have to read Tim and Joey’s inspirational story about their path to opening their first restaurant. They are such a talented duo).
Joey Hernandez is the charismatic General Manager of the restaurant and she was so wonderful to answer some questions about the restaurant for our blog. Thank you, Joey, and thank you to Amelia Johnson Photography for the stunning professional photographs of the many delights offered at Maple Ave.
Q: Why did you guys choose Vienna as the location for your restaurant? Joey: We looked at various different locations and this seemed to be the one that had the most appeal. It is an “antique” building but it was just the right size and with the help of family and friends we took the Old Anita’s building and made it our own. One of the big draws to choosing this location was the small town feel yet it’s so close to the one of the busiest cities in the world.
Q: What would be your picks from the menu right now? Joey: Tim [chef and owner] has had a love affair with charcuterie, pickles and anything fermented. So he would definitely partake in our brunch for 2-6 course tasting menu which has a charcuterie course. I would sign up for one of our Tasting Table Dinner series. We have those biweekly in the back dining room for six people only. It is a 4-6 course menu and each month we have a different theme and it allows for our chefs to be as creative as they want. Last tasting we had elk, partridge, black forest cakes… yummy! So, I would just come to that, sit and enjoy the feast.
Q: Do you have any plans for expansion? Joey: We are working on our second restaurant in Arlington. No set date to open yet. Water & Wall is the name of our new project. The name comes from our apartment in NYC where the dream of opening a restaurant came to fruition.
Q: What do you love about Vienna? Joey: There are things that I love about Vienna now that I didn’t even notice prior to having our two babies Charlotte and Chase. Our amazing parks, all the kid-friendly activities and parades, and of course, our awesome Farmers’ Markets. I love the small business feel to this town… Caffe Amouri, Maple Ave Market, Pear Tree Cottage, etc.
For more pictures and full article please click below:
Excited to share that Tim was nominated for RAMMY under the category Rising CulinaryStar of the Year!The nominee is an “up and coming” chef who demonstrates exemplary talent, shows leadership and promise for the future. The nominee must have been based in the Metropolitan Washington area for a minimum of two years. Winner will be announced at the RAMMY Awards Ceremony on June 23rd.
Hundreds of the Washington, DC metropolitan area’s restaurant industry players gathered tonight at The Hamilton as the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington (RAMW) announced the nominees for its 31st Annual RAMMY Awards, which honors the exceptional ability and accomplishments of the DC area restaurant industry. The nominations party is a highly anticipated yearly event, second only to the restaurant awards gala, The RAMMYS, where winners are announced which will be held on June 23, 2013 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.
“We’re pleased to be able to honor the individuals who work hard to provide area residentsand visitors with exceptional, world-class hospitality,” said Kathy Hollinger, RAMW’s new President. “Their dedication to the world and work of food and beverage adds an incredible vitality to the entire Washington Metropolitan Area. This year’s theme – ‘Restaurants in Bloom’ – acknowledges their creative contributions to the region’s burgeoning restaurant scene, and credits their talent which has earned DC recognition as a dining destination.”
The RAMMY Awards recognize excellence in 16 categories, including “Casual Dining”, “Chef of the Year”, “New Restaurant of the Year” and “Beverage/ Mixology Program of the Year”. Selecting the RAMMY nominees, and ultimately the winners, involves two separate panels of judges, the voting public and, for just one award – the Joan Hisaoka Associate Member of the Year – the RAMW Executive Committee. Any RAMW member is eligible for nomination as long as they meet the qualifications of any given category. The nominees are then reviewed by the appropriate anonymous panel of judges comprised of food/restaurant writers, educators and HR professionals who ultimately select the five finalists in each of the categories announced tonight.
The MAR crew is excited to share with you that Maple Ave was included in the 2013 Washingtonian’s Top 100 Very Best Restaurants. Also, thrilled to be included in this years Top 10 HOT LIST. This is what they said:
Who wouldn’t be skeptical of a suburban restaurant that charges upward of $20 for entrées and looks to be housed in a ’60s-era doughnut shop? And the menu’s crazy quilt of influences—Korean, Thai, Americana, Mediterranean, and Moroccan—doesn’t do much to convince you to chance it. But you should. Chef/owner Tim Ma doesn’t take shortcuts and puts his heart into everything he sends out. His rendition of shrimp and grits could persuade a Louisianan that the chef grew up in Bayou Country. A bowl of mussels in a saffron-coconut broth bests the work of most Thai kitchens. And pork-fried rice tastes like what a Chinese or Korean chef whips up when he’s off his shift. Don’t miss:Crème fraîche chicken wings with Korean chili paste; scallops with coconut-scallion risotto; braised beef cheek; whole branzino; beer-battered fries; chocolate dumplings; yuzu-lime pie; mochi.
“For the Perfectionist: Maple Ave. Vienna is packed with great, local restaurants, one of which serves some serious mac. Maple Ave‘s baked mac comes with Gruyere, Vermont cheddar mornay, fusili, and herbs de Provence panko crust. Though the pasta, in writing, looks very similar to Cheesetique’s mac and cheese, the al dente noodles are larger and the dish—noodles, cheeses, crust—are thrown together and then baked. It’s glorious. /147 Maple Ave., Vienna.” Lindsey Jenkins, Northern Virginia Magazine