Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Maple Ave

There’s no guessing how Maple Ave Restaurant got its name. It’s located on, well, Maple Avenue in the beating heart of Vienna. This quirky bistro is just as crowded as the bustling street it sits on. spotlight

There’s no guessing how Maple Ave Restaurant got its name. It’s located on, well, Maple Avenue in the beating heart of Vienna. This quirky bistro is just as crowded as the bustling street it sits on.

spotlight

Maple Ave Restaurant (Photo: News-Press)

Customers should call ahead to make reservations because this small space fills up quickly. The intimate rectangular dining area consists of approximately 10 tables, which didn’t stay empty for long on this Saturday afternoon.

Guests shouldn’t let the tight space deceive them, though. The interior of Maple Ave resembles a modern art gallery. Local artwork from The Soundry decorates the pea-green walls, and 80s-style music gives foodies something to groove to while looking over the menu.

It’s a good thing too, because Maple Ave makes it hard to choose when it comes to the food. The playful menu offers avant-garde dishes that fuse American, Asian, French and Latin flavors, culminating into a taste explosion.

The small-plate menu consists of a wide variety of appetizers, from a refined Baked Mac & Cheese ($7) in a creamy gruyere mornay sauce and Japanese panko crumbs to the Sweet Potato Gnocchi ($7) served atop shaved ham, caramelized onions and duxelles, a mixture of finely-chopped mushrooms, onions, shallots and herbs sautéed in butter. Seafood lovers should start with the steamed mussels ($7), which arrive swimming in a savory and aromatic broth of saffron coconut milk and garnished with Chinese chorizo and fresh parsley. Keep an eye out for the red Thai chili peppers floating around; they come packing a lot of spice.

The fun doesn’t stop with the appetizers. The main plates include a Bulgogi Wrap ($13 for lunch, $15 for dinner), stuffed with thinly sliced rib eye and white rice inside a pita and served with homemade crispy fries that are unlike any other.

Maple Ave also serves up patties with an Asian twist. The Kobe Burger ($11) is worth a try, along with the Dr. Pepper Short Ribs ($15 for lunch, $17 for dinner) – with their fall-off-the-bone meat – or the Crab Cake Sandwich ($16) with pickled slaw, spicy sriracha mayo and fries.

Wash down the meal with a craft beer like the Brooklyn-born East India Pale Ale ($4) or the seasonal Pumpkin Ale ($4). Risk takers should go for the Saketini ($8), a never-before-seen combination of peach juice, Absolut Vanilla vodka and sake.

Don’t forget to save room for Maple Ave’s sweet plates, arguably the most unique dessert selections in town. For those in the mood for something light, the Mochi Delight ($5) is a lip-smacking choice. This Japanese confection consists of two parts: a soft, gummy rice-flour shell and an inner ice cream core available in guava, tiramisu, pistachio or strawberry chocolate chip.

For diners looking for something more decadent, there’s the so-called Oh Em Gee Delicious ($6), a flourless chocolate cake dressed with chocolate ganache and served with vanilla bean ice cream on the side.

And unless the carnival is in town, Maple Ave is the nearest spot where guests can indulge in handmade Funnel Cake ($6), dough fried to a flaky crisp, topped with powdered sugar and served with vanilla bean ice cream. Pair these desserts with hot chocolate, in flavors ranging from caramel and supreme mint to artic white and raspberry.

For those who want to venture out for Thanksgiving, Maple Ave will be offering a Thanksgiving dinner at a fixed price of $25. The meal will consist of turkey or Virginia ham, three seasonal sides, a choice of two sweet pies and a nonalcoholic beverage. To make a reservation, e-mail [email protected]

Maple Ave

147 Maple Ave., Vienna, VA

703-319-2177• mapleaverestaurant.com

Hours:

Lunch: Monday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Dinner:  Monday – Sunday, 5 – 10 p.m.