Make reservations. There are nine tables in this tiny little restaurant on Maple Avenue in Vienna. We showed up for brunch at 9:50am (they open at 10am) and waited outside with two other parties for the restaurant to open. Lucky for us, we were able to get a table before another brunch reservation at 11:15am. So I guess it's true, good things come to those who wait.
Maple Ave Restaurant is a small, simple restaurant in Northern Virginia (gasp! not located in DC!?!) that serves eclectic American cuisine comprised of Asian, Latin American and French flavors. Maple Ave Chef Tim Ma is a nominee for a RAMMY in the category "Rising Culinary Star of the Year." And since I went to Blue Duck Tavern on Thursday (nominee for Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year) and Green Pig Bistro on Saturday (another nominee for Rising Culinary Star of the Year), it was only fitting that on Sunday, we go to Maple Ave Restaurant to complete our RAMMY nominee circuit. You know, in case someone steps down from the judging panel, I want to make sure I'm ready.
The menu at Maple Ave is deliberate and focused, offering a select number of brunch plates, small plates, and a brunch tasting menu. As an added bonus, they have a bottomless brunch cocktail special for $15 and you can pick/vary any brunch cocktail you would like (mimosa, poinsetta, and bloody mary). Maple Ave also sources local ingredients from some of my favorite farms in the area, like Polyface (where we get our meat and eggs from for our family). I truly appreciate a dining experience that emphasizes not just the final product, but places importance on sourcing sustainable ingredients.
To start, I ordered a mimosa and coffee. The mimosa was delicious, perfect mix of champagne and orange juice to start off the morning. The coffee, served in a French press, was rich and bold. I loved the serving of the coffee in a french press. It's that sort of attention to detail that sets apart a dining experience.
For brunch, I decided on the Eggs and Kimchi which consisted of scrambled eggs mixed with chinese sausage, jasmine rice, and caramelized kimchi with a slice of grilled Spam. There was no way that I was going to pass up such an interesting and spicy egg dish. It was outstanding... I loved the eggs with the spicy kimchi, it was a delicious pairing and a great use of a non-traditional brunch ingredient (I do love surprises!). The sausage mixed with the eggs added a savory, salty flavoring while the Spam served as a whimsical addition. Definitely one of the most creative and spicy delicious brunch dishes I've had in a while.
My husband opted for the truffled eggs served with applewood smoked bacon, potato hash and mesclun. The slight truffle flavoring of the eggs was tasty and added richness to the dish. Again, a well executed brunch plate with an emphasis on select flavors. I really enjoyed the attention to the main ingredients in each dish. Too often you eat dishes that are sort of all over the place -- too many flavorings, too many ingredients. Not the case at Maple Ave, and it was refreshing.
Overall, we had an exceptional brunch dining experience at Maple Ave. Based on my experience, I would say Chef Ma is a strong contender as a Rising Culinary Star of the Year. Best of luck for the RAMMY award!
My take away is -- excellent food in a non-pretentious setting with great service. I will definitely head back for dinner!