Maple Ave Restaurant: Full of Surprises

My obsession with restaurant research generally yields positive results.  But I must admit, it’s exhilarating when I stumble upon a restaurant and have a stand-out meal.  Maple Ave Restaurant in Vienna, Virginia takes me by surprise with its diverse menu, bold flavors, and low-key vibe.

Maple Ave Restaurant (MAR) isn’t exactly a sleeper.  It is listed in Washingtonian‘s 100 Very Best Restaurants 2014, and  on DC Eater’s current list of 38 Essential Restaurants.  Inexplicably, I ignore it, considering Vienna geographically undesirable.

This all changes when a trip to the outlets in Leesburg puts Vienna in our path.  Location + timing+ availability = Maple Ave Restaurant.

We enter Maple Ave, and I am taken aback. The restaurant is a wisp of a space, with only a handful of tables.  In another life the building may have been a dry cleaners.  It’s hard to tell.   Now it’s a warm and cozy spot with an Asian-influenced American menu by RAMMY nominated Rising Culinary Star of the Year,  Chef Tim Ma.

I peruse the options and regret not having more people in our party.  Larger groups at surrounding tables are receiving a parade of delectable dishes.  While we ponder our choices, the waiter hands us a homemade scrapbook where diners write notes, including their recommendations.  This leads me to chicken wings.

Crème fraiche wings are emboldened with Korean chili paste, oyster sauce, and scallions.   They capture my heart with their crisp exterior and just the right amount of heat.  I am striving for leftovers, but it’s a challenge.

creme fraiche chicken wings

creme fraiche chicken wings

I decide to make a meal of two small  plates, although an entree of scallops with coconut risotto, scallions, and basil ice cream has tremendous appeal.   Caramelized okra, garlic lime chili sauce, fish sauce, and white scallions is unique and addictive, and pairs quite nicely with the wings.  I don’t look back.

Thai okra

Thai okra

My husband has seared steelhead with red quinoa salad and wasabi melted butter. The crispy quinoa and the moist fish make for a stellar combination.

Maple ave steelhead

seared steelhead

Yuzu lime pie leaps off the page as a must-have.  My husband and I share a serving of the adeptly-made, citrusy-sweet, marshmallow-covered dessert.

yuzu lime tart

yuzu lime tart

I can’t help but think about the missed opportunities I’ve had to dine at Maple Ave Restaurant.  I don’t hesitate to travel to Tyson’s Corner for shopping, and it’s just minutes away from the restaurant. I am chagrined by my lack of awareness of this gem of a place.  I’m paying attention now, Maple Ave  Restaurant.  Don’t be surprised if you see me again soon.


 Maple Ave Restaurant, 147 Maple Avenue W, Vienna, Virginia

Washingtonian 100 Very Best Restaurants 2014


Maple Ave on Urbanspoon


  1. If you ever get the chance, you MUST attend one of their tasting tables. Hard to get a reservation, because they’re rare and only have six-seats, but well worth the effort. The vegetarian tasting was easily one of the best food experiences of my life.

    Glad you finally discovered this gem!

  2. Vegetarian tasting?! Perfect for my husband- going to look into that ASAP. Thanks for the tip!


  1. […] I discovered Maple Ave Restaurant in Vienna, Virginia.  To quote myself in a recent blog post, “I can’t help but think about the missed opportunities I’ve had to dine at Maple Ave […]

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