Daily Candy | The Weekend Guide

THE WEEKEND GUIDE

Something wicked this way comes.

APPLAUD
If/Then
What: 
The pre-Broadway debut of a contemporary musical about a woman rebuilding her life in New York City, starring powerhouse performers Idina Menzel, LaChanze, and Anthony Rapp. The show’s creators won the Pulitzer for their previous work, Next to Normal, which also had a run in D.C.
Why: Catch Menzel as she preps for her first return to the Great White Way since winning the Tony for Wicked.
When: Thru Dec. 8.
Where: The National Theatre, 1321 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, b/t 13th & 14th Sts. (202-628-6161). Tickets ($53-$178) at secure.etix.com.

DOWNLOAD
All the News That’s Fit to Click
What:
 This week’s roundup of books, movies, music videos, and more.
Why: Hyperbole and a Half gets a book, a sad clown sings “Royals,” and Magic Kingdom loses its magic.
When: Boredom makes you crazy.
Where: At dailycandy.com.

GEEK OUT
Nerd Nite
What:
 Sip a cold one as three brainy speakers dish their expertise — this edition features spy satellites, diarrheal diseases, and software vulnerability.
Why: They had you at software vulnerability.
When: Sat., 6:30 p.m.
Where: DC9, 1940 9th St. NW, at U St. (202-483-5000). Tickets ($10) at ticketfly.com.

STRETCH
Yoga in the Galleries
What:
 Unroll your mat and unlock your mind in a 90-minute workshop held in conjunction withYoga: the Art of Transformation.
Why: All experience levels are welcome to pose among the masterpieces.
When: Sun., 3:30-5 p.m.
Where: Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, 1050 Independence Ave. SW, at 12th St. (202-633-4880). Register ($15) at support.asia.si.edu.

DINE
Water & Wall
What:
 The sexy supper club in Clarendon serves chef-driven plates like bouillabaisse scented with Burmese spices and duck confit with Brussels sprouts — but start with the chicken liver paté with orange bourbon glaze.
Why: Chef Tim Ma’s first venture, Maple Ave Restaurant, just scored the top spot on Northern Virginia Magazine’s best restaurant list — plus, Ma is easy on the eyes.
When: Mon.-Thurs., 5-10 p.m.; Fri. & Sat., 5-11 p.m.; Sun., 5-9 p.m.
Where: 3811 N. Fairfax Dr., b/t Oakland & Pollard Sts., ste. 105, Arlington (703-294-4949).

DEBATE
Double Down
What: Go behind the headlines of the 2012 election when Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, co-authors of the best-selling Game Change, discuss their new book.
Why: Expect the pair to spill the tea (party) on Michele Bachmann.
When: Tonight, 7 p.m.
Where: Jack Morton Auditorium, George Washington University School of Public Affairs, 805 21st St. NW, b/t H & I Sts. (202-994-7470).

Eater DC | Tim Ma on Water & Wall’s First Hectic Weekend

Tim Ma on Water & Wall’s First Hectic Weekend

Monday, November 4, 2013, by Missy Frederick

Welcome to One Weekend In, where we check in on a restaurants first few days of service. Here, Tim Ma talks about Water & Walls early days.
waterwall1.jpg
Water & Wall [Photo: R. Lopez]

Tim Ma and the team behind Maple Ave. in Vienna already had one restaurant under their belts when Water & Wall opened this weekend inArlington. That meant for a different experience this time around — but it didn’t necessarily mean an easy ride, either. Ma talked with Eater about Water & Wall’s first few days, which were plagued by equipment malfunctions, busier than they ever expected, and extremely rewarding overall.

Hey there. So how are you feeling? 
I’m a bit tired. I haven’t slept at home for the past week. For the first couple nights, we stayed overnight because we were doing construction and it didn’t make sense to go home. Then it was like ‘Oh shit, we’re going to have to be cooking all night.’

Will you be able to go home tonight at least?
No, tomorrow we have a media luncheon so we’re prepping for that. And we have a dinner with Cedric [Maupillier of Mintwood Place] tonight benefitting Arcadia. So I’ll make it home Tuesday night, and probably Wednesday I’ll take the morning off.

So take me back again, when did you officially open the doors?
On Friday we did Friends and Family, and then Saturday we did the grand opening. Last night was just kind of a regular service, which was kind of nice.

So when you opened, did you feel things were pretty much ready, or did you still have last minute construction things to finish or anything like that?
Probably just like everybody else, you’re never completely ready. And you know, I think toughest thing was convincing the staff, “Hey, we’re ready to open. Regardless of everything, it’ll be fine.” If we felt completely ready to open, that probably means we should have opened about a week ago. It was a little hectic the first day, but I had basically doubled the staff, and I think half of them at some moments didn’t know what to do.

So what do you think the biggest challenge was on opening day?
So I’m not the expediter in the kitchen calling orders. My sous chef does that. I’m on the line. It was myself, my chef from Maple Avenue on the line and the equipment wasn’t working.

Oh no. What specifically?
It was a weird thing. The gas pressure coming into the building was too high for the equipment. It was just coming in full blast, and that meant the fryers weren’t working correctly. At 5 o’clock, we had the equipment guys in here fiddling with the equipment and we had to work around them to begin prepping things out. Every time the fryers turned on, it shook the whole building. It was a little scary. Then on Saturday, service got hit really hard. The core cooking was being done by me and the chef from Maple Ave., so we knew what was going on, but I think it was harder for the newer staff to get ahold of that.

So what were the crowds like on each of the days?
Well, since Friday was Friends and Family, everyone there was either someone we knew, people who helped us building this place, and our loyal Maple Ave customers. Saturday night was about half friends and family, half reservations. We were fully booked out on Saturday night. At around 2, I was saying there was no way we’d have enough food to make it through the entire night. So we had to turn away people at the bar, walk-ins. So that was a great thing to be booked out the first night, but it was a tough thing just because we had no idea how much volume it would be. It’s a much bigger restaurant than Maple Ave. Sunday was just very chill. It turned out to be a lot of neighborhood people, my family.

What was the most exciting part of opening weekend, or the most rewarding moment?
When I wat down with my dram of scotch at the end of the night, that was the most rewarding. Just kidding. I think being booked out Saturday night was probably the most rewarding. It took us a long time — years — before we could say we were booked out or turning people away at Maple Ave.

Did you see any industry people during opening weekend?
Yes, Katsuya [Fukushima, of Daikaya] came in.

Tell me about the opening menu. Were any dishes particularly big hits the first weekend?
So maybe 30-40 percent of the menu is from Maple Ave. The rest was designed by myself, my chef from Maple Ave. and my sous chef. So I was kind of more interested in what they were doing, not so much what I was doing. I think the dish that hit it off the best was a Burmese Bouillabaisse from my chef Nyi Nyi [Myint]. He takes all the seafood we have in-house — scallop, shrimp, mussels, squid — and makes a seafood stew that’s tomato-based, but he bases it on Asian-style ingredients and herbs, like lemongrass, Thai chili, fish sauce. It’s such a nice, homey dish. It’s the style of food I like to eat.

How did the opening compare to Maple Ave.’s opening?
Two different worlds. We were talking about it last night. At Maple Ave., it was so slow when we started. It’s only been three days, and I don’t know what the week would entail, but last time we just opened the doors, and were like, ‘People, please come.’ I think we have more of a marketing push with this, and more of a reputation. We have more experience – before we literally had no idea what we’re doing, learning everything as we went. Here, we have experience, we’re bringing people with experience. I wouldn’t say it was better, just different. There’s a lot more of a feeling of control

Do you think your recent #1 ranking in Northern Virginia Magazine for Maple Ave. was part of the reason it was so slammed opening weekend?
I don’t know. But that made our week stressful, too. This is coming out the same weekend we’re opening a new restaurant. So for one thing, Maple Ave. was busier, and Maple Ave. was already kind of stretched to its limits given I took about half the staff with me to open Water & Wall. The night before opening, I went over to Maple Ave. and was essentially grocery shopping, taking all of their stuff. They weren’t particularly happy…so it was a little stressful, but a good kind of stress. How often can you say you’re #1 at anything? So we’re kind of enjoying it right now and not letting it get to us too much. Otherwise, all the work it took to get there wouldn’t be worth it.

Have you had the chance to celebrate the opening at all?
I don’t think we’ve quite celebrated. There’s been the normal after-shift drinking. We had a pitcher of beer, talked about what was going on. But after Friday night we also had to rest. We literally worked a 40 hour work week in two days. And everyone was tired, not just me.

Any goals now that the first weekend is done?
To stay in business? You just think about how much money you spend to get something open, and the important thing now for us is to settle in and make it the best we can. Maple Ave. is so stable, like a machine now, but here everything is new. Even cooking shrimp and grits here is different on different equipment. We really wnat to start tweaking the menu, and to figure out what Arlington wants to eat, because what Vienna wants to eat isn’t always what Arlington wants to eat. So we’ve been getting everybody’s feedback as much as we can. That’s what’s going to help you stay in business. The most important thing to us is food and service — not parking, not atmosphere. Now we quote unquote have a bit more atmosphere here. We have to make sure that’s not what’s tricking them into trying the food.
· All Previous Water & Wall Coverage [-EDC-]

WaPo Express | Second Helpings

Second helpings

chickenVienna’s Maple Ave Restaurant is the little bistro that could: It narrowly avoided bankruptcy after chef Tim Ma tweaked his concept and began cooking the French-Asian flavors he was more familiar with.

Now, nabbing a seat at the nine-table hot spot is near impossible, which makes the coming of Ma’s second restaurant, Water & Wall (3811 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 105, Arlington), that much sweeter.

Open for dinner since Saturday, the 84-seat establishment allows a larger audience to sample Maple Ave Restaurant’s signature dishes, like shrimp and grits with venison sausage and piquillo ($10), chicken wings with Kendall Farms creme fraiche, Korean chili paste and oyster sauce (above, $10) and fried okra in a Thai chili sauce ($9).

Menu newcomers not to miss include the grilled hangar steak with smashed potatoes and collard greens ($25) and pan-seared steelhead with sunchokes, kale and potato ($24).

You’ll also find a larger selection of beers on tap, including Anderson Valley’s caramel-finish Winter Solstice ($8) and Huyghe Brewery’s La Guillotine Belgian Blonde ($8).

Eater DC | Eater Heatmap, Where to Eat Right Now

 

HOT HOT HEAT!

Updating the Eater Heatmap, Where to Eat Right Now

Thursday, November 7, 2013, by Missy Frederick

heatmap%20logo.jpgMore often than not, tipsters, readers, friends and family of Eater have one question: Where should I eat right now? Restaurant obsessives want to know what’s new, what’s hot, which favorite chef just launched a sophomore effort, where to sip the cocktail of the moment. And while theEater 38 is a crucial resource covering old standbys and neighborhood essentials across the city, it is not a chronicle of the ‘it’ places of the moment. Thus, we offer the Eater Heatmap, which will change often to continually highlight where the foodie crowds are flocking to at the moment.

DEL CAMPO
777 I ST. NW, WASHINGTON, DC
UNDEFINEDWEBSITE
Map data ©2013 Google
Eater Heatmap Washington DC, November 2013
Del Campo is one of two restaurants from chef Victor Albisu set to debut this spring. This ode to South American cooking is housed in the former PS7’s space, given a new look featuring an asado bar and cowhide wall hangings, courtesy of CORE. Grilled meats are the focus of Del Campo, but there are also killer pisco drinks and a selection of ceviche.
777 I ST. NW, WASHINGTON, DC
This neighborhood restaurant Sebastian Zutant, Mike O’Malley and Michael Friedman had been highly anticipated by the residents of Bloomingdale. Zutant’s Proof background means carefully-crafted cocktails, while the menu leans Italian. The restaurant is known for its wood-fired grill, and is putting out a curated menu of pastas and meats.
1822 1ST STREET NORTHWEST, WASHINGTON, DC 20001
Stephen Starr’s first entry into the D.C. market has drawn raves from local diners. The restaurant specializes in brasserie fare such as steak frites, loup de mer, roast chicken and more. There’s a selection of accessible wines, appetizers such as a fois gras parfait, a coffee program from Philadelphia’s La Colombe, and an impressive bakery.
1610 14TH ST NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20009
(202) 332-3333
The menu is a simple one, but Logan Circle residents (and beyond) are excited about this pizza, salami and anchovies-focused restaurant. Etto is a combined effort from the teams behind popular pizzeria 2Amy’s and the always-slammed barbecue haunt, The Standard.
1541 14TH ST NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20005
(202) 232-0920
Mike Isabella’s latest place is a tribute to Greek cuisine, both traditional and modern. Smoky, wood-fired meats are a focus, as well as lemonade cocktails. The attached G restaurant just opened serving up sandwiches by day and a tasting menu by night.
2201 14TH ST. N.W., WASHINGTON, DC
(202) 234-5000
The formula for Spike Mendelsohn’s newest restaurant is a simple one: steak, frites and a few sides. That’s it. Diners get a soup or salad, their choice of steak cut and unlimited fries with their order. All of the wines on the primary list are priced at $40.
313 PENNSYLVANIA AVE SE, WASHINGTON, DC 20003
Doi Moi is the latest collaboration between Mark Kuller, Haidar Karoum and Adam Bernbach (Proof, Estadio), and fans of the group’s work have been eager to see what they can do with Asian cuisine. Doi Moi serves dishes like khao soi gai (chicken and noodle curry) and other regional dishes from Thailand and Vietnam. The decor is primarily white, with accents brought back from Asia. Bernbach supervises the cocktail list at the restaurant and at 2 Birds 1 Stone, a basement bar.
1800 14TH STREET NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20009
(202) 733-5131
Fans of Corduroy’s Tom Power have waited for years for the chef to open another restaurant. They got one with Baby Wale, a more casual place serving up dishes like pupusas and a fine roast chicken. Baby Wale has an eye-catching design from Edit Lab at Streetsense.
1124 9TH ST NW, WASHINGTON, DC 20001
Rose’s Luxury is chef Aaron Silverman’s white-hot local debut, serving dishes like popcorn soup and fennel-stuffed gnocchi.
717 8TH ST SE, WASHINGTON, DC 20003
WATER & WALL
Rising star chef Tim Ma has increased the profile of his Maple Ave restaurant in Vienna from relatively-unknown suburban restaurant to Northern Virginia Magazine’s #1 restaurant in Virginia. Water & Wall is the chef’s second restaurant, and it’s bigger and dressier. Look for dishes like an Asian-influenced shrimp and grits, a Burmese bouillabaisse and some addictive, creme fraiche-spiked chicken wings.
3811 FAIRFAX DR, ARLINGTON, VA 22203
It’s the brewery D.C. has been waiting for. Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s brewery, along with its accompanying restaurant, The Arsenal, came on the scene with a whopping 20 new, ambitious beers and food to match, like fancy tater tots and beef heart tartare.
300 TINGEY ST SE, WASHINGTON, DC 20003

 

WaPo Express | The Tastemakers

The tastemakers

BY HOLLEY SIMMONS

chefs

Express invited all nine chefs to dinner at Aaron Silverman’s Capitol Hill hot spot, Rose’s Luxury, where he and his crew prepared an after-hours spread of oysters, smoked brisket, fall slaw, toasted white bread and a horseradish creme fraiche.

Crowded farmers markets. Adams Morgan on a Friday night. Heck, even Vienna. Anyplace these nine chefs are cooking, we’re there. Though they’re not exactly household names, each one adds something special to D.C.’s food scene, whether it’s serving upscale food at an affordable price or preparing vegetarian meals that’ll leave you questioning the merits of bacon. You’ll notice that many of the culinary talents profiled here are busy settling into a new role or hard at work getting a project off the ground. That’s just one of the reasons we were thrilled they accepted our invitation to sit down for a family meal so we could get to know them all a little better.

marjorieMarjorie Meek-Bradley
Secret Ingredient: Change

When Marjorie Meek-Bradley joined the kitchen at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon in 2005, she was the first woman to ever prepare food on the hot line. “I was like, ‘You’ve been open seven years. That’s [expletive],’ ” says Meek-Bradley, who in March inherited her current role as executive chef at Ripple (3417 Connecticut Ave. NW). Previously, Meek-Bradley served illustrious stints at Eleven Madison Park and Per Se in New York and at Washington Square in Philadelphia — where she met Mike Isabella, who later tapped her to be Graffiato’s chef de cuisine. “I learned a lot from Mike about Greek and Italian cuisine,” Meek-Bradley says. Coupled with her California upbringing, these Mediterranean influences shape her menu at Ripple, where 90 percent of the produce is sourced locally and fresh pastas like carrot cavatelli are standouts.

Tim Matim
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.”

johnJohn Shields
Secret Ingredient: We’ll find out soon

Since 2012, when he and his wife handed in their aprons at Town House — the unassuming restaurant in a tiny Virginia town they overhauled and turned into a fine-dining sensation — John Shields has toyed with the idea of opening a concept in D.C. Make that a series of pop-ups. Nope, definitely a restaurant. In Philly. Maybe. It seems the Chicago-born chef finally has some solid news for loyal followers: “We found a space we like and have a lease in hand. It’s in Georgetown.” With an anticipated opening date of summer 2014, the yet-to-be-named eatery will feature the same inventive cuisine once hailed at Town House, with an emphasis on seafood and a casual dining area out back. “I’ve always tried to keep things pure and just accentuate flavors rather than being overly creative,” Shields says. “That won’t change.” We’re going to hold him to that.

Aaron Silvermanaaron
Secret Ingredient: Authenticity

Crowds at Rose’s Luxury’s (717 Eighth St. SE) first Saturday dinner service earlier this month caused a 2½-hour wait, inspiring a few impatient diners to craft impromptu seating out of wayward peach crates. The draw? Aaron Silverman’s eclectic American knockouts like popcorn soup and sausage with lychees. A Rockville native, Silverman studied political science before realizing his heart belonged in the kitchen. Following culinary school in Gaithersburg, Md., he landed stints at Momofuku in New York and McCrady’s in Charleston, S.C. With most dishes landing under $15, and with 25 cents donated to help feed hungry children for every diner who walks through the door, Silverman delivers high-level food sans pretension. Design details like tables built and signed by his uncle and a framed picture of his grandmother (the restaurant’s namesake) help to cultivate a warm environment. “We want everyone to feel like this is their home,” Silverman says. “It takes longer to turn tables, but people have a better time.”

chayaBettina Stern and Suzanne Simon
Secret Ingredient: Simplicity

Trying to find the Chaya taco stand (chayadc.com) at the farmers market? Just look for the longest line. Launched in May, the popular vegetarian Latin American-influenced concept is led by self-trained chefs Suzanne Simon (an Ohio native with a degree in environmental science) and Bettina Stern (a Manhattanite who got her culinary start at Ina Garten’s now-defunct gourmet food store, Barefoot Contessa). The two also run loulies.com, a mindful living blog with a concentration on eating seasonally and consciously. “When you eat food in-season, you’re eating it at the peak of flavor,” Stern says. “It’s also more affordable because it’s in abundance.” A brick-and-mortar restaurant with a focus on plant-based cuisine is the goal, though the two plan to fine-tune dishes like kale and roasted potato tacos on handmade tortillas with creamy poblano sauce at pop-ups and year-round farmers markets.

Katsuya Fukushima daikaya
Secret Ingredient: Happiness

If you’re dining at Daikaya (705 Sixth St. NW) when a Backstreet Boys song comes on, be prepared: “We start a restaurantwide sing-along,” chef Katsuya Fukushima says. But before he was able to let loose at his Sapporo-style ramen shop (with a bustling izakaya upstairs), the former culinary director of Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup spent two months in Japan training under a ramen master. “I learned to have respect for ingredients,” Fukushima says. “But things can’t be too uptight, because when the kitchen’s happy, it comes out in the food.” Playful touches like a sake bomb with a spherified sake bubble that bursts under pressure delight guests. More smile-inducing news: A whiskey bar and a second ramen shop are in the works.

cedricCedric Maupillier
Secret Ingredient: Ambition

Cedric Maupillier has some ideas worth listening to. (His charming French accent certainly doesn’t hurt.) “I want to create a concept that can overtake McDonald’s,” he says. “I believe in creating jobs and giving people culinary experience.” The Citronelle alum is well on his way at Mintwood Place (1813 Columbia Road NW), where his American-meets-French menu draws loyal crowds and glowing accolades. Not bad for an ex-pat who started cooking at age 15 so he could afford a moped. His cuisine is refreshingly accessible, with escargot hush puppies coexisting alongside a wood-grilled cheeseburger.

Scot Harlanscot
Secret Ingredient: Instinct

Scot Harlan is a former pastry chef serving meat-heavy dishes at his new-ish restaurant, Green Pig Bistro (1025 N. Fillmore St., Arlington). If that disconnect strikes you as odd, you should know that Harlan doesn’t always play by the rules. Rather, the Arlington native (who in 2002 walked out on a coveted position at The Inn at Little Washington to attend Bonnaroo) follows his intuition in the kitchen, which lately has led him to simple dishes minus the snobbery. His buffalo ribs fried with hot sauce and honey and served with a blue cheese sauce are a good example. “I don’t buy microgreens,” Harlan says. “Ever.”

Urban Daddy | A Sleek New Date Spot. In Virginia.

Main Dining Room

The Wall
A Sleek New Date Spot. In Virginia.

Click above for slideshow

interior

photo by: Teresa Kroeger

So there’s this great restaurant called Maple Ave. Which you probably haven’t been to. Because it only has nine tables. Also: it’s in Vienna.

But good news: thanks to the gravitational pull of the city (or something), the chef is drawing closer. To Clarendon.

His new place is called Water & Wall, it’s got a whopping (by comparison) 80 seats, and it opens on Saturday night.

This could be the only place you can go to eat food from a chef who’s a former engineer and who also cooked at New York’s Momofuku. Fortunately, you’ll find more Asian influences than math on the menu, like Burmese Bouillabaissepork shoulder with chow-chow relish and pork belly with green-papaya salad.

If a backslapping business dinner is in the works, head to the semicircular booths looking out the windows. If you ask nicely, the chef will also serve you a tasting menu there.

But this is more of a date spot, with glass everywhere and moody lighting coming from suede-and-canvas chandeliers. Start out with a basil gin and tonic at the copper-and-granite bar. And then… well, maybe just stay there. It’s separated from the dining room by a copper curtain.

Lest anyone sees you in the suburbs.

 

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