Vienna mourned when Amphora Restaurant closed in 2021 after 44 years of serving the community. But the diner never filled plates with Oysters Rockefeller or beef carpaccio. Its successor, The Maple Room Restaurant & Lounge, does. Some might argue that the town is more in need of a diner than yet another upscale restaurant, but they will be easily lulled into full-bellied submission by chef Cam Cousin’s modern steakhouse menu.
Rather than starting with one of the aforementioned classics, I kicked off my meal at The Maple Room with ricotta gnocchi. The fluffy cheese pillows are blistered and served in a creamy truffle emulsion, punctuated by the cheesy crunch of salty Parmesan crisps. Mushrooms add an earthy body to the dish.
My grilled whole branzino came to my table with the wrong sauce. When I mentioned it to my server, the staff brought out a new plate of the dish with the correct sauce and struck the fish from my bill entirely. This was old-fashioned friendly service done right. The branzino itself was a mixed success. While I enjoyed the chunky coconut curry sauce on top and the charred bok choy dusted in crushed cashews, I was disappointed to end up with a mouth full of bones coming from what looked like a filleted fish.
Next time, I’ll be more likely to get that same sauce with a steak. The prime New York strip was cooked ideally to temperature and seasoned simply, but that’s sometimes all one needs for a satisfying slab of cow. I might try truffle fries or Brussels sprouts with lardons next time instead of the stodgy potato purée.
Among desserts, the warm white chocolate bread pudding sparkled beneath a scoop of ice cream and drizzles of pecan sticky toffee. I was less enchanted with the trio of crème brûlées, despite an impressive presentation. The desserts are served in matching covered pots with tiny spoons. The portions are massive, but perhaps due to the depth of the pots, the bottoms of my maple, vanilla, and espresso desserts never quite set.
Will The Maple Room become a staple in Vienna on the scale of its predecessor? Time will determine that. Despite some growing pains, I left feeling like I’d had a positive experience. And based on the buzz inside the sleek dining room, once the kinks are smoothed out, the new restaurant could well keep locals coming back for years to come.
377 Maple Ave. W., Vienna
See this: The former Amphora Restaurant has been transformed into a welcoming lounge with caramel-colored woods and green banquettes.
Eat this: Ricotta gnocchi, prime New York strip, white chocolate bread pudding
Feature image of New York strip by Alice Levitt
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