White Maple Cafe opened without me realizing it. I happened to be walking by one day, after a fine meal at from scratch, and there it was. A good-looking restaurant with an interesting menu. Who knew?
I popped in for a quick lunch the other day to see what was going on. I liked what I saw and enjoyed what I had, for the most part.
Right out of the gate I got the sense that this is a well-managed restaurant. And that's refreshing. Music was on and to my liking, with some adult-oriented alt-rock (Florence and the Machine, Death Cab for Cutie, etc.). The servers were pleasant and efficient. Water bottles (still or sparkling) were offered and the bottle placed on the table (as they do in every European country I've been to). <rant> Why American restaurant owners think it's good policy to have an employee constantly walking around filling up small glasses water is beyond me. People want water. Is that so hard to understand? And when I see they don't have the sense to leave a bottle on the table I immediately question their ability to run a restaurant. </rant>
ANYway, I ordered the burger. The burger on the lunch menu is a bit different than the burger on the dinner menu. Presumably to keep it at reasonable lunch prices ($13-ish?) The burger is served with cheddar, lettuce, tomato relish, spicy mayo, on a brioche bun. The dinner burger is the same, but includes bison in the grind. I'm not sure what bison is going to bring to the party here. Bison is lean. I want fat. I'll have to go back and try this dinner burger, but I can't imagine it's much different than the lunch burger.
I'm not one for leaf lettuce on hot burgers, because it starts to break down immediately and takes on a very flabby, sewer-gas-like, vegetal flavor. Off it went. The rest of the stuff on the burger was quite good. The spicy mayo wasn't overwhelming. The bun, thankfully, was an appropriate size for the burger. The bun in fact was spot on.
Unfortunately the burger was cooked a bit north of the m/r that it was ordered. And I think it suffered greatly due to this.
The fries appeared to be house-cut and twice-cooked. They were appropriately salted, although a bit limp at times. Good fries overall, though.
A basket of popcorn was presented when I was seated. I assumed it would have been seasoned in some way, but it was just popcorn. Just popcorn isn't so bad, though.
The menu appeals to me. I get the sense that it's a well-run restaurant and the people who own it actually care about their business and *gasp* even know how to run a restaurant. For these reasons I'll certainly be back to dive more deeply into the menu.
White Maple Cafe : 47 E. Ridgewood Ave : Ridgewood, NJ : 201.447.1953 : BYO, although they do offer bottles of wine from a local winery