Review: Maplewood Grille Intros Colombian Fare From the Heart

by The Village Green
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Photo by Robert Knoll/Swap SOMa Lounge

Photo by Robert Knoll/Swap SOMa Lounge

People who love food always favor more dining choices. Well-prepared, tasty, good home-cooking that makes you glad you stepped out of your own kitchen.

That’s what the Maplewood Grille is serving up.

Recently taking over what used to be the Maplewood Deli on Maplewood Avenue, chef-owner Andres Ulloa cooks from the heart. Turning the freshest ingredients into simply prepared meals that feast the senses, his Colombian specialties are a welcome addition to Maplewood Village.

We’ve yet to sample Andres’ breakfasts or sandwiches, but our recent dinner experience there already beckons us back. Carne asada was a generous portion of perfectly broiled, seasoned, tender flank steak — slightly charred on the outside, and rare in the center.  Served with a bold and pungent chimchurri sauce (so fresh you could taste the pops of finely chopped  parsley,garlic, and oregano), crispy tostones and a perky green side salad (fries could be your alternative).

The other traditional fare we tried was arroz con pollo, seasoned yellow rice with vegetables and chicken, also served with side salad. Yet another delicious dish appeared: moist pieces of shredded chicken poked out of a mound of tasty yellow rice and veggies that retained their individual flavors. (There could have been more chicken…just sayin’).  The hummus appetizer was textured, with a Colombian twist on the traditional Middle Eastern classic.

Chef Andres just introduced dessert by way of a creamy rice pudding, just sweet enough top off the savory meal.

Other items of note:

  • Attentive, informed wait staff
  • BYOB
  • Bright, clean, classic décor
  • Hours have been expanded to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Open every day 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (open to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, Saturday).

Although we think Maplewood Grille should lose the television screens and adjust the lighting to be less “diner-y,” we hear there’s a redesign in the works. So, a seamless dining experience is not far off!

Maplewood Grille, 149 Maplewood Avenue, Maplewood, NJ. 973.762.6688. www.maplewoodgrille.com.

The Maplewood Mystery Muncher is a local resident with a discerning palate and impeccable taste. You never know where he/she may turn up next!

Click on photos to enlarge.

 

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