Photo: Travis Pratt
The Silver Maple Restaurant & Wine Bar
Originally published May 19, 2011 The Silver Maple is a new and exciting addition to Frederick's restaurant scene. Owner and executive chef Jason Routzahn opened the restaurant and wine bar in February.
When I tell friends I dined at The Silver Maple, they ask, "Where is that?"
And I answer, "It's where Hagan's Tavern used to be."
I'm certain that word-of-mouth will soon bring an end to where-the-restaurant-is-located questions and answers referring to its former occupant. People will know. And if they need a landmark, just look for the huge silver maple along the road as you drive up Braddock Mountain on U.S. Alternate 40.
The tree is more than 300 years old, Routzahn said. Quite a bit older than the 1790s stone building that is home to The Silver Maple.
If you dined here when it was Hagan's Tavern, you'll recognize the interior. Routzahn retained the wonderful murals painted by local artist Virginia Jacobs McLaughlin. He had her restore them to like new for his restaurant. They are truly unique and when you visit The Silver Maple you will want to dine in one of the two rooms with the murals or at least sneak a peek.
A "new" entrance to the restaurant is the front door. You'll get to stroll on the wonderfully wide front porch and get a real close look at the silver maple. It has a gnarly trunk and is immense.
The porch wraps around the side, where you can take a peak at the courtyard dining. It's surrounded by a high board fence. Wrought iron tables are arranged on the brick patio. This time of year there is an abundance of greenery, too.
My husband and I arrived for a weekday lunch -- that in itself was a treat since he works out of town. We were greeted and seated in the Frederick Dining Room, where McLaughlin had painted one of her four-wall, scenic murals. You'll recognize images of Frederick, particularly over the fireplace mantel, where the artist painted the city's famed clustered spires.
The wood tables have turned legs and wood chairs. The floor is yellow heart pine. The windowsills are quite deep -- equal to the thickness of the stone walls outside. Tables are set with white linen tablecloths, black napkins, clear glassware and silverware.
Our waitress, dressed in a white shirt and black vest and slacks, donned white gloves for service. The lunch menu includes starters such as shrimp cocktail, an assorted cheese tray, calamari and oysters on the half shell (from $7 to $13).
We started our meal with the cream of crab soup ($8). Absolutely wonderful! It was creamy and stocked with lots of tender crab meat.
Rick ordered the soft-shell crab BLT ($11). It was served on grilled brioche spread with Chesapeake mayo, and with a side of the house chips, which are "homemade" potato slices fried and peppered with an Old Bay-type seasoning. The chips were served in a mesh basket lined with paper printed with "London news."
The thick slices of bread were toasted golden, the crab a golden brown and as Rick said, "The best soft-shell crab sandwich I've ever had."
I had "The Burger," 8 ounces of ground buffalo on a brioche roll and served with house cut fries ($16). I've had venison, squirrel, rabbit and wild turkey, but this was the first buffalo burger for me. I had it cooked medium well, so the meat was juicy and flavorful. The bun was hearty enough to hold up to this big burger.
The lunch menu also includes salads, flatbread "sandwiches" and other entrees, such as Prince Edward Island mussels, fish and chips, crab imperial, ham-n-jam with sliced country ham, cream cheese and raspberry jelly, and crab and brie mac. Prices range from $8 to $18.
There's also a special Sunday brunch menu, with crunchy French toast, steak and eggs, a classic Western omelet, and an omelet made with crab meat.
But I'm looking forward to our 30th wedding anniversary later this year (hint, hint Mr. Guynn), and perhaps dinner at The Silver Maple.
Rack of lamb, crab imperial, pan-seared scallops, roasted breast of duck and another bowl of that cream of crab soup would be worthy of that milestone.
Routzahn has had restaurants in Florida and moved here to open The Silver Maple and be closer to family. A good move for those of us who aren't family, too.
-- Susan Guynn