Prior to my visit to Maple Creek Bistro in Kingston, I had reviewed two other restaurants in that city – Gloria Jean’s Fine Southern Provisions and Old Capital Public House. Coincidentally, unless my memory is faulty here, these two defunct businesses occupied the space where Maple Creek Bistro currently does its work – at the Ladd Landing development, home to one of the grandest Food City stores you’ll find. will ever see.
Husband Grub and I made a reservation for a weeknight last week and arrived to find a dining/bar area that has been given a neo-Southern revamp, from aging brickwork to a mix of high-end furniture and home-style, fixtures and table treatments. A separate living room occupies the western end of the space.
The menu isn’t extensive, but it does contain a good number of traditional dishes, many of which have been infused with Southern sensibilities. Appetizers include chili cheddar cheese with pita wedges, brown sugar-glazed smoky bologna and Kasseri cheese served with figs, grilled lemon, flambé brandy and assorted breads. We ordered a half portion of the Nashville Hot Chicken Tenders for $7.50.
Other options are four different salads (including Caesar and strawberry spinach), a few burgers, and a club sandwich. Spouse ordered from the Land and Sea section, which includes shrimp and grits, Atlantic salmon, fish and chips, and a Black Angus sirloin. Spouse got the Southwest Meatloaf ($17.50) – an eight-ounce medallion of breast meatloaf glazed with homemade barbecue sauce and served with Sweetwater Valley cheddar cheese, bacon, onions tobacco and a choice of side dish. The husband chose Brussels sprouts over macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, onion rings, rice pilaf and Sweetwater Valley oatmeal.
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Maple Creek Bistro also bakes its own pizzas in a wood-fired oven. Varieties include Buffalo Chicken, Cheese and Vegetable Pies only. I had the Meatlovers, going with the larger size for $16.50, which is only a dollar more than the smaller size. It was a no-brainer pizza, in my opinion. Featured meats were pepperoni, salami, bacon and Italian sausage, in addition to a five cheese blend.
Although the restaurant offers full bar service, including a number of signature cocktails, I kept things pedestrian and ordered a draft beer to tide me over until the food started showing up at our table. The dining room was moderately busy when we arrived, but while we waited for our meals a steady stream of customers continued to stream in and fill the tables. Soon a steady buzz of chatter filled the room.
The first to come out of the kitchen was a plate of five breaded chicken breasts bathed in Nashville-style hot sauce. Ranch dressing and honey mustard are available for dipping, but I asked for blue cheese, my sauce of choice for spicy dishes. And those offerings did indeed pack a big punch, although the spiciness never quite reached my pain threshold.
Shortly after our starters arrived, starting with my pizza. The 14 inch was cut into eight slices, each brimming with cheese and chunks of meat. Everything was fantastic, from the chewy crust to the thick cheese mix to the array of sausages and bacon. The bacon alone carried a lot of the flavor load and really shined with its fried pork goodness.
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Enthusiastic congratulations also go to the meatloaf. The flavor of the brisket was phenomenal, and I appreciated that the consistency of the bread was not overly heavy and didn’t rely heavily on a non-meat filler to bulk up. I’m not a big fan of Brussels sprouts, but Maple Creek’s treatment of them almost won me over.
We ended our evening by sharing a skillet cookie served with vanilla ice cream ($6.50). They have several cheesecake options, but none are homemade, so we stuck with the cookie. It was indeed served in a hot pan, although the portion could be easily consumed by one person. In our case, we were too stuffed to try individual desserts.
So while its predecessors at this location couldn’t afford to go the distance, I have to say Maple Creek Bistro seems to be doing things the right way. I hope the next time I take a trip to Kingston for dinner I won’t be seated at another new tenant in Ladd Landing.
Maple Creek Bistro
Address: 1000 Ladd Landing Blvd., Ste. 120 Kingston
Full bar service
Hours: 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday
This Kingston restaurant is worth a visit with a tasty, chef-led menu complemented by solid service and an attractive setting.