“Do one thing and Do it well” has been used as a slogan and motivational tool for business and individuals of all industries. All industries, that is, except for restaurants. Doing only one thing well in a kitchen cannot provide the average eatery enough turn over and return business to keep the lights on. But occasionally this model works, and Maple Street Biscuit Company is out to prove it can be done. They have taken the beloved buttermilk biscuit of the Southern kitchen and created a menu unique and well-rounded enough to satisfy any palette.
In the former Moe’s of San Marco, owner/operators Gus Evans and Scott Moore have taken the southwest eatery and turned it upside down with a sturdy renovation. And instead of the “WELCOME TO MOE’S!!!” upon entering, you are now greeted with the amazing smell of fresh baked biscuits that are made right behind the register. The old hot line of beans and rice has been turned into a bar that ends with a specialty coffee station, which includes their house blend of Maple Coffee. Along the other wall are several individual tables for two to four diners and at the very front a large community table. It is a very casual place, much like the address’ predecessor, you review the large menu on the wall and walk up to order. They get the customer more involved by using little questions to call your order as opposed to your name. Today’s was “What is your favorite band?”, so instead of dining with Maren and Kelam, on this day I dined with Rascal Flats. We sit at the community table and wait for the band names to be called more impatiently than not.
The biscuit is a difficult art, if not made with the right ratio of ingredients, it can go from the extreme of a hardtack style piece of bread to a mushy lump of school paste. But at Maple Street, they know and understand the biscuit and what it takes to make a good one. They would not tell me much about the biscuit’s ingredients, but I did get some insight on the technique. I was told they do not use the Southern staple of White Lily Self-Rising Flour, but they trade it for their own made in house mixture. And like any good mother or father in the kitchen making biscuits, they are sure the fat is nice and hard before cutting it into the dry ingredients. Simply put, the biscuit is a biscuit, nothing to write home about, but nothing to shy away from, it is still one good piece of bread. The major difference you will find between their biscuit and mom’s is in the texture, since they shred in the cold fat instead of cut or knead it in, it creates a more layered biscuit, but it does not affect the final product.
The Reinhold, all natural fried chicken breast, crunchy dill pickle, house made honey mustard, $6.
Not sure if named after the actor famed for Beverly Hills Cop and Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but if it is, I like his style. For a place that focuses on the delivery vehicle, they do a damn good job making sure the accompaniments are just as good. The chicken is juicy and well seasoned, could possibly give Beach Road Chicken a run for their money. The pickles are thick cut and just right for the dish, nothing over powering coming from the brined cucumber. It is finished off with simple honey mustard, not overly sweet or spicy from one of the ingredients overtaking the other. A very well balanced dish.
Squawk on the Street, all natural fried chicken breast, house made pepper jelly, $6.
The biscuit. Then the chicken. Now the pepper jelly. Sweet, tangy and spicy all rolled into one tasty treat most southerners eat by the gobs with cream cheese and crackers. Though not made from the regional favorite of Datil peppers, and I personally felt it could have used a little more spiciness, it was still really tasty.
The Squawking Goat, all natural fried chicken breast, fried goat cheese medallion, $7.50.
Apparently we all thought the idea of chicken and biscuits for breakfast would be awesome this day. The “Goat” portion is a simple breaded and fried medallion of Chevre. They add a little twist of herbs, nothing over powering. We felt the portion of the goat’s cheese could have been a little heavier.
The Garden Bird, all natural fried chicken, collard greens, fried egg, hot sauce, $6.
One final chicken biscuit, then we get to the others. Nothing special about the individual components on this one, standard southern greens, an egg, a dash of Tabasco, and it turns out they all work really well together.
The Blues Biscuit, pulled pork, slaw, honey bbq, $7.
Truthfully the only one we found lacking, though it may have been because we were enjoying all the others that it just got cold on us. The pork was not over or under cooked, and the bbq sauce was not too sweet. The slaw was a not as creamy as we liked either. But, like I said, this one was one of the last tried and it was most likely our fault for it getting cold, which very well may have been perfect when we first got it. I may give this one another shot, but honestly, the others are good enough to forget this one.
The Ralphie Deluxe, spicy sausage gravy, fried egg, $6.
Biscuit, sausage gravy, spiciness, a fried egg, I am pretty sure this is how a weekend southern breakfast is depicted in magazines. I remember my mother making biscuits and gravy rather often, and it is always hard to stack up against Momma’s cooking. They may not get the belt in this round, but they sure did give her a run for the money. I mean after all, Mumsie Dearest never made fried chicken and pepper jelly to go with hers. Hint, hint.
A very pleasing visit to the Maple Street Biscuit Company left us wanting to just grab a quick nap in our chairs or go for a whiskey tasting at the Grape & Grain Exchange before we go for another round. Needless to say, I will be back for more biscuits and I will be back soon. I am hoping I can get them to let me build my own combination of flavors. If they let me do that with their convenient breakfast and lunch hours, and even dinner hours on the weekends, I may be there often enough to get a biscuit named after me.