Three Maples, a spacious new bar in Bed-Stuy that serves a short, appealing menu of first-rate food, probably wouldn't exist if the pandemic hadn't upended everything three years ago.
Back in pre-pandemic times, Matthew Lief, Michael Felix, and Maria Dela Cruz were plenty busy with their Landhaus operation, running a stand at Berg'n in Crown Heights, spending weekends slinging food at the Smorgasburgs, and setting up shop at festivals like Gov Ball.
Berg'n never reopened after the initial COVID lockdown and, after a stint doing meal delivery for the city, Lief, Felix, and Dela Cruz started plotting how to pull off an idea they'd been tossing around since they first met as sous chefs at the fancy Hotel Pierre in Manhattan. "We just wanted to do a neighborhood bar," Lief told Hell Gate, "and build up a following the old-fashioned way, through the quality of our food, drinks, and atmosphere."
And so last week we got Three Maples on Fulton Street, right near the Kingston-Throop C train stop. Its vibes are very much what they envisioned—a comfortable, welcoming place to post up for a few beers and grab some simple, well-executed food that's better than you'd expect from a neighborhood bar.
Though all three partners are chefs by trade, Dela Cruz runs the kitchen at Three Maples, which serves a few classic Landhaus bangers as well as enough new dishes to keep regulars excited. The burger is the place to start, mostly because it's awesome. A four-ounce patty is topped in the traditional fashion (lettuce, tomato, onion, melted American) with a bunch of "haus sauce" glopping things up. Very solid fries, too.
I lived two blocks away from Three Maples for around five years, and on so many winter nights wished there was somewhere close by I could sit and chill and eat a plate of food like this with no fuss for under twenty bucks. Too late for me, but not for thee.
There's a fried chicken sandwich here too, spicy with scotch bonnets, sweet with pickle slaw (also served with fries, or a salad if you're feeling dainty), and a comically long and large slab of beer-battered haddock served over a bed of chips (in this case, fries).
All of these are dinner-sized portions, but there's some good shareable stuff here as well, led by the team's "world famous" Landaus bacon (smoked in-house, slow-roasted for maximum tenderness, and slick with maple syrup). The barbecue wings are also crazy smoky, and the eloté dip (which is exactly what it sounds like), is so much fun it could easily supplant the bacon as the joint's signature snack.
A couple of salads (the cheesy Caesar was decent), offer optional add-ons like lardons, grilled chicken, or shrimp skewers to make an under-twenty-dollar meal. Charred broccoli with garlic and chili flakes and that "old-standby" blistered shishito peppers round out the food options for now.
House cocktails are $15 and under, there are wines by the glass or bottle, and a draft beer from brewers like Industrial Arts, Grimm, and Mast Landing will set you back like nine bucks. Sit at the long marble bar, or at the even longer marble counter, or at one of the baller banquettes in the front and back of the place.
"This is our first brick and mortar where we have full control over everything," said Lief. "Where we're not just an amenity at someone else's bar. We're rooted here."
Three Maples is located at 1452 Fulton Street, between Kingston and Tompkins Avenues, and is currently open from 4:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, and from 4:00 to 2:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Look for happy hour specials from 4:00 to 6:00 (347-365-9382)