Vegetable potato cake with smoked salmon, sour cream, and chivesWe have an unhealthy relationship with brunch. And by unhealthy I mean not only that we invest an alarming portion of our happiness in a positive brunch experience every weekend, but also that it is literally unhealthy. I eat lots and lots of bacon, and Erin eats lots and lots of fried potatoes. Our favorite brunch places and dishes are so entrenched in our lives that it’s an act of tremendous will to go somewhere else, as we did one recent Sunday when we went to Maya. It was fine, but I missed our usuals.

Maya offers a brunch menu that is not as soulful as the old “gospel brunch” at Southern Culture in the same space, but skirting the same territory. There’s biscuits and sausage gravy, shrimp and grits, and chicken fried steak. There’s also potato pancakes with smoked salmon, a vegetable frittata, and a “Bird of Paradise” to drink. Whether you’re coming from the First Baptist Church across the street or popping in for a bite on your way back to DC, you’re likely to find a dish that appeals to your brunch sensibilities.

Vegetable frittata with sweet potato friesAs far as taste is concerned, Maya is above average but not spectacular. Most recently, the vegetable potato pancakes were fried perfection, but the huge globs of smoked salmon on top, generous though they were, required some serious forced swallowing to get through. I love smoked salmon but not unconditionally. Too much and I start to feel suffocated. The vegetable frittata was a little too gelatinous, while the sweet potato fries were delicious. I have yet to eat a sweet potato fry that I didn’t like. The bacon, a little sweeter than most, was good but not great.

The appeal of Sunday brunch at Maya lies mostly in its outdoor patio, with its umbrellas, occasional live music — we had a blues duo at the tail end of our last visit — and a view of the church with its snazzily dressed mass-goers. I won’t go out of my way to have brunch there again, but it’s worth a visit or two if you haven’t been.

Erin says: “‘For me, the main dish was just an excuse for fries and mimosas.”

award_star_gold_3 16Rating: Erin: Jed:

thumb_up 16 iconPros: Outdoor patio with umbrellas, live music (if you like that kind of thing).

thumb_down 16 iconCons: Patio is on the street so it can be busy, live music (if you don’t like that kind of thing).

money_dollar 16 iconPrice: Brunch entrees $8-$14 including one side

car famfam 16 iconParking: Some parking on the street on West Main, usually not too difficult to find a place nearby on a Sunday.

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