Maison Kayser is like a trip to France for the cost of a subway fare. I love that place. My first visit, I was a bit disappointed by what I got: I remember I was looking forward to getting an authentic Mille feuille, but what I got was not what I expected and the cafe gourmand was so so. But, since then, each time I went back, I got some delicious cakes or viennoiseries (croissant, pain au chocolat, etc.). And since then, locations have been popping up throughout the city. At this pace, Maison Kayser will be the Starbucks of French Boulangeries-Patisseries.
We decided to go to their new location on Bleecker during the day of New Year's Eve. The place was fairly crowded from people coming to buy some delicious cakes and breads. We sat in the dining room, overlooking the kitchen where they tirelessly made some baguettes, an operation I watched with lots of interest.
I admit that I looked with attention to the menu and was surprised to see other things than tartines or eggs, like the cassoulet or the boeuf Bourguignon, dishes that you would more expect in a brasserie. But one dish caught my eye even more: the foie gras maison "au torchon" or homemade duck foie gras. Foie gras au torchon is like a paté (I hope I do not offend people saying this) as opposed to pan seared. You spread it on toasted bread, like butter, and it can be eaten with a chutney. At Maison Kayser, they serve it with quince chutney and a delicious rustic bread that was perfectly toasted. The foie itself was delicious, with hints of alcohol (maybe armagnac?) used in the process.
It was appetizer size and I decided to also get their croque-monsieur. Made with house cured ham, Mornay sauce and gruyere cheese, it was served like a tartine and cut in slices, to allow for sharing. I liked it, especially considering the amount of cheese it had, between the sauce and the gruyere.
Jodi decided to go for the tartine de chevre et figues, an open face sandwich made with goat cheese and figs, caramelized onions and balsamic reduction. That was also a delicious dish, the goat cheese pairing perfectly with the caramelized onions for additional sweetness and the figs. There were also walnuts that were not mentioned on the menu.
With our meal, we had some of their amazing bread, as well as some salted butter.
We wanted dessert, but for later and therefore stopped by the counter at the entrance. Jodi decided to order a chocolate eclair and I got a tarte aux marrons or chestnut tart. Both were sublime, but my favorite was the chestnut tart that was fantastic: not too sweet, it truly let the chestnut be the star of the dish. I found it even better than the Mont Blanc pastry from Lady M! I should mention that each pastry was packed in its own individual box, made with the perfect size, to allow transportation. Even in France, I rarely see that and you often end up with either some pastries toppling over or shoved against each other. This was perfect and both arrived home without any damage.
I also got a pain aux raisins for my breakfast the next day and, even a day old, it was very good, bringing back some memories.
I love Maison Kayser and who knows: with all the locations Eric Kayser is opening, it might not be uncommon in few years to see people walking in the street with a baguette under their arm...
Enjoy (I did)!
If you like this post, the photos or the blog, please feel free to share it or post a comment. Merci!