Last Saturday, we went for brunch to Maman (mom in French), a new up and coming place in TriBeCa. I cannot remember what was in that location, but Maman is surely a good addition in the neighborhood, proposing family inspired recipes from France and North America, thanks to the association of Chef Armand Arnal, Benjamin Sormone and Elisa Marshall.
In fact, I was looking forward to try their brunch after having their Nutella beignet that is out of this world. Nutella lovers will definitely not be disappointed after seeing the amount of deliciousness that is in the core of the beignet.
As the first time we went was Easter, they had a special: a coconut eclair that was decent (it was more for Jodi as I am not as a huge fan of coconut as she is and she loved it).
That place was really crowded for brunch, in both the bakery area at the entrance and the dining room in the back, but we were able to sit at their communal table fairly quickly. The decor was rustic, with lots of plants or artifacts that give the impression you are away in the countryside. It goes in line with the fact that they locally source ingredients, crafting a mouth watering menu that is a combination of French classics and traditional brunch dishes. Or shall I say "frunch"?
Jodi went for the deconstructed avocado toast composed of crushed avocado with lime and cilantro, tomatoes and pumpkin seeds, served with a homemade country bread. This seems to be one of their popular dishes and I was not surprised that they had an avocado toast on their menu as it seems to become the dish to serve. However, to set themselves apart, it was interesting to see a deconstructed version. It was definitely good, refreshing and healthy in a way.
On my side, I got the "rabbit hole" that is an egg in a hole, but again, their own version, with honey roasted pastrami, caramelized onions, comté cheese and tomato, topped with a sunny side egg. The bread was quite soft, the shape of a bagel, but the texture of a brioche (less dense than a bagel for sure), with poppyseed on top. It was great: rustic, I loved the different layers of flavor, between the bread, meat, egg, as well as the sweetness of the onions and the sharpness of the cheese.
On top of that, the egg was perfectly cooked, the yolk being runny.
Last, I really wanted to try the "oeuf a la coque" that are soft boiled eggs, where the white and yolk are runny and used as a dip for some pieces of bread. This is a very traditional French dish that reminds me of my childhood. When the dish came, I did not expect three eggs as the name of the dish indicated only one... Then, after I removed the top of the first egg with my knife, I sensed that it was overcooked. I reached out to the yolk and confirmed my diagnosis. I tried the second and third, and all of them were in the same state. I admit that I was a bit disappointed and the waiter did not even know how this should be served. At least, the country bread and spreads (tapenade and sundried tomato -a guess for the later) were very good.
On our way out, we could not resist stopping by their bakery and bring home some of their cookies. We tried:
The Oreo cookie:
Maman’s ‘famous’ nutty chocolate chunk cookie:
I admit that these cookies were a bit disappointing: the Oreo cookie tasted stale and the nutty chocolate chip cookie was just ok, having in some part too much macadamia nuts and not enough chocolate. Clearly not at the same level of that Nutella beignet I tried the week before!
Overall, I liked Maman: good food, reasonable prices and nice atmosphere. Would I go back? Certainly, and maybe for their dinner this time, but for sure for more of the goodies they bake, especially the beignet or the Nutella madeleines...
Enjoy (I did)!
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