On one recent night I was home minding my business when my friend, Kate, called to invite me to a tasting. Of course! When? “In an hour,” she said with a pregnant chuckle. It was on the Upper West Side, and a forebodingly balmy January evening so I made it happen.
Kate and I met at the latest restaurant from the people of Jacob’s Pickle, Maison Pickle (2315 Broadway, 212-496-9100, www.maisonpickle.com). The small restaurant front, once housing the staple Ouest, is dwarfed by its neighbor, 5 Napkin Burger, but after spelunking past the bar and host area, Maison Pickle opens to a cavernous multilevel space.
We were seated at a communal table with other food colleagues for a family style experience, plus any menu requests. Thanks to Maison Pickle’s beverage manager, we discovered Chateau Bouscasse Les Jardins, Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh, as a must-have white wine. I ordered a subtly sweet vodka cocktail, Lemongrass Aphroditi (the owner’s homage to his wife), with chamomile and verjus.
Kate and I jumped into the “Break Bread” already on the table of fresh, hot pull-apart bread and butter. We eyed the menu from “Nosh & Noms” to duck fat gaufrettes and everywhere in between. Classic French dip sandwiches are the featured item, a classic beef with horseradish aioli or pork with spiced apple compote, all served on a house-baked French roll with pan-scraped au jus.
We ordered garlic chili cucumber to prep our palates and the tomato cucumber sheep’s milk salad as a foil for all of the rich foods to ensue. Both were done well. And before we could start salivating, the shrimp pillow dumplings with ginger butter, crispy scallions, chili and herb oil hit the table. If you love dim sum, this must “get got” at Maison Pickle. I would certainly rest my head on them.
We tried two of the French dip sandwiches, but they were way too awkward to share with someone, let alone a table of eight. I will return for the Deluxe with fried onions and Gruyere fondue.
While we didn’t taste any of the standard entrees such as housemade merguez sausage with dirty fried rice and yogurt (yum!), they treated us to the “Le Grand” (for 2 plus people) menu. The half pig head confit with coconut rice and kimchi ($80) was impressive but impossible to attack without looking like a rabid carnivore. However, our favorite, flounder Rockelleller ($65), took the gold medal. A whole stuffed flounder with creamed spinach, hollandaise, gremolata and charred lemon was love at first bite.
Our sweet tooths were not left out of the meal. Ending with generous slices of peanut butter chocolate and banana cream pie sent me joyously into the night to enjoy a sated long walk home. Congratulations on the growing pickle empire!
Happy eating and thanks for reading!
Kysha Harris is a food writer and editor, culinary producer, consultant and owner of SCHOP!, a personalized food service in NYC for more than 15 years. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, @SCHOPgirl, on Facebook, /SCHOPnyc, and her blog, www.talkingSCHOP.wordpress.com. Questions? Comments? Requests? Feedback? Invitations! Email AmNewsFOOD at AmNewsFOOD@SCHOPnyc.com. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @NYAmNewsFOOD and tag us with #SoAmNewsFOOD with your food finds!