Beyond the already bustling environs and glowing, highly-organized decor, Maison Pickle succeeds at elevating American cuisine to great heights. The restaurant, which opened this past weekend on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, is in no way to the first to tackle this concept—but the way it embraces the French Dip sandwich as its menu centerpiece and encourages guests to get their hands dirty in the process feels wholly refreshing. On the menu’s flip-side, signature cocktails and revised classics join several tap beers and an uncommonly impressive list of vintage beers. Despite the abundance of refined offerings, Maison Pickle never forgets to have fun. Therein lies its success as a superb dining experience for just about everyone. They figured out the recipe: envelop guests in a lively atmosphere, upgrade the ingredients in a dish and let people bite into something lovable.
Maison Pickle celebrates American food. Five different variations on the French Dip sandwich (an American deli classic) combine top quality beef from Fleischer’s with in-house baked bread and pan-scraped jus. Understandably, the portions are large. Our personal favorite, in Counter Classics section of the menu, was the Patty Melt—a variation on the French Dip that was accompanied by the jus and a spicy coleslaw. The homemade Merguez sausages with dirty friend rice also impressed. As for sides and starters, mac and cheese with bacon and duck fat gaufrettes warrant attention. Heartiness plays its role, but with all desserts made in house daily, one should consider saving room.
Just as much care has been dedicated to the drinks menu as the food. Patrons will find many an ‘old timey’ concoction here, including Cobblers and Swizzles. Our personal favorite from the signature menu was the Maison Punch (with strong but not overpowering absinthe notes). While sat at the rear bar/dining counter we noticed that both the gin-forward Jasmine cocktail and cognac and apple brandy Upper West Side sipper (both pictured above) were two crowd favorites. The entire beer selection is strong, but the vintage beer list is a creature of exceptional beauty. Here, one will find Allagash Brewing’s Allagash Curieux, Bourbon Barrel Aged… from 2006. Brooklyn Brewery and New Hampshire’s White Birch Brewing can also be found on the list. All of these come at a premium, of course, but Maison Pickle doesn’t deny the fact it’s upscale. Quality comes first but constantly reminds those who walk through the door that dining should be celebratory and fun.
Images courtesy of Maison Pickle