Crème Brulee Croissant
Housemade Snickers Bar
Chocolate Pistachio Croissant
White Chocolate Pretzel Cookie
Vanilla Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Now with three locations in Manhattan, one in Brooklyn and another in Canada it may fairly be said that Maman is a chain, the concept born out of Southern France and brought to America by two entrepreneurs focused on farm-fresh ingredients widely respected for a menu prone to change, though the service at the Soho location on a Wednesday morning was anything but warm.
Slightly different from location to location, the Tribeca store offering seated Lunch and Brunch while Soho focuses largely on to-go Pastries, Sandwiches and Salads with no WiFi for those wishing to stay and enjoy a cup of Coffee, the interior of the space at 239 Centre Street can best be described as shabby-chic with a touch of kitsch, the bathroom lined in old family photographs while decoration is provided by wooden trunks and woven baskets of plants.
Featuring the recipes of Armand Arnal, a Michelin-starred Chef still residing in France, diners approaching Maman are visually greeted by a dark Blue façade followed by a counter divided into two-halves by the register, the selection at 10:00am mostly sweet save for a few styles of Quiche with prices that are competitive with most of New York City, the Croissants $3.50 and Cookies similar.
Opting for two Coffees, an Alain Milliat Nectar and six pastries, the cost of just under $45 divided by two friends, it was at a wooden table in back that Breakfast was enjoyed as one man sat reading a book while three others held a brief meeting, first bites of the Almond Croissant unfortunately finding it flat and flaccid with too much Frangipane while the caramelized Sugar-topped Crème Brulee was surprisingly a bit better off despite the custard, though it still falls far short of the masterfully laminated version at Union Fare by comparison.
Moving on to a duo of cookies, not near as big as those at Union Fare or Levain despite a similar price, those looking for something sweet and salty would be advised to invest $3.75 in the White Chocolate Pretzel round with a crisp rim and soft center while steering clear of the ‘Vanilla’ Oatmeal Raisin that was clumpy and largely flavored like Sugar.
Saving the $5 Housemade Snickers Bar for last, the idea essentially a Peanut-studded layer of Fudge atop a Nougat base with a touch of Salty Caramel, those looking for Maman’s most inspired bite should reach straight for the Chocolate Pistachio Croissant that takes the French standard Pain au Chocolat to new heights by adding grated Nuts to the top and interior, though it potentially could have been even better without the thin, green Cream.
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