Maison Harlem

05. December 2012 French, West + East Harlem 0

As a Harlem resident for the last 10 years, I’m all for new bars and restaurants in the area. The neighborhood has definitely changed. You see more new faces walking around, cafés and boutiques, but its growth is still slower than Brooklyn’s.

Maison Harlem tries hard. A well-dressed gentleman–and may I say good-looking too–approached our table to ask how the food was. He told us that when he opened the place his main priority was good food, and now he’s working on improving the service. His next to-do is to refine the bar which is much needed because when we were there, they didn’t have a cocktail list and could not make me a Dark and Stormy because they didn’t have ginger beer.

1. Space – The interior is beautiful and you can’t tell that from its on location on St. Nicholas Avenue. May I request for coat and purse hooks under the bar and by the booths though?
2. Crowd – It was nice to see more Harlem adults out for dinner. It was a mixed crowd on a Saturday night. Harlem is changing indeed.

Watch out:
1. Food – While the food wasn’t bad–my poached egg on my frisée de lardon came out perfectly and my hanger steak was medium-rare–it lacked oomph. We weren’t extremely satisfied after eating as if something was amiss. My steak could have used some salt and the truffled mac and cheese could have been more hearty and cheesier. Props for having Roquefort cheese as an option with the burger; I haven’t seen that cheese on any uptown menus, I swear.
2. Bar – The drinks are on the strong side until they create and refine their signature cocktails.
3. Service – Waiting on 5 ladies is difficult enough and I think we challenged our waiter with our decibel level and flustered him with our endless questions. But we kept him on his toes and he passed our test. I hope they keep it up when it gets more attention.