New Yorkers are known to give the French a run for their money when it comes to authentic French food. Bonus points when a place can do up the grand seafood platters right. Welcome to Maison Close in Soho, whose raison d’être is not to be just another French restaurant. This is the review.
There was something so special about New York City in the early 2000s. Those were the days of the real Sex and the City, and yes, we all had a cosmopolitan or two. The Meatpacking District still had S&M clubs. You would sell your soul to get into Bungalow 8, which remains one of the most legendary clubs ever. And Le Bilboquet was a tiny little boîte on the Upper East Side, where each night would end in dancing on tables. Well, there’s a new restaurant that’s a throwback to those days, and it’s Maison Close in Soho.
When they concepted Maison Close, I’m not sure if they intended it to be the center of the party. The decor channels a slightly more decadent Balthazar in a Belle Époque kind of way. Weekend brunch on a nice day means sitting al fresco, just like in Paris, with the charming blue and white bistro chairs lining the walkway. But when you fill it with people, which is a late-affluent 20s to early-50s crowd, Maison Close progresses into a version of the old Bagatelle. Big groups celebrate birthdays, and then the scene goes NC17, with a burlesque show. (Yes, she is wearing tassel pasties.) On a weekend night, everyone at Maison Close is clearly there to have a good time.
For a place that becomes a fun den of debauchery as the night wears on, the food is shockingly good. At the helm is executive chef Geoffrey Lechantoux, who previously worked at the Louis XIV in Monaco and the Jules Verne and Plaza Athénée in Paris. Unlike those spots, the food is not meant to be Michelin-level, but you’re not going to send anything back, for sure. The oysters were some of the best I’ve had in the city. I’d suggest beginning with a proper seafood plateau, with oysters, lobster, and shrimp, to get the party started. The smoked salmon was generous enough to be a meal, though the other starters, like the artichoke salad, are more petite. The Dover sole and the côte de boeuf for two are the strongest on the menu and represent French food at its simple, decadent best.
For a place that leads with its scene, the service borders on excellent. We rate this in comparison to spots like Tao, Catch, or Cipriani Downtown. They’re not just nice to who they want to be; the team at Maison Close is nice to everyone. Every table is packed yet servers and waitstaff are attentive. Drinks are refilled without long waits and food comes out well-timed.
We officially have a new place for a party night out in the city.
Q: What are the hours of Maison Close?
A: Hours of operation:
Q: Is Maison Close good for families?
A: If you’re in the neighborhood during the day and want to sit outside with the kids for an early brunch, it’s fine. However Maison Close is a fun, party-like atmosphere. So, unless your kids want to see a burlesque show at night, leave them at home.
Q: Is Maison Close good for large groups?
A: Maison Close is perfect for large groups of friends celebrating a birthday or just life itself.
Maison Close Information
Address: 15 Watts St, New York, NY 10013