Restaurant Review: Maison

I’m sitting at my computer this morning looking out my window at the lack of snow and getting a bit annoyed. Anyone else with me?! Last night and all day yesterday the weather people were saying that we were in for some serious snow. I heard anywhere from 2-4 inches to 6-9 inches of heavy snow expected. At this late in the year, and considering the fact that we had exactly zero good snowfall this year, I was excited to see a bit of the white stuff before Spring is here in a matter of weeks. I’m a snow lover and if we’re going to get some, we might as well get enough to make travel difficult, thus making it perfectly acceptable to stay in sweats all day watching movies and drinking hot cocoa. I went to sleep last night dreaming of just such a day and woke up to…bupkiss. Drizzle, wind and definitely no snow. I think meteorologist is the only job in which you can be wrong most of the time and not get fired; maybe they’re all geniuses! I need to find a job like that.

Anyway, since there is no snow and no “good” excuse for me to sit on the couch watching movies all day, I guess I’ll catch you up on one of our latest meals at the local restaurant Maison. We actually went here for my birthday back in January and I’m finally getting around to telling you about it, but they deserve a great plug because it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long, long time.

Maison is located on Prince Street in downtown Lancaster City and used to be our other favorite restaurant, Effie Ophelia. When Effie Ophelia left, Eric and I wondered if the next restaurant would be able to take their place in our hearts and our stomachs and although Maison has been established for a while now, we just didn’t make it a priority to try them out. Perhaps we needed a grieving period. We started hearing that this place was good and even tried to make reservations once or twice but they’ve got the tiniest dining room and we could never get a reservation. My birthday was coming up and we decided to take a later reservation just so we could finally find out if this place was any good.

Maison is BYOB, a feature I happen to love because it saves you money and you can bring a special bottle of whatever you like with you! Eric brought a little something for himself and I stuck with my favorite beverage of the last 9 months, water. The first indication that this place was going to be right up our alley was when the waiter told us that the appetizer special was fois gras. (Anytime fois gras is mentioned, Eric gets a giddy look about him and a sparkle in his eyes. He absolutely loves the stuff.) Then the waiter mentioned a special entree of beef cheeks. I thought Eric might kiss him.

We made our selections and sat back to enjoy this special meal. First came the fois gras with caramelized shallots. Yum.

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The shallots added to the sweetness of the rich fois gras and each bite just melted in your mouth.

The fois gras was followed by my entree, rosemary rabbit ragu with home made pasta.

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I love rabbit. It’s not as common of a protein and whenever I see it on a menu, I get it. It has great flavor and is never dry. This ragu was perfect; it coated the pasta well and had so much flavor. It was paired with chanterelle mushrooms, another favorite of mine, and pancetta. I loved every bite!

Eric’s braised beef cheeks came out with my rabbit.

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Just looking at the picture makes me want to taste this dish again. The beef cheeks were perfectly braised, full of flavor and melted in your mouth; they even had a bit of horseradish to add another layer of flavor and spice. They were served over home made spaetzle which soaked up all the delicious sauce. Eric and I both loved it.

For dessert, we shared the Earl Grey creme brulee. And, yes, we were so busy eating it that I forgot to take a picture. Sorry! It looked like creme brulee but was the color of Early Grey tea. I’m not one to go for a flavored creme brulee normally. I like the traditional creme brulee, however this flavor intrigued me and I must admit it was one of the best I’ve ever eaten. In fact, I’ve been contemplating adding some Earl Grey flavor to my own creme brulee the next time I make it.

To sum the evening up, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and the food. Maison has a warm and cozy atmosphere, excellent service and incredible food. They are BYOB so don’t forget to bring along your favorite drink and make sure you make reservations; they’re very cozy and can’t accommodate too many people in the dining room at once. If you’re a fan of local, fresh, farm to table food (if you’re not a fan of that, you’re nuts) go here. Plain and simple. Check out more about Maison, including their current menu, on their website: maisonlancaster.com.

Also, small plug, it’s restaurant week in Lancaster! From March 4-10 you can enjoy special menus and amazingly low prices from all your favorite Lancaster restaurants. Check out more information and restaurant specials on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LancasterCityRestaurantWeek  A word of advice, this is a great chance to try a restaurant that normally might be too expensive for a night out, try something new! Also, make reservations, especially if you want to go on a weekend night, these deals fill up fast. Take a night off from cooking and go on a date with your special someone or a group of friends!

**Check out the food section of the Lancaster Newspaper today! There’s a great article that mentions The Red Velvet Blog! Click here to read it online!

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