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“An Ode to New Orleans in Williamsburg: Maison Premiere, By Dara Pollak”

  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American Brooklyn Cheap Eats Good


There are many places in New York that strive for the old-world, southern charm that Maison Premiere so effortlessly delivers to Williamsburg, yet a lot of the time it ends up feeling kitschy or tacky. This New Orleans inspired oyster bar and cocktail den feels real. The intricacies of the décor play a huge role, with antique telephones, lamps and candelabras, there is a mellow glow over the entire bar at night; and whether it’s coming from the strong drinks you just had or the lighting, the ambience is warm and relaxed. The bartenders (complete with suspenders) are friendly and know their drinks, but the one thing they encourage: pick your poison. This is what Beverage Director and Marketing Manager Maxwell Britten calls “NOT bartender’s choice.” At Maison Premiere, this is your occasion.

The new outdoor garden carries the same sense of tradition that the indoor bar does, with beautiful garden lights hanging around the circumference; it casts a fuzzy glow on the wrought iron tables (where a lovely plate of oysters can sit, if you so choose). The Garden Menu is an abridged version of the regular menu, with Absinthe Drip (your choice absinthe, a sugar cube and chilled water), eight cocktails (ranging from $8-$14), nine types of bottled beer ($5-$24), and a solid wine and champagne selection (by the glass or bottle).

The drinks are potent and inherently New Orleans; according to bartender Will, this means “lots of booze and bitters”. If you like cherries, try the Frenchman Roulette – Wild Turkey, Old Overholt, maraschino cherries, absinthe and creole bitters.

The food is perhaps the one area at Maison Premiere where simplicity is key, but details are still not overlooked. Oysters. Ceviche. Shrimp Cocktail. Crab Legs. Mussels. On ice. These are your options. There are twenty-six oysters to choose from, and I personally enjoyed the kumamoto oysters the best ($2.75 each); a drizzle of mignonette (vinegar and shallots), a bit of horseradish and lemon: each bite was clean and tart. The shrimp cocktail was so juicy and fresh, and the black bass ceviche with orange juice, lime salt, lime juice and pickled onions was touched with a tangy sweetness, and very delicious. It was a real treat (and honestly, a surprise) to find such fresh seafood at a bar in Williamsburg.

As for the addition of the outdoor garden, Maxwell said ... [more, click below]

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