Maude's Liquor Bar: Oh-so-trendy French bistro
Simple, yet delicious. Sophisticated, but casual. My friends and I came here for a late night dinner and arrived to find a bustling, dimly lit space. The hostesses were professional but a little curt--we had a last minute addition to our original reservation and were told that we would have to wait an additional hour for a table because we couldn’t squeeze in. Spotting a two-person table open up to the one originally on our reservation, a waiter kindly petitioned on our behalf to secure the extra space needed to seat our party, and we were soon seated. Everything was uphill from there. We started off with a round of cocktails: the Smoky Violet Smash--a violet liqueur, 10-year aged gin, and a wash of Scotch “smashed” with ginger beer and citrus--was phenomenal and revealed complex layers of sweet and herbal flavors. For food, sharing is recommended and turned out to be a good way to try tastes of delicious but very heavy dishes that would quickly become too much otherwise. And, portions are large enough that one per person would be almost enough food, so it’s easier to sample with a larger group. My favorites were the steak tartare, bone marrow, and a special of short rib with gnocchi. Other dishes on the menu are similar--dishes that are on the simpler side but heavy on flavor and meat-centric. I would skip the pommes frites, which were tasty but not extraordinary like everything else. Others enjoyed the cassoulet, but I may have been too full to judge fairly at that point, so I thought it was just okay. Desserts--the creme brulee and chocolate mousse--are also excellent.