Cafe Maude

Last weekend was our big 15 monthaversary and we decided to go to Pierre’s Bistro to try out the new menu. Bet you didn’t know Pierre’s had a new, under $20 menu, did you? That’s because they haven’t really publicized it. Call me, Pierre, I can help! Another thing they don’t publicize at Pierre’s? Their hours. They are closed Sunday, but it does not say that anywhere on their website. So we turned around and went to nearby Cafe Maude.

We actually went to Maude for drinks after our first date dinner at Heidi’s because we didn’t want the evening to end (I’m speaking for myself, but surmising for K who gets big points if he agrees). I have been to Maude on several occasions, but only for drinks or “leisure hour,” not dinner. My leisure hour food there in the past has been lackluster to just plain bad in the case of one of their flatbreads.

So we decided to stay away from flatbread and start with one of their spring drinks — K had a Natasha (a blackberry Cosmo) and I had a Blueberry Boat (blueberries, gin, lemon and basil). K’s drink was warm (in flavor, not temperature) and sweet and yummy and my drink was cool and not sweet and perfectly balanced. Good start! We also shared a small plate of lamb and saffron skewers. Those were delicious! The lamb was just the right amount of spicy and the garlic-mint yogurt sauce was the perfect foil to the spice. The Israeli couscous was a big, bright yellow burst of saffronicity.

After a ginormous pub brunch while watching a World Cup game that morning, I felt like I needed some greens, so I ordered the butter lettuce salad. K snuck a few bites because he loves manchego cheese. I cleaned the plate because butter lettuce is lovely and mild, fennel is crunchy, roasted grapes are a little like grilled wine, I love tarragon (in the vinaigrette) and hazelnuts remind me of the Manhattans my grandma drank when I was growing up. That’s a lot of taste and memories to pack into one salad which I will now declare a salad success.

For our main course, K and I both ordered the seared sea scallops. Tiny apples topped the nicely cooked scallops, bitty brussels sprout leaves and bacon surrounded the scallops and a sweet apple gastric (like a way-better applesauce) painted the plate. Everything worked so well together that I can’t imagine why I’ve not eaten apple bacon brussels sprout scallops until now!

We were too full for dessert and, by the end of the meal, we were scallop apple happy enough to forget that the service took an abnormally long time — even though the restaurant got progressively emptier as we sat there. Of course we’ll go back to Maude. Sometimes the food is hit or miss, sometimes the service is strained, but at the very least the drinks are creative and the atmosphere is great — dark and romantic yet neighborhoody and family friendly at the same time. After all, we — like Maude Armatage — enjoy civilized leisure.

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