We don’t fawn over cocktails, as our general feelings on the subject are that most of them are fine, not worth the crazy price points, and certainly not worth getting excited about. Maison Premiere’s cocktails, that’s a different story. If you want to drink fancy in NYC, there is no place better to do it than MP. They put on a show we’re totally fine with buying tickets for, over and over again. In addition to being in a class of their own when it comes to drinks, they also own the best daily selection of oysters in Brooklyn. Maison Premiere has evolved a lot since we first reviewed it back in 2011, but they still take themselves very seriously, and our feeling that they could play a bar on the set of Deadwood remains very accurate. God damn, we miss that show.
Maison Premiere is both exactly the same and very different than it was when it first opened. It’s still an adult fun house of raw seafood and absinthe, but it’s added other elements as well. There’s now a full menu of cooked food, a sleeper brunch situation, and an amazing patio out back.
There are times when that whole old timey bar in the modern day schtick feels tired and played out. Not at Maison Premiere. As far as we’re concerned, no one has ever done it better. The careful attention to detail is impressive. Their bar is a work of art, and the bartenders wear three-piece vintage suits. The absinthe fountain is a near perfect replica of the one that once dripped in the Olde Absinthe House of New Orleans, and they even have pulleys to flush the toilet. Pro tip, if you’re there for a real meal, do not under any circumstance let them try and seat you at one of the front “tables.” There is no room for raw bar there. Wait it out for the back.
It’s character driven restaurants like Maison Premiere (and Marlow & Sons, Post Office, Fette Sau, Rye etc.) that make Williamsburg one of the best places to eat in NYC. When Maison Premiere opened, they were trying really hard to be something special. Now everyone is trying to be them. Looks like their plan worked.
One of the best selections of oysters you’ll ever see in NYC. West Coast. East Coast. Canada. It’s stupid in the best way possible. The move? Come for oyster happy hour: 4–7pm Monday–Friday and 11am–1pm Saturday-Sunday. $1 oysters. See you there.
They gut the long clams, cut them up into a ceviche-like salad with peppers and goodness, and then put them back in the shell, ready to eat. So good.
Blood Clam Ceviche
Suck the blood. Slurp the clam. Repeat.
Our favorite of their excellent crudo offerings, the combination of fresh fish and pickled pineapple is a good mix.
Little nuggets of olive oil-drenched asparagus tops, with morel mushrooms and poached oysters. A fascinatingly delicious dish that took us by surprise the first time we ate it. There’s some magic going on here. Order it.
SKIP. SKIP. SKIP. Too much roll, not enough lobster. Not even close to enough lobster. Also, just not really good.
A silky slice of white fish served in a clam broth and some vegetables. Always a good choice.
It doesn’t matter what you get, it’s going to look and taste fantastic.
Saturday and Sunday brunch outside in the back garden is such a strong move. They make a mean Duck Confit Hash and the Poached Oysters & Periwinkles with Poached Eggs is decadent and delicious. Absinthe-Cured Gravlax is on the menu, too. We like the sound of that.