By Dane Feldman
Photo by Dane Feldman.
Ma Maison Brasserie is a highly-rated classic French restaurant located on Essex Street in Millburn, NJ. The owner/chef owns Cafe Luna too, also in Millburn, but I’ve not dined there yet.
Ma Maison‘s menu is not elaborate. In fact, it’s mostly quite simple, but depending on when you go there are usually also several specials to choose from. Specials or not, even the simplest dish on Ma Maison’s menu is somehow more complex than expected.
During my most recent trip, I started with the chevre salad: goat cheese, pears, baby greens, and walnuts followed by the moules and chorizo: mussels, garlic, white wine, and chorizo. My main course came from the specials list: linguini with lobster, scallops, and shrimp in lobster cream sauce.
The salad was fresh and delicious, the mussels were damn near perfect and certainly not too salty as they sometimes can be. The mussels were served with frites, thin and well-done as they should be.
I found the linguine quite tasty. The dish was true to its European heritage in that the lobster came in the shell. As French as some of the dishes are, though, this dish in particular had hints of Italian. More hints of tomato than cream in the lobster cream sauce found me making mental notes of the unexpected complexity. For a more French experience (if the mussels and frites weren’t enough), Ma Maison also offers escargots and Duck Parisian.
I think next time I’ll order the black linguine with crab meat since I was on the fence about it this time around.
Ma Maison Brasserie, like most NJ restaurants, is BYOB. There’s no corkage fee. In typical French fashion, Ma Maison does offer sparkling water and coffee.
Ma Maison’s wait staff offers impeccable service. Everyone is warm, informed, and quite professional.
The restaurant itself harbors wonderfully light-colored brick walls decorated with beautiful, quirky paintings of Paris (specifically of the Tour d’Eiffel) and a clock or two. It’s dimly lit, but not so dark that you can’t see your food or the people across the table. If anything, Ma Maison is intimate and welcoming; it’s a place to take family, friends, or even a date.