Photography by diffordsguide.com
Words by Simon Difford on 13-Jan-2013
298 Bedford Avenue, (btwn Grand & South 1st Sts), New York, NY, 11211, United States
Tel: +1 347 335 0446
Website: View bar's website
Hours: Daily 4pm–4am
Door: Make reservation
Style: Gastro bar
Recommended for: Aperitivos, Cocktails, Food, Late night, Romantic
Price guide: Middling
Food: Plates & dishes
The underlying theme at Maison Premiere is absinthe and crustaceans. The setting is a single room with a mock antique interior, a warm golden dimly lit glow and a feel of New Orleans about it. Indeed, the four tapped absinthe drip which is the centrepiece of the bar is a direct replica of the one at the Absinthe House in New Orleans.
A large oval-shaped marble-topped bar dominates the room dived in two by a central glass panel which has shelves supporting the spirits selection and separates the bartenders from the oyster bar beyond. The bartender's dress code, plaster walls, the old stove, even the choice of music are classic. The cocktails are also vintage in style but bang-up-to-date in their use of contemporary spirits and bartending techniques.
The menu lists 26 different absinthes - even the Piña Colada has absinthe in it - but the absinthe is used judiciously, delicately flavouring the drinks such as the 'Sir Michael Caine' (rum, lime, hibiscus, cane syrup, absinthe).
A bewildering 30 odd different oysters are offered along with other crustaceans and small plates such as Rock Shrimp with black rice, tomato and Serrano ham accompanied by the lightly toasted bread.