Comfort food means different things to different people. But nothing can be more comforting than well-prepared French bistro food. It’s warm, robust and satisfying with bright, reliable flavors and simple preparations that have stood the test of time. Which is why, now that the holidays are upon us and winter has shown itself in all its snowy glory, we are so glad that Brasserie Memere has finally opened in Closter.
Named after restauranteur Thomas Ciszak’s (of Chakra fame) grandmother, the vibe at Brasserie Memere, a large space, with room for private parties and the promise of a patio when warm weather returns, is definitely traditional French Bistro. From the marble bistro tables, to the blue accents, the traditional flooring and the menus written on mirrors, this restaurant is welcoming and familiar and its staff is ready to please.
Start off with a drink from the bar menu which includes an Aperol Spritz and a French Martini, or the signature Memere 75, a combo of gin, elderflower and prosecco. Or, order from the extensive wine list that includes wines from France as well as selections from the US. There is also a beer menu along with lo-proof cocktails, mocktails and frozen cocktails.
For dinner, appetizers range from the always delicious gougeres (gruyere cheese puffs) to mussels, escargots, onion soup, salads and savory tartes. Our choices of the Salade Poire et Fromage (Bibb lettuce, pears, walnuts, bleu cheese and onions) and the Tarte Memere (loaded with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella) were delicious and gone in seconds. Entrees included the Vegetable Risotto and the Steak Frites, hangar steak cooked just right with a side of pommes frites that were just like you remember them from your last visit to Paris.
For those who want to keep in shape during this holiday season, there is a “spa menu” with offerings like chicken or salmon paillard or seared tuna with light accompaniments. Executive Chef Kevin Takafuji, who earned his stripes at Daniel and Le Bernadin has created a menu of traditional bistro dishes, prepared perfectly and priced reasonably. Exactly the bistro experience Ciszak envisioned with this restaurant.
Our only disappointment was that we didn’t save room for dessert. We’ll be back to try the chocolate mousse. Or maybe the crème brulee. Or maybe both? With a side of macarons, of course!
Brasserie Memere is currently open only for dinner but plans to open for brunch and lunch soon.
Brasserie Memere 107 Vervalen Street, Closter 201.660.8822