Not far from the banks of the Potomac River lies a piece of classic France. Tucked away in a chic, two story restored warehouse on the corner of K and Water Street Northwest in Georgetown, one will find Malmaison.
Made out of intricately placed white stone brick, the quaint and casual cafe and booming events space serves up modern French fare, signature cocktails, and features a pastry shop starring the extravagant creations of 2 Michelin star Chef Gerard Pangaud and Pastry Chef Ruth Stoltzfus.
It’s no wonder this magical slice of France in the heart of the nation’s capitol has become so popular over the years given its polished and elegant ambiance. Popping pastel colors cheerfully greet those who enter through the doors while the smell of fresh floral bouquets mixed with the scent of roasting coffee beans permeate the air. Open since June 2013, Malmaison has offered patrons full lunch service and happy hour specials Monday through Friday as well as weekend brunch Saturday and Sunday.
I was lucky enough to taste a number of Malmaison’s flawless and flavorful lunch and brunch dishes, as well as some of Chef Ruth’s culinary cafe delicacies (including a spiked latte), their famous house-pressed juices and intricately hand-crafted cocktails.
Any good brunch starts off with a round of cocktails, of course, but this time, brunch was different – different in all the right ways.
Tall flutes of “Josephine’s Dream” that consisted of Maker’s Mark Bourbon, vanilla syrup, and champagne were nearly on top (I’m a Kentucky girl at heart, after all).
In the true spirit of Sunday brunch, I was also treated to second cocktail: the Malmaison’s signature “Mademoiselle Coco” which featured coconut infused vodka and champagne garnished with chocolate sauce & coconut shavings (yes, that is chocolate-rimmed champagne flute rolled in sweet coconut shavings, people!)
For the first course, the gorgeous and flavorful “Crab Benedict” over English Muffin stole the show. Juicy jumbo-lump crab cakes, creamy poached eggs, and fresh spinach were the stars of this dish. The rich yolk was the perfect dip for the crisp diced potatoes when combined with the buttery hollandaise sauce.
Next up was the decadent “French Toast” dish where thick halves of challa bread covered in sliced almonds, frangipane, fresh berries and powdered sugar headlined. The delicate sweetness of the maple syrup was an added bonus when paired with the peaks of powdered sugar.
To round out this unforgettable brunch experience, the final entree was the “Veggie Tartine” which featured sliced and sautéed portobello mushroom, roasted pepper, eggplant, zucchini, sautéed onion, and pesto over an open-face toasted baguette.
No good meal can be complete without a touch of something sweet, and Malmaison certainly has their sugary confection selections down to a tee!
The staff recommended the decadent “Salted Choco-Caramel Tart” with rich chocolate ganache topping (and a real gold flake for added flare):
For the a perfect pairing with dessert, Chef Ruth fired up the java machine and eloquently crafted a spiked pumpkin latte with whole steamed milk, espresso, and a milk chocolate shot glass filled to the brim with Captain Morgan’s Puerto Rican rum in an instant. (This was dropped into the beverage like a flavor bomb to melt at the bottom of the glass mix with the steamed milk).
Finished off with a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg, it was the perfect beverage to provide an energy boost right before hitting the busy sidewalks of Georgetown for a day of shopping!
In addition to the beverages and cuisines mentioned above, Malmaison also offers signature French dishes such as assorted crepes, Croque Monsieur and Madame’s with Jambon De Paris Ham, gruyere, and béchamel sauce, and elegant macarons in assorted flavors (pictured below are pumpkin spice, chai spice, and wild raspberry).
To plan your next holiday party, birthday celebration, gala, or fundraiser, or to simply reserve a spot at the bar’s cafe to sample some of Chef Ruth’s irresistible culinary creations, visit (website) Don’t forget to tell them that East Coast Contessa sent you.