“Charming” will probably be the first word that comes to mind when you venture into Maman (“mom” in French), a petite cafe that recently opened in Manhattan, on Centre Street in Soho.
“All three of us learned all of our recipes and cooking from our mothers,” explains designer Elisa Marshal, one part of a trio of owners that also includes lawyer-restaurateur Benjamin Sormonte and Michelin-starred French chef Armand Arnal. “We named it after our mothers and grandmothers, and we wanted to make it feel like home.”
That means the Parisian-inspired space is filled with communal tables, exposed brick and weathered wood, vintage furniture, and lots of plants, all of it coming together into a sort of cozy, Instagram wonderland.
Since it opened, Maman has gotten lots of attention for its out-of-this-world chocolate chip cookies and other stellar baked goods (like croissants), but the menu is also filled with lighter, delicious items like quiches baked with leeks picked that morning at the farmers market, salads, and sandwiches. “Our concept is just really fresh, seasonal food,” Marshal says. “We change our menu every day.”
Which is to say that you won’t always be able to order this Chickpea Salad packed with warming root veggies when you visit—but now, you can make it at home. (And maybe try one of those cookies with your tea, instead?) —Lisa Elaine Held
Maman’s Chickpea Salad
Chef/Partner Armand Arnal
1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
1 cup roasted beets
1 cup roasted butternut squash
1 red onion
1/4 cup raisins
1 sprig of mint, chopped
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar
Juice from 1 orange
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cut the butternut squash in squares, toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet at 360 for 30 to 40 minutes until tender with a fork.
Place the cut beets on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes at 400 degrees, turning until the beets are tender.
Peel and cut the red onion in quarters and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 360 degrees (time may vary depending on the size of the onion). Remove from the oven and cut into thin slices.
Let all items cool, and then mix chickpeas, butternut squash, beets, and red onions together.
Add the juice from the orange to the mix. Add the mint and the raisins. Add the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss all ingredients, and serve at room temperature.
Maman, 239 Centre St., between Broome and Grand, Soho, www.mamannyc.com