French in the Pearl: Måurice.

This is a small place and an interesting dining experience….described as a pastry luncheonette. So, you should expect a mix of sweet and savory pastries plus a bit more……the chef is of Norwegian heritage so that adds a bit of a twist to the menu as well.

Our choices were in keeping with the French/Norwegian influence….two variations on Norwegian Smørbrød (open faced sandwich)… with shrimp and the second of duck confit. The duck version was interesting and was served with agretti. I wasn’t sure exactly what that was, outside of a green looking vegetable….or more correctly, a shrub. So, here’s the skinny. It’s also known as salsola soda so now I’m sure you know what it is but for the rest of us it’s also known as opposite leaved saltwort so now you know. Still unsure? Ok here’s more detail: it’s a shrub from the Mediterranean that is salt tolerant and its real claim to fame is……hold on to your seats….it’s what was used to make soda ash which has several uses including soap glassmaking. How does it taste? Mildly salty with a bit of crunch.

Dessert was equally interesting, a classic lemon soufflé pudding cake and the chocolate capuchin cake…shaped like a cone dipped in chocolate and topped with smoked black tea. Very interesting and quite tasty.

The wine list is a bit eclectic…..some French and other European choices of course but others from less well known wine producing countries like the Czech Republic and Slovenia. The choice for lunch was a nice Czech Nestarec Bêl….a blend of Gruner Veltliner, Muller Thurgau and Welschriesling grapes. Tart, darker yellow in color and fruit forward. For dessert we ended with an extra brut muscat from Slovenia which had a bit of residual sugar.

Service was very good and if you sit at the bar you can watch the owner/chef at work.

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