Chef Greg Baxtrom of cult-favorite Olmsted in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, along with partner Max Katzenberg, have added another restaurant to their portfolio with the opening of Maison Yaki. Conveniently located across the street from darling Olmsted, Baxtrom fuses his classically-trained French technique with Japanese izakaya fare.
"I just love the energy of a French bistro," says Baxtrom. "When I go to a French restaurant I can never choose which dish I want, because I'm a huge Francophile and the portions are often really filling. I feel like there is so much parallel there with casual yakitori dining. Combining the two you get to try as many of the classic Escoffier dishes as your heart desires, but you don't leave feeling too full."
Diners can start their Maison Yaki journey with appetizers like duck rillet with brioche, wasabi Hollandaise and pickled ginger; tempura frog legs Provençal with lemon-parsley ponzu; and escargot with shiso butter. For the main event, Baxtrom cleverly pairs each skewer with a classic French sauce or derivative thereof—asparagus gets laced with Béarnaise, chicken breast is paired with sauce Allemande (a velouté thickened with egg yolks and heavy cream) and scallops are topped with sauce Maltaise (aka, Hollandaise brightened by way of blood orange juice).
"When the opportunity to open a second restaurant presented itself, I knew I wanted it to be French and that I wanted to pay homage to the classics," he adds. "It was also very important to me not to abandon any of our principles that we set out with Olmsted with regards to sustainability and accessibility. Pairing yakitori-style dining just made sense."
Maison Yaki has been in the works for quite some time now—nearly two years—and Baxtrom spent time staging at both yakitori standby Yardbird in Hong Kong, as well as Den in Tokyo. And, just like Olmsted, Baxtrom enlisted his father, Mike, to help with the design. The 50-seat space features red leather seats, a hand-laid mosaic floor and a backyard patio open year-round for your day drinking needs.
Olmsted quickly gained devoted food fans after its opening in the spring of 2016; it would be a surprise if Maison Yaki didn’t follow suit.
Maison Yaki is located at 626 Vanderbilt Avenue, and open Wednesday to Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Photos by Noah Fecks.