First Look: Tasty Sandwiches & Impulse Buy Madeleines At French Cafe Gourmand
It seems like it’s been awhile since a lunch spot like French Cafe Gourmand has opened in the Financial District – as in a place that’s not a chain or a new branch of a chain. No, this cafe on Maiden Lane (btw. B’way & Nassau) is run by actual French people and they sell a small selection of items including coffee, soup, salads, sandwiches and some French pastries and baked goods. When I went in to check it out, I could almost for five seconds imagine that I was somewhere else but Manhattan (or at least in cafe-heavy Tribeca or Soho).
There aren’t a lot of options on the menu, but enough that vegetarians, meat eaters and those people in your office who always eat salad will all be happy. There’s a little salad bar in the back where you can get whatever toppings you want. I went the other direction and opted for a sandwich involving chicken, brie, tomato and olive tapenade on country bread ($7.50). I asked for the cold version, but it was placed on a panini press for a couple of minutes which turned out to be a fabulous idea because the bread got all crispy and delicious on the outside. My only other comment on the sandwich was that the chicken, which appeared to be sliced off a rotisserie bird, was excellent.
The plain and pistachio madeleines sit there calling your name in a jar on the counter when you pay for your food and I was not able to resist. I got the pistachio version and it was good, but I am by no means an expert of French baked goods. I only wanted one, and the nice woman at the register didn’t charge me for it which I thought was nice (even if I did get made fun of a little by her for my small order).
Coffee prices here seem on par with nearby places ($2 for a large coffee, $3-$4 for espresso/specialty drinks). The hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and they don’t appear to have a Web site or anything, so you’ll just have to stop in to see what sandwiches and soups they have.
French Cafe Gourmand, 9 Maiden Lane (btw. Broadway & Nassau)