Why Come Here? City’s best oyster happy hour, fantastic absinthe selection, 1920s Parisian decor
Maison is not a great restaurant to review for Dishelin Guide purposes. The focus is on oysters (which change daily) and absinthe cocktails. They serve little else, and I haven’t tried any of it anyways. But that said, if you’re looking for those two things, Maison Premiere can easily be called the “Premiere” destination in NYC. This holds especially true for their famous “Oyster Happy Hour” from 4-7 Monday thru Friday when all ~30 Oysters are available for a single portrait of George Washington (regularly they’re around $2-3). That’s what drew me in and is definitely one of my favorite ways to spend a weekday afternoon (just be prepared to wait).
Also impressive is Maison’s absinthe collection. I admit to knowing little about absinthe coming in, other than it’s green, aninse-flavored and caused Vincent Van Gogh to cut his ear off. But there’s apparently so much more. For one, there are two main styles: Swiss and Czech. Both are served with cold water dripped over a sugar cube through an interesting contraption (pictured). I’d recommend sampling both (as we did), but the Swiss style definitely takes it easier on the anise.
The decor of Maison Premiere is another draw. The front evokes a 1920s Parisian bar with the absinthe drip as it’s centerpiece. We sat at the bar, but took a stroll through the garden, which transports you to the French countryside. Regardless of where you sit, it’s hard to imagine a more idyllic setting to enjoy oysters or absinthe exists in New York.