Place: Madame Claude Cafe
Neighborhood: Downtown Jersey City, 364 1/2 4th St.
The scoop: Madame Claude Cafe is a small French bistro in downtown Jersey City. My roommate had been to the restaurant for dinner and recommended it. I had also heard positive reviews for their brunch, so I was looking forward to finally trying it out for myself.
We arrived at Madame Claude around noon on a Sunday. Since the restaurant is tiny and opens at 9 a.m., it was already packed. We were lucky a table for two opened up a few minutes after we arrived. I highly recommend making reservations if you can. When brunching at a restaurant with only 10-12 tables, that’s always your best bet.
We sat at a small table near the entrance. The tables are close together, so although we sat at two different tables, we felt like we were sitting with the group of three next to us. There is nothing fancy about Madame Claude, but the atmosphere — casual and cozy — is enjoyable.
Although there are only a couple of servers at Madame Claude, they were on top of their game and were friendly and welcoming. We didn’t have to wait long for our food, and they checked up on us numerous times throughout our meal.
Bottoms up: Madame Claude is BYOB, so feel free to bring a bottle of champagne to add to your orange juice. You can purchase the alcohol at Madame Claude Wine, also in Jersey City.
Orange juice $3
The orange juice was very tasty and served in a wine glass. The OJ was freshly-squeezed and would have been great with a little champagne or prosecco.
Chew on this:
Croissant with jam of the day $5
David and I started our brunch by splitting a croissant. Such a good idea. The croissant was served in a cute metal pal with a small jar of wild blueberry jam. The croissant was warm and flaky with crispy ends. The inside was soft, light and airy. The blueberry jam was a nice addition. I’m usually served strawberry, raspberry or grape jam with bread, biscuits, etc. The blueberry jam was a pleasant change.
La Gratinée aux Champignons $11 / Mushroom and ham crepe with cheese gratin
When I first looked at the menu, I was leaning toward getting egg and cheese on a croissant. However, when we decided to order a croissant as a sweet starter, the crepes were calling my name. As delicious as the sweet crepes sounded, I didn’t want to go overboard on sugar, so I went with a crepe stuffed with ham, mushroom and Swiss (I asked for Swiss as a replacement). There was a lot of filling, particularly the ham and mushrooms. I think there was almost too much ham in it. The cheese was melted well. All savory dishes comes with a side salad of mesclun, which had a light dressing on top. If I returned to Madame Claude for brunch, I’d probably order a breakfast sandwich.
Merguez Sandwich $11 / Spicy lamb sausage served with Arissa and mesclun
The server warned David that the sausage on this sandwich was spicy. He didn’t mind and ordered it anyway. When he tried the sandwich, he was surprised that the meat wasn’t spicier since he had been given a heads up. It had just the right amount of kick. The bread was fresh and soft. David enjoyed this dish and would order it again.
The final bite: Madame Claude Cafe is a cute neighborhood spot where you can get a tasty and affordable brunch.
Reviewed by: Stephanie