In a regular sequence, Cross Campus shares its preferences for eateries around campus new and worth noting. We take the time to keep up with openings, specials, seasonals and the best of the best so you don’t have to.
Broadway shopping district’s newest tenant, Belgian café/bakery Maison Mathis, must spend its first year proving it can earn its keep at 304 Elm Street. A clean, whitewashed interior, hip young baristas and vaguely indie-alternative soundtrack make the MM ambience a thoroughly enjoyable one. But just how much are you willing to pay for a coffee break? Is it worth the $$$, or in other words the triple dollar signs? XC investigates.
The Caffeine: The Cappuccino, $3.75
Staying true to top-notch European café culture (this Cross Campus writer would know), the basic cappuccino does not disappoint. Though tending towards the pricier side, with a small cappuccino coming in at $3.75, this morning pick-me-up can pride itself on being one of the best offers within walking distance — perfectly drinkable on its own without several packs of sugar emptied in. Plus, it’s pretty. | For the connoisseurs. If you care about how your coffee tastes, get it, get it, get it.
The Classic: Waffle with Belgian Chocolate, $6
Though MM’s specialty staple should have been promising, the classic waffle disappointed. The offering was by itself a little on the tasteless side, and the thin drizzle of Belgian chocolate syrup certainly left something to be desired. The large portion size did not help the rather bland recipe. | Regrettably, not worth your money.
The Variation: Waffle with Seasonal Fruit, $8
Unlike its plainer cousin, this berry version of the MM waffle offers what its predecessor was missing — taste and variety. An ample topping of fresh berries and powdered sugar offers color and flavor to this Belgian confection. | We are fans. We also recommend adding maple syrup.
The Find: Coconut Chocolate Tart, $5.75
The presentation of this pastry does not initially impress but this little tart came through, reminding XC that looks aren’t everything at MM despite what its decor may have you believe. The coconut is rich, the chocolate soft and the pastry crumbly in all the right ways. | Don’t be deceived by its plain exterior, this tart has our vote.
Price-tag Pick: Caramel Apple Brioche, $2.50
We were super excited about this ostentatious selection. There’s an autumn chill in the air and this seemed like the perfect complement to MM’s winning cappuccino. But Cross Campus perhaps overestimated its potential. Though the caramel apple was quite good, it made up a very small part of the pastry, which wasn’t so much brioche as it was overly chewy, sweet bread. | Though a lot cheaper than most MM fare, it’s not necessarily worth the calories.
Cake, Round I: Cheesecake with Belgian Chocolate, $4.00
This (small) slice of cheesecake gave a decent showing. Though not the most spectacular we’ve tried in New Haven – an honor that perhaps goes to Slifka’s bagel brunch cheesecake – it’s creamy, dense and goes faster than you’d think. | Less on the sweet side and more on the cheese. For those who prefer substance over sugar, we approve.
Cake, Round II: Chocolate Chip Cake, $2.25
We welcome cake that doesn’t come in slices — these pastries come in polygons. It’s exciting. It’s also pretty good. Nothing groundbreaking aside from its architectural structure, but it goes well with a cappuccino. | As one of the few well-priced items on MM’s menu, this makes a recommendable companion to afternoon coffee.
Maison Mathis is open Mondays – Sundays 8 am – 10 pm. at 304 Elm Street.