Maison Cafe & Market is the latest and much needed addition to Dana Point’s burgeoning food scene – chic but understated (don’t let their location behind the gas station fool you) – the cafe has the warm feel of a home dining room. Owner and chef Danielle Kuhn is no newbie to the restaurant industry, she’s worked her way up the ranks, and it shows in the quality and care of her food – creating a French-influenced bistro with a decidedly California flare, directly across from the ocean.
The seasonal and locally sourced menu offers a variety of plates to share. To get started, try the Triple Cream Brie dressed with roasted tomato, balsamic, olive oil and fresh herbs. Comforting entrees include the Osso Bucco, succulent braised lamb served with a creamy polenta and an herbaceous mint fava gremolata. Pair the dish with a side of Honey Roasted Carrots – toothsome honey glazed spears of carrots, roasted in brown butter and topped with crushed almonds – tender and sweet with a delicious nutty crunch. To drink, the menu is filled with European wines, sourced from vineyards and producers that practice organic, biodynamic and sustainable winemaking, in addition to locally crafted beer.
Be sure check out the market and see if anything catches your eye while you wait, they make everything from buttery Kouign amanns to tarts. Enjoy a hot cup of coffee with a warm house-made scone and blueberry jam (changes seasonally), each bite flaky and melts in your mouth.
Brunch is a treat at Maison. A must-get is the fluffy Dutch Baby, loaded with organic berries, sweetened mascarpone and maple syrup. Also worth a taste is the savory Hash, a decorative melange of root vegetables, dressed greens, poached eggs and zesty chimichurri. Plenty of other plates are well-worth sampling (e.g., the crushed avocado toast), but you’d be remiss to skip out on the Beet Cured Salmon – thickly sliced bread layered with labneh, rich fuchsia colored salmon, complete with slivers of red onion and capers.
Maison is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Finally, somewhere to dine in Dana Point where you can dress up if you want but no one minds if you still have a little sand on your feet.
Maison Cafe & Market, 34320 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, (949) 218-8431; www.maisondanapoint.com.