The Franklin Guesthouse has been motherless for years, but at long last Madre has arrived.
Serving a curated menu that veers toward comfort food and offering a homey-chic ambiance germane to birthday dinners and happy hours alike, Madre indeed evokes a maternal vibe at 214 Franklin Street. But don’t let the name confuse you: Madre is neither a Mexican restaurant nor a tapas bar. Instead, it serves a delectable medley of new-American cuisine with plenty of punch in its dozen or so dishes. Come for the dollar oysters, stay for everything else.
Highlights begin with the amuse bouche, a tangy and colorful cherry gazpacho that’s to be downed like a shot, and escalate to the ribeye cap, a lean and filling entrée with a crisp exterior and a juicy center. That cap is served with buttery and perfectly whipped potatoes — the only dish fluffier is the strawberry soufflé, a warm, fragrant, and pillowy dessert enjoyed with roasted banana crème anglaise.
Served on matte, clay plates by an attentive and knowledgeable staff, the foods prepared by executive chef Bryan Noury are nicely complimented with an elevated house cocktail menu. (The Lavender Hill — a mix of Brooklyn Gin, honey, lemon, crème de violette, and egg white — is as yummy as it is pretty, garnished with a half moon of finely chopped and edible floral sprinklings.)
The speciality drinks are $15, but — for better and for worse — that is the nature of businesses on the ever-booming Franklin Street, especially at a restaurant attached to a high-end boutique hotel. That said, on a night with heavy flash floods in the neighborhood, there was no better place to camp out and drink up.