This summer Maison 208, opened as Philadelphia’s first open-air restaurant complete with a retractable roof ideal for enjoying the warm weather. Chef Sylva Senat from Season 14 of Top Chef debuted his New American menu with French undertones. Besides being known for its food, the design aesthetic at Maison 208 is truly beautiful and unique. The modern age interior décor has mostly gray and white overtones with beautiful feminine accent touches of gold, velvet, and even birdcages suspended from the ceiling on the first floor. The first floor features a welcoming exposed kitchen, full-service bar and outdoor seating available seasonally.
The second floor, called “The Social” at Maison 208, offers two full bars, tableside cocktails and a bar bites menu. The Social is designed to emanate a “living room” style vibe accented by plush furniture and a sophisticated yet approachable design. The retractable roof allows guests an upclose and personal view of a mural, titled “Sanctuary”, curated by artist James Burns of the Mural Arts Philadelphia Program. The hand-painted, original artwork incorporates natural elements and imagery like the Enso circle to raise awareness of mental and emotional health in the community. The mural begins outside of the building, above the roofline of the restaurant, and continues down into the venue space, visible from the first and second floors.
“We want people to see Maison 208 as an approachable space to eat, drink and socialize while being surrounded by great company,” said Chef Senat. “The goal is to provide guests with a feeling of comfort and familiarity, as if they were invited to an intimate party among friends in an open-air setting, and I think we’ve achieved this concept.”
In addition to his appearance on Bravo TV’s hit series Top Chef, Chef Senat has made a name for himself through rich culinary experience and establishing a portfolio by working with Stephen Starr’s Buddakan, Chef Andrew D’Amico’s The Sign of the Dove, Aquavit, Jean-Georges at the Trump Hotel Central Park, Narula restaurant group’s Tashan and Koco Restaurant in El San Juan Resort & Casino.
No matter what the occasion of your visit, every guest should know that the signature dish at Maison 208 is the Island Taro Lollipops. Sitting in a truffle foam sprinkled with gold rice pearls, these pops are delightfully crafted into balls of potato, Haitian pate curry, and filled with kobe beef. For something with a bit more veggies we love the salty bite of the Brined Baby Beets. This salad has a bed mesclun greens with laura chenel goat cheese and a honey citrus vinaigrette. When you’re enjoying some drinks and looking to dine on something light we also recommend the Pan-Seared Diver Scallop fennel dusted with Haitian mango, IPA hush-beignet and spicy prosciutto. Its a great balance of sweet and savory flavors.
For our main course we enjoyed the free-range Australian Lamb Chops with beautiful purple Okinawa potatoes and hazelnut almond spice crust. The dish which is served with perhaps the most pomp and circumstance at Maison 208 is the Whole Frenched Dorade. The server brings it to your table with a gleaming silver cover. Don’t gasp with shock as you see this lifeless fishy face staring up at your from your plate because you’ll thoroughly enjoy his deliciousness! This dorade is pan-fried and served in a mushroom broth with petit vegetables.
“We put a lot of time, trial and research into creating a carefully curated cocktail menu and all-natural wine list that not only complements Chef Senat’s dishes but also emphasizes the ‘fresh air’ vibe that guests experience as soon as they walk through our doors at Maison 208,” said Director of Operations, Stephen Yaeger. “Because of the intricate details and flavors of our food and drinks combined with the atmosphere of the space, we’re confident that people will walk away with an unforgettable experience and look forward to making their next reservation.”
From a casual night out for dinner and drinks, to planned private events, to after-work “Social Hours” at Maison 208 is the perfect way to unwind on any occasion. Yaeger is responsible for curating an extensive beverage menu that includes beer, wine and craft, tableside cocktails. Maison 208 is the first restaurant in Philadelphia to offer an all-natural wine list, including a selection of wines imported from the Regions of France.
The cocktail menu features a number of signature craft cocktails with detailed presentations that aim to accentuate the open-air concept behind the restaurant. Featured cocktails include the signature Gin Terrarium which is a “DIY” take on the Fishbowl cocktail which can be shared among two to four guests at the table. The glass bowl is served to guests upside down framing a glass beaker with Tanqueray 10 Gin and q tonic, alongside small terracotta flower pots filled with various fresh herbs and fruit accoutrements. Ordering the R.R. Cigar is also sure to turn heads since this cocktail is served in a cigar box, made with house-smoked vermouth and homemade tobacco bitters.
And these drinks aren’t just restricted to happy hour and dinner. Maison 208 is now serving brunch every Saturday and Sunday featuring endless mimosas for only $25. As if all you can drink isn’t enticing enough… some of the brunch dishes offered at Maison 208 include the Truffle Crab Mac & Three Cheese, Crème Brulee French Toast and Chef Senat’s signature (Top Chef, Season 14, Episode 10) Salmon Frittata. So what are you waiting for? Reservations are easily accessible via Open Table.