Monday, November 3, 2008

More Maude in Armatage

Looks like all the Cafe Maude lovers are going to have even more to celebrate within the next week or so. Quite some time ago the owners of the beloved Armatage neighborhood eatery announced that they would open up a private dining space coined the Armatage Room, and it turns out that the space will act as a wine bar when it's not rented out for the night. This seems like a smart move given that I find it hard to believe that the private room would be booked solid every night, which is pretty ambitious for a neighborhood joint. Regardless, they're smart business owners and they wouldn't be opening the space unless they could smell success. I for one am glad that the much lauded Maude will be expanding. I reached out to Ruth who is in charge of the Armatage Room logistics and found her most helpful.

Based on our conversation, the space should be open any day now. I've heard rumblings of Nov. 15 and I believe the space seats up to 32 comfortably. The Armatage Room sounds impressive utilizing a European setting  and touting Canadian pine tables, soft leathers, custom chandeliers and local art. Needless to say the ambiance will be quite nice for both glass of vino and a private dining space.

My favorite feature will be the room's own open kitchen which will support the majority of the food preparation. There's something about having a view of the craftsman who labor over our meals that gives you a connection to the craft and the food.  The menu sounds fantastic and features a six course feast with several options for each course as well as a tasting menu made up of Hors D'oeuvres, soups, salads, entrees and desserts. In addition, they also offer family style dinners that pull from the traditions of several European countries - think paella, cassoulet and lasagna.  The wine bar menu is eclectic in the Cafe Maude style featuring salads (Cobb and Greek), cheeses, cured meats, a pasta dish, braised lamb, meatballs and scallops as well as a few sweets! The one bummer: No hard booze! That's especially depressing since they mix some mean spirits across the street, but I'm sure the wine and beer list will be up to the challenge. More details here.  

Since it's private dining they defer to some common catering practices such as menu selection within a certain time of deposit and a final count within a week of the event. The room minimum (at least initially) runs $750 Sunday through Thursday and jumps to $1500 on the weekends not including tax and gratuities. 

Regardless, more Maude is a good thing for all, in my opinion. I've had some great meals there and have even enjoyed swinging by for a a quick drink and a tasty small plate (they've got killer upscale chicken wings!) when not indulging in a full blown dinner. Hopefully the Armatage Room will help thin the crowd at the typically packed house, but somehow I have the feeling they'll still be packing in.

Happy Eating,


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