What to order at Ma Maison in Beacon Hill

What to order at Ma Maison in Beacon Hill

Restaurants

Chef Jacky Robert shares what to order at this Beacon Hill institution.

Lamb chops from Ma Maison. Courtesy

In 2004, French chef Jacky Robert consulted at Pierrot, a humble bistro tucked into Beacon Hill before jetting off to work in some of the most culinary-forward cities around the globe, from Paris to San Francisco. Upon his return to Boston, he had the opportunity to take over the former Pierrot Bistro and transform it into something of his own—ultimately renaming it Ma Maison. 


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“I called it Ma Maison because I want people to feel as if they’re coming to our house,” explained Robert, who runs the restaurant with his partner, Stanislava Sosnitsky, more lovingly referred to as Sam. “Customers know our staff and customers know each other.”

Though Chef Robert was immersed in creative, fine dining kitchens for years, he shared that what made him return to Boston was a desire to pay homage to his roots—simple dishes that likened what his mother used to cook for him while growing up in Normandy, France. “After all these years in big cities, I discovered the food I like the most was the food I grew up with from my mom,” he said.

So that’s exactly what he created with Ma Maison’s menu: “a casual way of dining on satisfying French fare without breaking the bank.” Below, Robert revealed the most popular dishes on the menu and the meaning behind them.

Fois gras from Ma Maison. – Courtesy

Pan Seared Foie Gras 

In 2023, Ma Maison purchased $50,000 worth of fresh foie gras from the Hudson Valley, Robert shared. Listed under hors d’oeuvres, the foie gras is seared until brown which gives it a contrasting crunch to the liver’s soft and smooth texture. Chef Robert combines it with rhubarb that’s quickly simmered with sugar for what he says is a great match as it’s “sweet but a little sour.” This dish pays homage to his mom as she used to prepare various dishes with the tart vegetable. “My friend’s mom was moving to another state and asked if I wanted the rhubarb she’d been growing – of course, I wanted it,” Robert shared. “I planted them in my backyard in Vermont and that’s what we use.”

Smoked salmon from Ma Maison. – Courtesy

Smoked Salmon 

“I had an idea to use liquid smoke to marinate salmon that was inspired by gravlax [a Nordic technique to cure salmon using a mix of salt and sugar],” shared Robert. After curing the salmon in salt and sugar for 24 hours, it is washed and marinated in liquid smoke and white wine for another six hours. The dish is served as an hors d’oeuvres with toasted brioche, capers and crème fraiche.

Heirloom tomato salad from Ma Maison. – Courtesy

Heirloom Tomato Salad 

When Robert added this tomato salad to the menu, he never expected it to become a bestseller. “I didn’t imagine people would choose this over something more complicated,” he said. The salad was born from Robert’s childhood memories of enjoying fresh tomatoes from his uncle’s farm in Normandy. It’s served with organic Vermont goat cheese, which is used as a substitute for the classic and Italian version of tomato, mozzarella salads.

Lamb Chops at Ma Maison. – Courtesy

Lamb Chops

If you want to know the specials at Ma Maison, all you have to do is take a peek at the menu prior to your visit. Listed by the day of the week, the meat-forward dishes cover tripe, sweetbreads and the classic fish soup, bouillabaisse—but Robert says it’s the lamb chops that first-timers should arrange a reservation around. The Sunday special, served with bordelaise sauce and potato gratin, has dual meaning for Robert. Firstly, he said, growing up in Normandy, lamb was always on the Sunday dinner table as the quality of the region’s lamb is some of the world’s best. Secondly, when he first came to America to work at his uncle’s restaurant, Maison Robert, his uncle pointed out a VIP in the dining room. “It was Julia Child,” he recalled. “She ordered the rack of lamb and that dish became my favorite.” 

Vanilla Crème Brûlée

Perhaps the most nostalgic menu item of them all, Ma Maison’s vanilla crème brûlée is an elevated version of his mom’s classic riz au lait. “After the rice was laid in the ramequins, Mom would glaze the top with a burning hot iron,” he shared. Nowadays, we use a blow torch and fresh vanilla beans [that cost] $500 per pound but the idea is the same.”

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