Those of us who have been mourning the loss of Effie Ophelia can now raise our wine glasses and cheer. The intimate space at 230 North Prince Street has been brought back to life by Taylor and Leeann Mason.
Ma(i)son, An Urban Cookery, features a marriage of Italian cuisine with a French flair, and there are enough changes to make the space seem new while maintaining that wonderful “Cheers” like familiarity.
Unlike Effie’s, Ma(i)son takes reservations – a welcome change. We couldn’t get in on a Wednesday, but on the second try we were able to reserve the Chef’s table for a Thursday night. The small restaurant echoed with laughter and two large groups were clearly enjoying their evening.
We could watch the care and attention to detail that every dish received before being sent out of the kitchen.
Taylor’s smile lit up the small kitchen and Leeann was warm and welcoming. She was born in Lancaster and moved away when she was four, so it is a bit of a homecoming to move back from Napa Valley.
We shared some of our wine, Cherry Tree Merlot from local Waltz Vineyard and urged them to visit Kim and Jan Waltz when they got a chance.
The menu is small and seasonal and will change often – Taylor was already talking about dishes featuring the anticipated tomato crop. We liked both the Ricotta Fritta (so light and delicate) and the Squash and Zucchini Salad. The squash salad had a light dressing and the herbs on the tomato salad oozed the freshness of summer. Crusty bread and the house-made butter with herbs were a nice touch. Yum.
I had the burrata – mozzarella with braised artichokes and country bread, (yes, now that I think of it both dishes show my love of cheese) and Bruce had the slow roasted pork with swiss chard over cannelini beans. The pork melted in your mouth.
Desserts danced on our tongues – a blueberry tart with a hint of lemon and honey in the crust and a lemon verbena crème brulee served, of course, in a small mason jar.
If you go, tell them The Artist’s Inn sent you. Better yet, give us a call and we’ll meet you there!