Maison Parisienne's three owners have committed to total authenticity, transporting visitors to a patisserie tucked away on a boulevard near the Seine. The bakery's owners were attracted to Chicago's skyline, lake and mutual love of good food. When they knew they wanted to open their own place, they wouldn't make any compromises, even if it cost them a little bit extra.
"We produce French traditional recipes from France. We sell some croissant, chocolate croissant, some macaron; we have some quiche Lorraine, some éclair, so traditional French cuisine," said Erwan LeNan, one of the co-owners.
Each morning, they roll out dough for croissants, either traditionally rolled up or embedded with a small baton of French chocolate, then kissed with an egg wash and proofed, or rested for an hour, removed and brushed again with egg wash to ensure a shiny exterior, and baked until flaky, tender and delicious.
Since the owners are from Brittany, they also make kouign amann, a favorite treat consisting of multiple layers of butter, flour and sugar.
But the bakery isn't all just sweets.
"We try to change every time, every week, we have different soup, different kind of tart," said LeNan.
There are also sandwiches and at least three or four varieties of quiche per day. It's as good as anything you'd find near the Louvre: a mustard-brushed bottom crust topped with bits of bacon, lots of shredded Swiss and plenty of eggs and cream.
"I think it makes the difference, and that's why the French people who are here is Chicago come here in our shop because it's more flaky, it's the same taste like in France," he said.
Even the baguette, an icon of French cuisine, is treated with great respect; the owners staking their reputation on it.
"So we try to work with the best ingredients," said LeNan.
EXTRA COURSE: Steve Dolinsky talks with the head chef at Maison Parisienne about one of their famous ham and cheese sandwiches, the Croque Monsieur.
3307 N. Clark Street, Chicago