In my quest to find more “work lunch” places, I ended up at Café Madeleine two days in a row. The first day I tried a sandwich, but they are also known for their sweets so I went back the next day for a different sandwich and a couple desserts.
The Shut-Up-and-Give-it-to-Me-Quick Version:
Winner. (Applies only to sandwiches)
Both sandwiches were delicious, but desserts were overpriced and lacking that “wow factor”.
The I-Like-to-be-Wrapped-Up-in-All-the-Details Version:
I arrived around 12:45 p.m. and the place was full. Café Madeleine is cute, clean and modern (it helps that everything is white – floors, countertop, and the lab coats that the employees were wearing). When I walked in it was a little chaotic, they don’t have a designated order line and it looked to me (and apparently the person in front of me) that everyone was waiting to order. I quickly found out that most of the people had ordered, but unless you are aware of when you walked in relative to everyone else, it can be confusing. That said, the orders were taken very quickly; someone was taking my order while someone else was collecting payments. The lady at the counter was very nice…quick, focused, and polite (that’s not always easy to do when you’re flustered, so kudos to her). Another positive is that they have punch cards; those are always nice, they entice you to go back and also make you feel good about getting something for free. In addition, this card gives you a free sandwich after your seventh purchase (as opposed to the usual 10). It is also important to note that this applies to coffees and sandwiches only.
They have 3 locations: Union Square, Financial District, and SOMA/Downtown.
What I ate:
- Day 1 – Burrata Sandwich ($8.50)
- Day 2 – Bacon Sandwich ($7.95)
– Triple Chocolate ($5.75)
– Satine ($5.75)
The Burrata sandwich is served cold on a peasant roll with roasted cherry tomatoes, capers, bell pepper compote, fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil. This was amazing! If I had to give this sandwich a rating on its own it would probably be orgasmic. My biggest pet peeve is when restaurants call buffalo mozzarella, burrata… and trust me it happens a lot! This was not the case at Café Madeleine. Not only do they use actual burrata, but there is a TON on the sandwich. Knowing that burrata is more expensive, I really feel I got my $8.50 worth… if not more! Some might hesitate because this is a cold sandwich, but I think warming up burrata makes it runny and it loses its great texture (it is already super soft). I loved that they took the extra step and roasted the tomatoes, this really brought out the flavor and made it much more gourmet than slapping on some sliced, raw tomato. The bell pepper compote really took it to the next level and although there was a lot of cheese, it didn’t feel overwhelming. This sandwich really puts every other caprese-type sandwich to shame. It is finger-licking good!
The bacon sandwich is grilled and comes with avocado, jack cheese, tomato and mayonnaise on filone. I would have liked for the bacon to be crispier, but overall this had a very good taste. It felt slightly fancier than a traditional blt and the melted cheese, avocado and mayonnaise made it very juicy. The flavors went really well together and in comparison, this sandwich seemed larger than the burrata. I like that it is different from your average sandwich without being more expensive.
My favorite part is usually dessert; however, Café Madeleine didn’t deliver. I was really excited because their display looked so scrumptious. I literally wanted to buy everything in there, but am glad I didn’t. Although they weren’t bad, I just wouldn’t spend my money or waste the calories on something less than superb. I try to not indulge in sweets every day so when I do treat myself to a little something, I want mouth-watering, delicious desserts. You know it’s a bad sign when I’m not fighting my boyfriend for the last bite. The triple chocolate dessert is a chocolate sponge cake layered with dark, milk and white chocolate mousses. Let me first warn you that if you buy this, please stick it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat it. I asked the lady, who boxed up my cakes, if they needed to be put in the fridge and she told me no, which made the mousse soft and caused the mousse cake to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I did put them in the fridge once I saw what they looked like, but that aside, it just didn’t wow me. It was tasty, but nothing special. The different types of chocolate all kind of tasted like one and I think I could’ve gotten the same satisfaction out of plain chocolate ice-cream.
The Satine was a little more up my alley, but it still didn’t have that wow factor. It is a ladyfinger cake with “raspberry gelee and white chocolate cremeux.” The lady finger cake tasted bland and the cream was not flavorful enough to make this cake memorable. The raspberries were the best part, but for almost $6 I rather buy a basket of raspberries and skip the calories.