Country-French in the Midwest
"la Madeleine is special, because you are special," said founder Patrick Leon Esquerré, as he began to open up about the reasons why his French Cafe & Bakery la Madeleine has become so successful, and why it continues to please guests decades after he opened his first cafe in Dallas, Texas. "Just love it," he said, referring to the guests. "Because if you love it, you're going to do something."
Ken and I smiled and took turns looking at each other as he went on about how if you love someone, you want to make them happy. That has always been our philosophy with each other, and that is the la Madeleine philosophy as well; and it shows in the quality of their food, their service, and how beautiful their cafes are.
I was excited to be invited to this VIP opening event for the new la Madeleine at Tulsa Hills. Ken and I have passed by the Cherry Street location many times but have yet to try it. Though given that it's a French bakery, I've often thought that I wanted to check it out sometime.
The moment we walked into the new location at Tulsa Hills, my husband and I were happy to be there. The decor is so warm and inviting. It's an elegant and a bit of a modern take on French-country style, which we both love. From the dark wood to the brick, to the lantern light fixtures and the cozy fireplace, we spent a good ten minutes just looking around and admiring the atmosphere.
Even after we sat down, we continued to notice beautiful details, like toile plates hanging on the wall and rolling pins in all shapes and sizes hanging over a glass partition labeled "Patisserie." As we held hands and sipped on Cabernet, Ken said, "I can definitely see us coming back here." I smiled and nodded as I looked around at the beautiful decor again.
Though we weren't just there to admire how pretty it looks. We had been invited to a five-course sampling from the la Madeleine menu; including soups, salads, brunch, entrees, and dessert.
The first course included soup shooters, featuring three of their five soups from the menu. The French Onion soup was the best French onion soup I've had maybe ever. And that is saying a lot, because it's my all-time favorite kind of soup. The Country Potato soup was also very impressive. It was creamy and packed with flavor. The Tomato Basil, which you can also purchase prepackaged in a jar, is by far the best tomato soup both Ken and I have ever had. It's thick and creamy enough to use over pasta as well. If you get a chance to stop by la Madeleine, take a jar home with you to try later.
That is part of the beauty of la Madeleine - the extra items you can purchase and take home. They have their own prepackaged soup, salad dressing, coffee, and fruit spread. And of course you can take a baguette and some dessert to go too. Also on their menu of soups are Provencal Vegetable and Cream of Mushroom. I'm guessing their mushroom soup is amazing.
After the soups, came several salads. The Caesar Salad was, well, Caesar salad. It didn't blow me away, but it was a good Caesar salad. The Chicken Salad was very, very good. I can't say chicken salad is something I ever have a craving for, but this one had me wanting more. The secret is that they marinate the chicken in balsamic vinegar. After looking over their menu, I see that you can also order their Caesar Salad topped with sliced balsamic-marinated chicken. It made for extra flavor, and made the meat very tender. The pasta salad totally blew me away. It has a creamy tomato-based sauce with bold herb flavors. Last and definitely not least on the salad plate was a single strawberry dipped in their Romanoff Sauce. It provided a sampling of their Strawberries Romanoff Salad - fresh strawberries topped with a sweet brandy sour cream sauce and cinnamon. I highly, highly recommend this!
They were just getting warmed up with the salads. Next came a plate full of two different kinds of quiche, a Potato Galette, and a Croque Monsieur. I was very excited to try these, as quiche is one of my favorite brunch dishes. I was however a little disappointed with the Quiche Florentine. It just didn't have enough flavor for me. Ken on the other hand (who does not like leafy greens one bit) said "I would eat spinach this way." So, at least now I know how to get more spinach into our diets. :) The Quiche Lorraine was good.
I was very impressed with their crust. I absolutely cannot stand a soggy crust, so I notice right away that though their crust was tender and flaky, it was also nice and crisp. Turns out they blind bake every crust, including the dessert crusts.
The Potato Galette, while a very simple dish, was very delicious. On the menu, the Potato Galette comes in a Country French Breakfast, with eggs, a croissant, and bacon or sausage. I see several other items on their breakfast and lunch menu I'd love to try. And judging by how good the samples were, I'm guessing the other items are just as delicious.
The Croque Monsieur gave a small sampling of their lunch sandwiches, and it was absolutely amazing. For a taste of several lunch items, order the la Madeleine Duet Magnifique, which includes any half or whole sandwich with a choice of two sides from their soup and salad menu.
At this point in the tasting, my appetite was slowing down, but we still had a dinner entree and dessert to go. The entree was just as delicious as everything else. The marinate balsamic chicken breast was topped with a creamy mushroom sauce and was served with a rice pilaf and a side of pasta with a creamy pesto sauce. Ken and I both agreed that the rice pilaf, while adequate, would have gone better with a pork or beef dish than the chicken. Still, I highly recommend the Chicken la Madeleine. There are a few more chicken and pasta dishes on the dinner menu, as well as a few savory crepes.
Pair a la Madeleine dinner with one of their house wines. I can personally vouch for the Cabernet and the Rose. I didn't try the chardonnay, but I'm guessing that is yummy too.
Of course what I was looking forward to the most was the dessert! I loved their fruit tart, lemon tart, and chocolate torte. But what I liked the most was that cheesecake pictured above. It's a Caramel Creme Brulee Cheesecake...yeah. They make everything fresh daily, and let's say you want to take home a whole cake or pie but don't want to wait: You can call ahead or use their app to ensure your order is ready to go.
And in case you were wondering, as I was, yes they do carry actual madeleine cookies. They kind of have to with a name like that right? It's one of my favorite French pastries, and I can't wait to see what the ones at la Madeleine taste like. There are many other baked goods and desserts on their menu, as well as specialty coffees. You can check out their menu here >. If you live anywhere near the Tulsa, Dallas, or Maryland locations; do yourself a big favor and check out la Madeleine! I certainly am looking forward to going back.