A classic French brasserie is now open in Closter, Bergen County. Brasserie Mémère is the product of co-owner and Chef Thomas Ciszak. The word mémère translates to “granny” in English, the family member from whom his inspiration comes from. His time spent with his culinary trained grandma in her garden has led Ciszak to a similar career.
At Brasserie Mémère , Chef Ciszak honors French techniques and flavors while also mixing in his grandma’s warm and familiar cuisine. His 150-seat restaurant, built from scratch, came together after the building’s developer got in touch about opening a restaurant.
Building A True Brasserie
“I wanted to make sure I had the opportunity to create exactly the space that I envisioned,” says Ciszak. “I wanted to transfer people to a classic Parisian space. It’s a classic space that you’d find in cities and towns in France. We brought items over from Paris flea markets and antique stores. We have banquette seating, round booths, and a French farm table that fits eight straight from France.”
In addition, one semi-private area of Brasserie Mémère can host up to 50 people. This space is connected to an outdoor patio that can be used when seasonally appropriate. “It’s a nice, private, tucked-away corner flanking the entire restaurant,” says Ciszak.
Chef’s (French) Kiss
If you want the traditional French cuisine experience, there’s no better place to start than with frog legs. They’re served fried with celery remoulade. “Everyone loves the frog legs,” says Ciszak. “It’s a little unexpected, but it became an instant classic.”
He also raves about the tarte flambée as a meal starter. As for an entrée, the braised beef is a big hit; the red wine-braised beef cheeks come with smoked bacon, pearl onions, roasted mushrooms, and pommes dauphine. You can click here to see the full menu.
Of course, Brasserie Mémère has a bar area with a 30-foot custom traditional sink bar. If you stop by for a drink, Ciszak says the Memere 75 cocktail is the one to order. “I love it because it’s refreshing and a great way to start the night,” he says. Meanwhile, they have what Ciszak describes as “a very approachable wine list” to choose from. “For me, wine is a must during a meal,” he admits.
They also have a unique beer made by Ciszak and his team. Known as the Klosterbourg, the team takes inspiration from Belgium-style Witt beer to make a light but flavorful brew. But you’ll have to visit Brasserie Mémère to try it.