Le Marais will open a third location of French-born owner Patrick Ascaso’s Parisian bakery vision in the Castro next week, offering a brief respite from the blonde wood and hipster aesthetic that most coffee shops in SF have embraced in recent years. The bakery and café is a classic iteration of Ascaso and wife Joanna Pulcini-Ascaso’s favorite European bakeries, offering old world details with a California attitude.
Channeling the vibe of the original bakery on Chestnut Street, the new location has plenty of brass, tile, marble, and hardwood; formica tables and bentwood chairs round out the vision, which is overseen by dangling milk glass spheres. It’s all influenced by Ascaso’s love of classic French bakeries, with the helping hand of Chateau Sonoma, a French importer in Sonoma.
A full-service menu is backed by a full kitchen, unusual for a café space, and spurred by the discovery of an existing exhaust path; thus was added a rotisserie and the ability to stock the menu with hearty entrees including prime rib, and roasted chicken and lamb. It closely resembles the menu of the Chestnut location, with a few exceptions— it’s all part of Ascaso’s sense-memories of growing up in France, including a gratin from his grandmother’s recipe, and a tartine with raclette cheese and potatoes. (See the full menu below.)
Pastries, like the duo’s pop-up in Ghirardelli Square and Chestnut Street flagship, are very French, from chef Kirsten Aldrich. Viennoiserie includes croissants, tarts, eclairs, macarons, baguettes, cookies, cakes, and more, the lineup of which changes every three months with the season. Baker Mark Travers is behind the bakery’s excellent breads, including a popular sour cherry and pistachio loaf. It’s all accompanied by espresso from Sightglass Coffee, nitro cold brew and tea, wines and beers.
The bakery’s Tenderloin production facility, which has been in the works for over a year, is slated to open by the end of the summer, followed by a fourth location in Mill Valley in an old shipbuilder’s space. Stay tuned for info on that, and check out Le Marais’ full menu below:
The Castro location will be open seven days a week from 7a.m.-7 p.m. daily, with plans to open later for dinner in the future.