Mazarine Coffee on Market takes its cappuccino seriously. So seriously, in fact, that when they ordered six-ounce cappuccino cups from Heath Ceramics, they immediately determined that they actually held eight ounces of liquid and, certain that no true coffee aficionado would tolerate that, sent them right back to those chagrined mid-century modernists.
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[jump] On top of that, this new café is named for the largest library in France, Bibliothèque Mazarine, with blue tiles intended to look like books (as opposed to some random New York City subway station like the white ones we see everywhere else). And although the team behind Mazarine claims some national-level barista competitors, there is a playful side to all this seriousness. The consulting chef, charged to put together a salad-and-sandwich lunch menu like no other, immediately concocted a coffee-roasted beet and quinoa salad made with kale, cucumber, generous amounts of chèvre and a wonderfully acidic espresso vinaigrette. It’s gorgeous, and perfect for anyone who just cannot get enough coffee and would probably eat salad out of a mug if they could.
Beyond that, it’s a pretty fancy environment from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekdays. Pastries come from Starter Bakery. The coffees are sourced from Ritual and Klatch, an Inland Empire roastery with a two-time national barista champ on staff. Beer and wine hit all the right notes: Ballast Point Sculpin IPA, Pyramid Hefeweizen, Lyric by Etude Pinot Noir. And the lunch offerings are top-notch. Although grilled cheese is in vogue, Mazarine’s version forgoes other trendy things (read: bacon, mac-and-cheese), instead combining mozzarella, gouda, gruyere and chèvre in an artful way that doesn’t leave you wanting to nap or do penance. (Disclosure: my lunch was comped.)
The interior is by the same designer who put together two other Third Wave shrines of note, Sightglass and the Mill, and the menus are perforated so you can tear them off. (Fun!) It might be just around the block from the Nespresso Boutique Bar, but Mazarine is going to be a magnet. Coffee obsessives, you have your new coffeethèque.
Mazarine Coffee, 720 Market, 398-7700.