Last summer, American friends who were staying at the Bristol were recommended this address by the concierge, but when we showed up for lunch, some very nice carpenter welcomed us in a complete construction site. I was very disappointed and forgot about it. It is not until my niece Océane, who works in the restaurant world, reminded me of Saturne, that I thought of booking for dinner. The single 85€ menu is full of surprises and we had a very good time.
National book award winner Liliane Tuck was in town to visit her French publisher and discuss the translation of her new book “Sisters” to come out in September at Atlantic Monthly Press. So to celebrate, we went to Saturne, one of the favorite restaurant of gourmet bobos near the Bourse. The principle is easy : the chef, Sven Chartier, 31, decides what to serve you in seven mini successive portions. You declare upfront your allergies and he plays around switching fish for meat, etc… It is not an exercise that I would reproduce every night, but once in a while, it is fun to discover new flavors and it won him a Michelin star last year.
We started out with a « spring roll » of asparagus with a special light dressing. They were pefectly “under cooked” and biting at them was very pleasing. Then an oyster drowned in a green emulsion was a complete hit. Again, the taste is unprecedented and very delicious. Then we had a tartar of tuna for me, of beef for Liliane, with peas and that was extraordinary. Then fish with a green purée, pigeon with red sorrel and orange chips, and two successive desserts which of course I loved. One with strawberries and one chocolate mousse out of this world with a hay flavour.
Bred is served on hay in nice little baskets. The down point was wine. I need to see a list and spend minutes dreaming about the different areas of France they come from, my mind wandering from Bourgogne to the Loire valley and St Emilion and then back to Languedoc.
None of this happened. The pretty sommelière with an undefined foreign accent, enumerated some grapes and cepages and brought us what I thought was a muscadet (with oysters) but not at all: it was a dark white and muscat colored from the south west. Then a pinot noir from Burgundy sounded safe but it was too cold. All their wines are organic and chosen by Ewen Le Moigne and I am not too sure about that…
Customers are neither trendy nor especially chic. But they are young and love their food and are there to enjoy a new experience rather than a traditional gastronomical meal.
I recommend that you book a table in front of the restaurant on the street, rather than in the large dining room at the back which is very noisy. Service was impeccable, fast and very amicable. Portions are small enough that you leave the place with a light heart… Since the company was superb, the evening was a great success !
(Saturne, 45€ menu for lunch and 85€ for dinner plus wines. 17 rue Notre Dame des Victoires.)
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