17 Rue Notre-Dame des Victoires,
Phone: +33 1 42 60 31 90
There’s a new school of, well, new restaurants in Paris that all seem a lot alike, so I was worried Saturne would feel like deja vu. (A little like Spring, a little like Bones and Roseval.) But it didn’t look much like the others, most of them tiny, no frills spots with not much to look at except your plate.
Fava & Oysters
Saturne, on the other hand, is a breezy beauty with soaring ceilings and huge picture windows flung open onto the street on warm days. There’s a second dining room in the back with a glass roof, which is equally as interesting as the front, so don’t fret over which room you’re sat in because they’re both great! The space itself is modern and yet casually elegant, furbished with blonde wood floors, tables and even a wood-topped bar, dark leather banquettes and open kitchen.
Whiting with Peas
The wine list at Saturne is the most unique I’ve seen in Paris, peppered with tons of natural wines from all over the world, so be sure and try something different. While you can order a la carte at lunch, the dinner menu is a fixed set menu that the chef drums up nightly. What arrives at the table first is a bread basket lined with hay and topped with sourdough bread. We were off to a great start with a sneaky starter that looked like just like a fresh Fava Bean salad, but I quickly discovered Utah Beach Oysters hidden beneath the vibrant green rubble along with a rhubarb granite and creme fraiche – interesting, springy and terrific.
Then came my least favorite dish, a sashimi of Bonito, wading in a cold Dashi Broth with nubs of white asparagus and fresh pine needles — all too subtle in flavor for my taste. But I loved the Poached Turbot that came after it; scattered with peas, shallots, radish lemon balm and a rhubarb foam – a totally original and gratifying combination of flavors. And so was the Roast Chicken with Artichokes and Mustard Greens with a peppery puree of mustard greens that you’ll want to swipe the moist and juicy bird through.
I’m not going to lie. Dessert was not original; a nearly ubiquitous bowl of Gariguette strawberries with sorrel sorbet because everybody’s doing it, though this version offered a foil of goat cheese dust (dried and made into crumble). The Chocolate Mousse was one of those chocolate lover’s dreams, uber rich, velvety mousse with a vanilla glace and chocolate crumble.
Ingredients are what it’s all about at Saturne. You sense the chef’s love affair with ingredients, serving them up in a refreshingly new and splendid way.