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Sauvage is the second restaurant from the people behind Maison Premiere. Where Maison Premiere’s focus is on seafood, Sauvage focuses more on dishes “inspired by the land” like Heritage Pork with celery root and persimmon or Rabbit with roasted turnips. There’s an abundance of small plates, many vegetarian, and a smaller raw bar. Come for a snack and a fancy cocktail or splurge on a dinner. If you’re a fan of Maison Premiere, you will be very happy.
But Ms. Giffen’s talents are best used when she abandons the miniaturist mode. There’s a full-throttle thrill to breaking open chilled snow crab legs and dunking their briny flesh in brown butter that’s reinforced with mashed crab liver. There’s undeniable pleasure in slicing open the malakoff, dough mixed with alpine-style cheese that’s lumped on a slice of sourdough and then deep fried. This bonanza of starch, cheese and oil comes with pickled vegetables. It should also come with a small mountain for you to you climb after you finish it…. Like a classic sidewalk cafe in Paris that’s been taken over by young upstarts. Servers are extroverted and able to convey enthusiasm that seems genuine.
Sauvage (“wild” in French), the second restaurant from the team of Joshua Boissy and Krystof Zizka, with Lisa Giffen once again serving as chef, set down on the Greenpoint frontier a few months ago. Though sporting a formidable French wine list, it focused more on food than drink. Sauvage spread itself along Nassau Street like homemade butter on the cumin-scented warm roll that is one of the restaurant’s most delicious apps ($2.50). Across the intersection lies McCarren Park, where the crack of the baseball bat punctuates a leisurely meal, at least for those who choose to perch at the outdoor tables.