Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
Is it a good sign or is it just buzz when a restaurant is fully booked every night? It’s probably a bit of both. Anyhow, the only way to find out is to go yourself and make up your own mind. But let’s just admit it: “Saturne” it’s definitely worth a try.
“Clear, plain and legible”, that’s how François Simon, our favourite and witty French food critique described the style of “Saturne”. That’s it, in a nutshell. The product is king at “Saturne”. It’s often very simple, but exquisite, let’s call it pristine. You won’t often eat turbot here, you’re more likely to find fresh mackerel, simply dressed and adorned with herbs or flowers or some unexpected sauce. In other words it’s cuisine for slow food disciples, cooking on it’s way back to its roots, but with a clearly modern twist.
“Saturne” opened last fall in the neighbourhood of La Bourse, aiming clearly at a clientele of the busy bobos, people who do not need a linen napkin, but care about what’s on their plate. The young chef Sven Chartier, who learned his trade with Alain Passard (“Arpège”) and had already proven his talent at “Racine”, now has a place that’s just like him: clear, factual and inventive. “Saturne” pretends to be a “cave à manger”, but if you venture past the sleek, glassed-in wine store, you’ll discover a blond-wooden, glass-roofed dining room in a style they call Nordic here, but it’s exactly the plain and sober atmosphere have been around in Brooklyn or Berlin for ages – and there nobody notices them any more.
Chartier’s style is fresh, no doubt, it’s amusing, but sadly I can’t say it is something you absolutely must taste. There is an air of déjà-vu all around. If you have eaten at “La Gazetta” of the Swedish chef Petter Nillson or at Giovannis Passerinis “Chez Rino”, if you have been to Bertrand Grebaut’s “Septime”, than you’ve seen it all. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you are already sick and tired of it. But the first time it feels amazing, the second it already seems like a copy, the third time it is reduced to a style.
Of course, in this “cave à manger”, the wine bottles don’t need to hide. It’s Ewen Lemoigne, the sommelier with whom Chartier worked at “Racine”, who reads your mind to proudly serve you one of his extraordinary wines, a lot are organic, strange, strong and often surprising.
As I said, you can have a nice lunch that feels like a walk through the meadows for 26 Euros. For dinner you have the choice between a four-course menu (39 Euros) and a six course menu (59 Euros). We went for the latter and we didn’t regret it. There was even a bit of lobster married to some flowers: trop beau!Saturne