|Evan Sung took this picture for the NY Times|
I LOVE this place. I felt totally cared for, not in a weird pampering kind of way, as if after applying thousands of diapers to children you really want to be "pampered" anyway. I mean, the service was always there when you need it, but not hovering or congratulatory. Saul came by to hang with the staff and greeted them fondly. He's not pretentious or pompous, just an ueber talented chef and solid local dad. He comes over to see if you want to chat and asks about the food. He's quick to note the pluses and minuses of moving into the belly of a gigantic institution that itself struggles to define itself. He and his team have done a great job carving out a decent space though, and it's comfortable, not showy. The windows look out to the Museum, but you're still inside the museum, so it's kinda mall-like in that way, like dining at the Piercing Pagoda. But it has those great Williamsburg Murals that were saved from housing projects, you know the ones that were done during the WPA back during the depression, and they look great in that room, though I doubt many people were eating THAT well during the Great Depression. Going to Saul at night is a trippy experience, since you're walking into the front of the titanic beaux-arts building's wacky 21st Century nose job entrance, then walking past security and the membership desk to an inviting restaurant within a closed Museum! You almost expect Ben Stiller to be the maitre d'.
We had two fish dishes - the bass and the monkfish. We had the beets and the charcuterie for starters. We got the chocolate concoction for desert. Did I mention to you that I know very little about haute cuisine? Hell I don't even know much about not-so-haute cuisine. But I'll tell you this. To MY tastebuds the food was extraordinary, and the shapes and colors and smells were divine. (Ruth Reichl, eat your heart out. And while you're at it, why not consider putting a vowel in there before the last "L?")
How much, you ask? Not that bad I'm told. A $30 entree ain't a slice a pizza. We got out of there for $150, $180 after tip. Now, I'm not saying that I can afford that more than a couple times a year. But we were there for a lovely three hours, that's $60 an hour for two, or $30 an hour per person. Like how I worked out the math? $30 an hour for a fantastic experience, away from the kids, with delicious things in your mouth a lot of that time.
I say go. Do it now. Before the word gets out that it's the best restaurant in SoCro or some nonsense.