World-Class, Seasonal Tasting Menus - The Stunning, Exquisite Food at Saison! (Review / Pics)

Mark Bright included a sake and a dark British wheat beer in the pairing when I had it, and they were two of my favorite matches.

It was time to go back to Saison, and we were interested to see how the menu has continued to evolve with the seasons (and with the addition of chef Laurent Gras to the team). Dinner was brilliant as usual, with some very complex and crazy delicious courses.

Service was excellent, especially the wine service. We settled on a beautiful bottle of 2015 Domaine Montille Corton-Charlemagne, which proved a delicious match for many of the seafood courses, and ended with 2008 Essencia. They were generous with pours of Krug 166eme and topping off our glasses of 2013 Opus One and Domaine Joseph Roty Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru “Les Fontenys.” It was a very special dinner and I was quite giddy and tipsy by the night’s end.

saison reserve caviar (supplement) with spinach, kelp, and clarified seaweed butter . The caviar is aged in barbecued salt, wrapped in a pouch of kelp leaves, and placed by the fire to gently warm without actually cooking it. Spinach can have a peculiar mouthfeel but it worked quite well with the Champagne. Texturally, this was different than previous renditions of the caviar course (with kelp or tomato water gelee, corn pudding, etc.) but the intense depth of flavor is the constant. Wow, that seaweed butter!

striped horse mackerel with rose, marigold, verbena, and chia seeds. The sauce was slightly floral, bright, and nicely acidic and complex.

Grilled spot prawn with sauce of peach, marigold, and sudachi. Peel and eat with your hands. Cooked flawlessly. Perfect texture with the body and tail just warmed, not even really cooked. The sauce worked on the finish, but I didn’t think it was necessary when the product was cooked this nicely.

Cauliflower from the wood oven with dill aioli. The cauliflower was roasted all day in the wood oven from the 1800’s. Dill aioli was pitch perfect.

Sea urchin on grilled bread with a “soy” like sauce of the bread. The famous “uni toast.” Really about temperature and texture contrast. And that finish - glorious with the Montille.

King salmon cured over sake lees with celeriac creme, togarashi butter, broth of toasted grains and sake. Celeriac creme and sake made a beautiful savory and gently sweet combination. The sake it was cooked in was a junmai daiginjo, Gasanryu Gokugetsu “Mountain Stream.” This dish was like an evolution of the Indonesian curry and yogurt sauce king crab / cod from prior menus.

At this point we switched to red wines: Roty Gevrey-Chambertin Les Fontenys and 2013 Opus One - I preferred the Gevrey-Chambertin for the following game and wagyu courses.

White truffle tagliolini with butter sauce (supplement).

Barbecued squab with jus gras and coffee, Naples long pumpkin with breadcrumbs. Silken and rare.

Whole radish done what I believe is takiawase style, with an intense gelee that tasted like sanbaizu. A beautiful palette cleanser.

Millbrook farms venison with huckleberry sauce, served with grilled avocado and spiced chiccarron. Venison was wow.

Miyazaki wagyu (supplement) A5 grade, with Saison’s take on “teriyaki sauce” and hen of the woods mushrooms. DAMN incredible.

Warm matsutake broth with chicken (almost like a quenelle). Comforting.

apple, quince, and raspberry

Smoked sundae

2008 Essencia. Extremely intense and exotic. Served generously in a glass, not the spoon provided with the bottle. :metal:



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Hi @BradFord,

Nice report and it sounds like Saison is getting even better! :slight_smile: I love Gasanryu (thanks @beefnoguy) and that sounds like it would pair nicely.

That White Truffle Taglioni looks drool worthy (as do most of the courses again). :wink:

Darn it, I need to save up and go back again! :stuck_out_tongue: Thanks for the lovely report.

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Gasanryu was actually part of the broth, not even a drink pairing! I thought it might be a bit precious to cook with junmai daiginjo, but the dishes here are so nuanced and complex that I can’t complain. The combination of the toasted rice broth and celeraic creme was off the charts.

(Speaking of pairings, I almost opted for some Adrien Camut calvados for dessert wine instead; that would’ve been really nice after the apple-quince sorbet.)

There are some dishes from older menus that I really miss - the fire in the sky beet, duck liver toffee, Swarnadwipa curry, and the kelp and coastal flora gelee caviar, etc. But, the new dishes and renditions were all very interesting and delicious in their own right. The wagyu with citrus teriyaki was new and it was glorious! I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s getting “better” - I feel like it’s been operating at the very top for quite some time - but rather it’s developed a slightly new side this season. I know that chef Laurent collaborated on a guest chef dinner a few years back. It’s interesting to see chef Laurent’s imprint on the menu, though there is a good synergy there as several dishes were new despite reminding me of elements of prior dishes.

Yes, you’ll have to make it back someday, and I look forward to your report as usual!


Gasanryu Gokugetsu (Junmai Daiginjo, black bottle) and Kisaragi (Daiginjo, blue bottle) are actually single pasteurized sake, so they have that partial nama sake feel, but a bit lighter bodied as a result of the excellent Yamagata soft water and brewing technique. Very clean and delicious of course. Not much in the way of sake lees is exported on a side note, and I’m not aware of Gasanryu sake lees availability (just throwing that out there) unless they got a direct source.

Guessing not a lot of sake was added to the broth, but enough to give it a light kick of sweetness, little umami, and texture. If it was lightly warmed then perhaps it still had some of its integrity, as I’m guessing that jived well with the more savory cured grille king salmon, as a counterpoint to bring it together based on your comments. Though if I didn’t think twice, I would also think it was counter intuitive and costly / less effective to use a lighter Junmai Daiginjo for cooking / broth (usually cheaper full bodied sake do the job fine, but I’m sure the chefs had their reasons…I wonder what other sake Laurent has used for cooking in the past and present!).


Hi @BradFord,

Wow, the Gasanryu was actually part of the broth?! :open_mouth: That sounds even more intriguing.

And thanks for the perspective on how Saison has been in the past and now; even my 2 visits were just stunning and just consistently “world class.” So good to know that it’s still that high level and just excelling very consistently at this point. :slight_smile:

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