In NYC, you resign yourself to certain things. You’ll never see a full night sky, for example. And you’ll also never find a post office that doesn’t make you feel a deep and disorientating sadness - like when you see a whole ice cream cone on the ground, or go into a Best Buy and accidentally catch the last few minutes of The Notebook on a 65-inch flat screen. And, if you live here, you also know that it’s hard to walk into a good restaurant without a reservation on a Friday night. Sauvage, however, is an exception.
We’ve never had too much trouble getting into Sauvage. Which is weird, because this restaurant in lower Greenpoint has a lot going for it. It’s casual enough that you can wear a sweater that you’ve technically never washed before, the food is both reliably good and just a little bit interesting, and it’s one of the most pleasant places to have a meal within a two-mile radius.
It feels like a newer version of one of the bistros you see on every corner in Paris. There are red leather banquettes, a few potted plants, and some old-school ceiling fans that are probably just for show. Also, when it’s nice out, you can sit at one of the many tables on the sidewalk, eat a decent brunch, and watch the tourists wandering up Bedford Ave (some of whom are probably from Paris, which makes for a nice role reversal).
Despite the name, however, the food at Sauvage is only vaguely French, and, for a place where you can eat crudités with “cloumage and Louis dressing,” it’s surprisingly unpretentious. The burrata, for example, is just piled on a plate with squash and pancetta. It’s an interesting (and successful) combination, and you’ll make a mental note to try it again. As for the mains, we wouldn’t say they’re anything groundbreaking - but the pastas are great for a place that isn’t Italian, they know how to cook a piece of duck, and the burger will make you forget about at least several minor complaints that you currently have with life.
Depending on the situation, Sauvage might even be worth traveling for. It’ll make a date think that you’re cooler than you actually are, and getting a table here shouldn’t be a problem. So if it’s a Friday night and you’ve resigned yourself to a last-minute dinner at a place where the food tastes like procrastination and low self-esteem, be aware that you have another option. Sauvage is there for you, and now you know.
This is covered in smoked cheddar and dijon, it has more flavor than your average burger, and it also gets a little messy. As long as you like dijon, you won’t mind having it all over your hands.
Slices of raw scallop, with grapefruit and olive oil. This is fresh and simple, and you should get it if you value things that taste good.
If you see this on the menu, order it. The squash is warm, the pancetta is chewy (in a good way), and you’ll try to recreate this dish the next time you cook for other people.
The pasta here changes often, just know that it’s a good thing to pick at while your date gives you a recap of a television show that you haven’t seen.