Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Detroit gets caviar bumps and edible gold at Midtown's forthcoming French diner

Posted By on Wed, Jul 24, 2019 at 3:23 PM

click to enlarge Savant. - TOM PERKINS
  • Tom Perkins
  • Savant.

Yes, the "caviar bump" craze is indeed about to hit Detroit.

For those not experienced in bumping caviar, it involves receiving a dollop of caviar on a demi-spoon or the outside of one's hand between the thumb and pointer finger, and consuming it from there.

At Savant, a new French diner two alums from Chef's Table at the Foundation Hotel are putting together in the Cass Corridor's former Bolero space, the Finer Things in Life will involve an Ossetra Caviar bump accompanied by a bit of edible gold with a Champagne chaser.

But while Savant will serve caviar bumps and edible gold, the restaurant is actually designed to be more accessible than many of downtown's new upscale spots. Chef Jordan Whitmore describes the concept as being technique-driven and quality ingredient-focused while offering twists on American staples. He's a veteran of high-end kitchens across the country and wants to apply the same techniques and ideas to a more accessible menu that isn't unaffordable to the average Detroit customer.

So while you can go to Savant and eat gold, you can also order a roughly $12 American Wagyu cheeseburger. "Small bites" will be offered in the standard range — under $10, and even the caviar bumps will only range in price from $5 to $20. Those familiar with the upscale Chicago diner Au Cheval will understand Whitmore's aim, though it's a generally new concept for Detroit.

Though the menu is largely still in draft phase, Whitmore says to expect an Escoffier scramble with black truffle, brioche, gruyere, and chive; soufflé pancakes with dark chocolate and creme an glace; and a croque monsieur with Parisian ham, gruyere, béchamel, and brioche. Savant will serve breakfast all day with a range of French omelets and croissant biscuits and gravy. $1 oysters will also be served throughout the day.

Behind the bar, mixologist Rebecca Wurster is going for what she characterizes as a culinary, highly technical approach to bartending, one that goes beyond most of what we've seen in terms of molecular mixology.

Drinks will have custom glassware and she's working on freezing cocktails into different shapes. For example, The Golden Egg — with Remy VSOP, Smith & Cross, butter-washed bourbon, lemon, Averna Amaro, and cinnamon — is frozen into the shape of an egg, and then melts into what Wurster describes as a "velvety, boozy, smooth" cocktail.

The "jet black in color" Challenger Deep will have an edible printout of a squid as the garnish, and will be served in a collins glass. Its predominant flavors will be passionfruit, mole spice, citrus, and tequila, and Wurster describes it as a "silky, dark, and spicy" drink.

Savant's 3 Peas in a Pod will be served in a lavender-infused absinthe-rinsed coupe with gin and lemon Benedictine that's shaken with mint and snap peas. Wurster will pin on a snap pea pod holding cocktail caviar that looks like peas. She describes the creation as "chartreuse-y, herbaceous, and citrus-y," and not too different from cocktails like last word or Juliet and Romeo.

The bar program will also include a selection of Champagne, local beer, and a wine list stocked with small production, biodynamic European varietals.

Wurster and her mom are designing the interior, which Wurster describes as "French art deco." Beyond the menu, Savant will show the work of local artists like Tony Roko, Ron Zakrin, Lisa Spindler, Niagra, and Shades. At Savant's opening, Shades will be painting a 12-foot by 7-foot piece live.

The 99-seat restaurant will likely open sometime in the fall, and parking is available on the street, in the neighboring garage, or for $3 across the street.

Keep an eye on Savant's website for more information.

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