Inside Look: Sauvage, NYC

Translating to “wild” or “natural” in French, Sauvage—the latest restaurant/bar from the Maison Premiere team in New York—lives up to its name. “Josh Boissey and I were thinking about the concept for about 4 to 5 years before it actually opened,” says partner Krystof Zizka. “We started by considering the setting and the atmosphere of the neighborhood. As with Maison, we wanted the whole place to embody one idea, one philosophy.”

After toying with the idea of an Art Nouveau-inspired theme, the duo secured a location at the corner of McCarren Park and began refining the concept, drawing from a range of historical and architectural styles—including Matisse, Saint Germain Boulevard in the 1960s, Jean-Pierre Melville, Tropicália, MAI 1968 and more. Partner Joshua Boissey designed most of the bar’s interiors, with help from Michael Smart of Urban Aesthetics, who built the light fixtures, tables, bar and backbar and who also worked extensively on the brass, bronze, copper and wood finishes. Natural light fills the dining room, fresh foliage adds a bit of wildness to the European bistro vibe, and all of the furniture is made by local artists. Though it’s only been complete since March, the design has already been called out in Architectural Digest as one of Brooklyn’s Best New Restaurants.

“We liked how this was dramatically different from Maison Premiere—how it would focus on nature and all things wild, while still being very modern in its architecture and feel,” Zizka says. “You can really get lost for a few hours in Sauvage and feel like you’re in an entirely different place.”

The “natural” theme extends beyond the aesthetics, with a food menu focused on simple, seasonal ingredients and a thoughtful wine list flush with natural and biodynamic wines. “We like wines made with real yeast, hand-harvested grapes and low sulfur—wines that truly express where they came from,” says Zizka. “We also like how these kinds of wines are really food-friendly. The wines don’t overpower the food, and like the dishes, they’re interesting but also simple. They speak to the people who made them and to the place where they came from, and that makes for a really satisfying pairing.”

On the drinks side, the cocktails are also light and food-friendly, and bar manager Will Elliott has compiled an impressive collection of premium spirits. Ice is also a centerpiece of the drinks program, and every day, Richie Boccato (of Dutch Kills) delivers custom ice for that evening’s drinks. “The block ice is really exciting, and we spend a lot of time making sure that we pick the right size and shape for each drink,” Elliott says. “We also love using the ice shavers on site to make slushie machine-style ice. It’s different than crushed or pebbled ice and has inspired some interesting drinks.”