We all get into those dining ruts. You have a few restaurants you regularly hit when you head out for dinner. And I must admit, while I’ve enjoyed the food at Saison sporadically, it never made it into my regular Richmond restaurant rotation. A few months ago, a vice president was coming into town and I was helping my boss research restaurants for a team dinner. He mentioned Saison and I pulled up the menu. Foie gras tarte, hangar steak with bruleed goat cheese, rockfish with smoked oysters… the menu had clearly changed since my last visit. The work team ended up heading elsewhere, but I chose this spot for my birthday dinner a few months later.
Why You Should Dine at Saison Restaurant
Since I was dining with a group of gal pals, we decided to choose a variety of small plates to split. The unexpected favorite of the evening was grilled broccolini with white anchovy, almond, yogurt, and confit egg yolk. The broccolini itself was smoky and charry from its time on the grill. The accompanying yogurt, anchovy, almond and egg was creamy, crunchy and tangy, creating a distinctive dish that disappeared quickly. A group of four of us considered ordering a second one.
Another favorite among the group was chicken wings prepared in a smoked jalapeno and charred pineapple rub. The wings were not only spicy, but spice-filled, piping hot, and cooked to crispy perfection.
We also went for the classic Saison burger. This was a signature menu item I remembered from visits past and insisted on choosing—it was my birthday after all. Topped with smoked American cheese, ramp ranch dressing, Bibb lettuce and pickles, it has a distinctive smoky, herbal flavor that’s always been a favorite of mine. Sliced into quarters it also disappeared quickly.
We couldn’t skip the cast iron cornbread, which arrived warm, and was perfect with the salted honey butter. The Brussels Sprouts were a unique preparation. Served cold and topped with Dijon vinaigrette, pickled mustard seed, croutons, bacon, and a soft duck egg, they provided a tangy take on a salad. And, the Foie Gras Tarte was incredibly rich with foie gras mousse layered in a pie crust with confit wild mushrooms and PX sherry gelee.
Don’t Forget a Cocktail at Saison
Of course no visit to Saison is complete without a cocktail from the literal book-style cocktail menu. I chose Vanquish the Week. Hey it was my birthday! A caramely, boozy combination of Bonded Bourbon, Lemon, Amontillado Sherry, Averna, and Pedro Ximenez was piled high over crushed ice, making for the perfect celebratory drink.
This meal was a wonderful reminder that every time you think there’s nowhere new to eat, perhaps you should take a look at the Richmond restaurants you haven’t frequented recently and give them a visit. Menus change seasonally, so there are new flavors around every corner.