I have to admit that this review is very, very late, so the menu has definitely changed since I went in over the summer. But still, even if the ingredients are different, I hope you’ll find this post instructive on the ethos of the restaurant.
You might expect a restaurant named for two breeding horses to be a kitschy, Town-and-Country themed restaurant. But Saxon + Parole is nothing if not refined and romantic.
The light is dim, and the tables are very small. Which is great, if you want to get closer to your date. It’s not great, if you have a real appetite and want to fit several plates of appetizers, oysters, main courses and glass of wine on it. And you will, because this is probably one of the most tempting menus in the city.
Like many restaurants of its type, there is an excellent bar where you can order frothy cocktails served in petite glasses while you wait for your table. Once you get there, the waiters and waitresses are all polite without being stiff, and friendly without being annoying. Our waiter directed us to an excellent organic wine as an alternative to the Malbec they had run out of, and stayed to chat when it was clear we were the sort of couple who like to talk and ask questions.
If you take a visit down to the bathrooms, you’ll be pleased. They are clean, with large flowers floating in a bowl of water and enough room for a wooden bureau like your Great Aunt Sally would have had in her country home.
The menu is traditional grill fair, with a modern twist. The ingredients are seasonal, local and sustainable. Both vegetarians and meat eaters, the indulgent and the health nuts will find something to suit their taste. And Saxon + Parole likes to present dishes in a swing-top jar when possible. For example: the s’mores dessert, which was like a Proustian madeleine moment for the outdoor kid in me. The “s’mores” is layers of warm chocolate pudding, graham cracker crumbs, and lemon-tinged marshmallows on top. Then, whiskey barrel smoke is poured into the jar before it closes. When it gets to you, the smoke is floating around inside, and even after you open the jar up and dip your spoon in, the taste of a summer campfire lingers on the tongue.
Just close your eyes and and relish the memory.