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Brooklyn Museum’s latest installation: A fancy restaurant

The Brooklyn Paper
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Come for the culture, stay for the food!

The renowned Smith Street eatery Saul will open inside Brooklyn Museum Friday night after closing its 14-year-old Boerum Hill location in July – and the owner is calling his new digs a work of art.

“We’re now like an installation in the museum,” said top-rated chef Saul Bolton at his new namesake eatery on Wednesday night. “It’s a great marriage – I’m excited about it.”

During the restaurant’s open-bar premiere, party throngs of Saul fans packed into the low-lit, 87-seat, establishment that sits on the first floor adjacent to the museum’s recently renovated cafe, which Bolton has also created the menu for.

Wait staff donning black attire passed out glasses of sweet red and white wines and small bites inspired from the restaurant’s dinner menu including a Parmesan cheese puff, baby beets and strawberries, an oxtail croquet, and scallop tartare with tomato jam on toast (which this reporter found particularly tasty).

“The food is absolutely amazing,” said Saul-lover Barbara Campbell of Crown Heights, who added that she couldn’t be happier that the high-end eatery, which was merited a coveted Michelin star for seven consecutive years, has made its new home in such a central location.

“I hope all people will get an opportunity to explore the wonderful food that is now here in the museum,” she said.

Bolton opened his popular restaurant with his wife, Lisa, in 1999, inside a small space on Smith Street when the thoroughfare was on its way to becoming one of Brooklyn’s famed restaurant rows, and the Prospect Heights chef admits that it was emotional for him to leave Brownstone Brooklyn.

“It is bittersweet – we’ve been there for 14 years and it was very personal,” he said. “So coming to the Brooklyn Museum was very exciting, but it’s also a leap of faith and couldn’t be more different.”

Bolton said that he definitely brought the “Saul spirit” to the new — and much larger — eatery by bringing over most of his waitstaff and beloved maitre d’ that he said has been with him since the beginning.

The new restaurant, which has floor-to-ceiling glass windows that allows diners to peer out into the museum’s Great Hall and view permanent art installations as they wine and dine, is complete with a full bar, large steel wine racks that anchors the eatery’s entrance, and a large communal table that sits beneath hand-blown glass light fixtures at the center of the dining room.

Interior designers of the restaurant said that they had to work around two large-scale abstract murals that adorn the walls inside the eatery while designing the space.

“The warmth of the center table works with the tones of the paintings,” said Jason Horvath, co-founder Red Hook-based design company Uhuru.

Bolton, who also owns the Vanderbilt in Prospect Heights and Red Gravy in Brooklyn Heights, revamped the Saul menu for the new eatery, but still kept a number of old favorites including the Dry Aged Squab with roasted carrots, almonds, and spiced yogurt, and his famous Baked Alaska dessert.

The Smith Street restaurant only served dinner, but the new Saul will also serve lunch and brunch, and offer patio seating on the museum’s outdoor terrace in the warmer months.

Saul at the Brooklyn Museum [200 Eastern Parkway near Washington Avenue in Crown Heights, (718) 935–9842, www.saulrestaurant.com]. Lunch served on Wednesday through Friday from 12 pm–3 pm; brunch/lunch served on Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 am-4 pm; dinner Wednesday through Thursday from 5:30 pm–10 pm, Friday and Saturday 5:30 pm–11pm, and Sunday 5 pm–9 pm.

Reach reporter Natalie Musumeci at nmusumeci@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4505. Follow her at twitter.com/souleddout.
Updated 10:15 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
I hate to be the one to point this out, but I feel that I'm left without a choice.
While I'm all for the new restaurant and have dined there many times, I'm afraid that many other people-let's just call them "the poors"-will not be able to afford this delicious treat. I'm not sure that a lot of you know this, but there has been much speak, especially in the Prospect/Crown Heights neighborhoods, respectively, that have been pushing for a Popeye's Express, to no avail.
Now I hope you don't mind my saying so, but wouldn't you think that these poors might just be a little more than discouraged to go to the museum, if they weren’t already? What does this say to our neighbors? And lastly, our neighborhood? Here’s thanking you in advance for the steadfast pardon of this particular interruption.
John Wasserman
Oct. 18, 2013, 4:20 pm
Museum Relic from Prospect Heights says:
Popeyes?!? In the heart of hypergentrification central?!?

There's a laugh - as much as I like a fast food indulgence from time to time (as well as others who'll never admit it), the chances of seeing one in Crown Heights now are less than that of a Glatt Kosher Pork Store opening on Kingston.

Point being, the upscale or nothing trajectory everything's been going pretty much says it all. Heaven forbid there should be a venue serving the needs of - gasp! - everyday people - who apparently no longer have any worth. Not a hipster or nasty, arrogant yuppie? Too bad, you're worth @#$%. Sorry, but that's how I see it. Beyond shameful, frustrating & depressing.

Thankfully, McDonald's's, Wendy's, Dunkin Donuts - & yes, Popeyes - are still on Empire Boulevard. They're soon to be joined by Checkers.

It's a bit of a walk from where I am, but hey! I get to walk some of it off (hopefully, anyway).
Oct. 18, 2013, 4:52 pm
Old-Timer from Williamsburg says:
It sounds okay, as long as there's a cheaper cafeteria, too. I remember when they had a little Nathan's franchise as the restaurant. Actually, as someone pointed out, there are fast-food restaurants on Empire Boulevard (I remember when Wendy's was Wetson's, and the last time I was in there, people said a guy had been shot there the night before).

There are also decent, nice places to eat on Flatbush Avenue starting across Grand Army Plaza, and you can walk to Franklin Avenue and check out the good restaurants, low-cost and high-end there.

You don't have to pay anything to go to the Museum, so you can go out to eat and then come back.
Oct. 18, 2013, 7:53 pm
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
it has been my observation that the so-called "the poors" are well known to splurge from time to time...though I'm not sure Saul's will be able to induce them to add to their credit card debt.
Oct. 18, 2013, 10:13 pm
bengee from coney says:
Mr. Wasserman the "poors"are you talking about the "47"% that Mr. Romney told us about ?
Oct. 19, 2013, 6:20 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
PLEaSE No CARMiNE PLeASE No CaRMINE!!
Oct. 20, 2013, 12:20 am
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
I hate to say this on the air, but I do believe my case has been rested.
Oct. 20, 2013, 5:03 pm
Barry from Flatbush says:
Time for real Brooklynites to flee New Manhattan. We will miss the old country, but we can't afford to stay.
Oct. 20, 2013, 8:39 pm
Jbob from PS says:
@Wasserman

There already is a cafeteria that serves moderately priced offerings. Perhaps yu missed the fact that the Brooklyn museum is suffering from funding issues-it doesnt have the type of traffic and benefactors that similar Manhattan institutions do. Sauls an attempt to bring money in. The museum wont serve anyones interests if it has to scale down its hours/collection.
Oct. 21, 2013, 3:57 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
They're not asking you to put in a hot tub. Just a Popeye's Express. Every "non-prophet" organization has funding issues. Perhaps you didn't know that. Thanks very much for inevitable pardon.
Oct. 21, 2013, 4:13 pm
Jbob from PS says:
Only a total loon would think a Popeyes express should be in a museum. And to lump museums in with non profits generally is ridiculous. Museums have huge operating budgets, The Brooklyn museum's is 26 million a year and theyve lost many high end donors since the recession, plus significant city cutbacks (compared to the Met at 250 million with more money than they know what to do with).
Oct. 21, 2013, 4:31 pm
Jim from PS says:
$26 million? Have to sell at lot of chicken and biscuits to raise that much!
Oct. 21, 2013, 4:33 pm
John Wasserman from Windsor Terrace says:
Then I suggest they take another look at their operating system. Pardon the suggestion.
Oct. 22, 2013, 11:23 am

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