Chef Jordan Whitmore and bartender Rebecca Wurster are behind the French-influenced diner project, which is on track to open in early September at 51 West Forest Avenue. The roughly 99-seat restaurant is currently in the process of undergoing aesthetic updates. Savant will feature an open kitchen with black tile and copper heat lamps, Whitmore tells Eater.
Whitmore and Wurster are alums from the Apparatus Room and high-end, tasting menu spot Chef’s Table at the Detroit Foundation Hotel. After contributing to the award-winning restaurants, the pair say they decided to team up and strike out on their own. “The places I’ve worked with, you serve really high-end food to an upper class society,” Whitmore says. “What this means to me is to bring that level of quality of food and technique to more of a middle class America, where it’s not going to break the budget to be able to eat here.”
Savant’s kitchen will serve a blend of French and classic American dishes. Diners can expect items like all-day dollar oysters, croissant biscuits and gravy, and Escoffier scrambled eggs with black truffle served on brioche with gruyere cheese alongside pomme frites with zip aioli and house ketchup. There’s also a vegan carpaccio with blood oranges, cashew cheese, and mint. Most entrees will be priced around $10, Whitmore says. The most expensive item will be an $18 “caviar bump” — a dollop of caviar placed on the customer’s fist, topped with edible gold leaf, and served with a shooter of French champagne. It’s a style of caviar consumption that was recently imported from the West Coast to metro Detroit by Antihero. “You’ll definitely be able to sit down and eat and have a drink for $20,” he says.
On the bar side, Wurster is building a formidable beverage program ranging from local beer to small production, biodynamic European wine varietals. She plans to incorporate molecular gastronomy techniques into her cocktails, which include options like a eucalyptus gin and tonics. The Canton of Fribourg, for instance, uses gruyere-infused gin and a combination of digestives and aperitifs to create what’s described as a “drinkable cheese plate.” The frothy cocktail is garnished with a gruyere crisp. The Flaming Nun is a variation on a La Louisiane cocktail. It’s served in an ice sphere with torched orange oil.
Savant plans to open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday through Sunday. (The bar stays open until 2 a.m.) The restaurant team plans to host DJs regularly as well as art shows with live painting. On Mondays when the restaurant is closed, the space will be used to host pop-ups.
Savant is aiming for a debut over Labor Day weekend. Stay tuned for more updates closer to the opening.