Saison Reduces Seating, Adds Ticket-Based Chef’s Counter

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Patio seating, thankfully, will still be an option. Photo: Brian Smeets/Grub Street

On the heels of their second Michelin star, and in anticipation of their move downtown, Saison chef-partner Joshua Skenes has announced that after Thanksgiving the existing restaurant will shrink from 42 seats to eighteen, and they'll be adding a ticket-based chef's counter with a $498 tasting menu. The move is another step in Skenes's ongoing effort to make the restaurant more luxurious and exclusive, and as he tells the Scoop, whether or not the numbers really work, "This is not about making money for us. We’re just pushing ourselves to keep doing what we do best."

Skenes has had the chef's counter going for a while, and guests like the Ulterior Epicure who want that extra something special have been treated to lavish sixteen-coursers in recent months. But he's only now decided to make the move toward something like the one-seating-per-night model he plans to use after the move to Jackson Square — he still won't divulge the exact address because negotiations are ongoing, which is probably wise since sometimes such thing fall through. But as you'll recall, Skenes wants to take a cue from Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo, and at the new location a staff of fifteen or so cooks will serve guests their plates as well as cook — and with only 30 seats and the one seating, that's still a two-to-one guest-to-staff ration, without wine people like co-owner Mark Bright figured in.

The plan is for twelve-course meals in the main dining room at the current location, post-Thanksgiving, for $198 with pairings, not including tax or gratuity; those at the four-seat chef's counter will buy pre-paid tickets that include wine, tax, and service and get a 16+-course meal without the hassle of a check. Those tickets can now be purchased here.

Update: We've received word that terrace seating, both at a table or at the four-seat counter facing the hearth, will be available upon request when you make your reservation.

Joshua Skenes explains why he’s transforming Saison into an 18-seat restaurant, with a ticket-based $498 chef counter [Scoop]
Earlier: Saison’s Joshua Skenes Reacts to His Michelin Stars
A Sixteen-Course Meal at Saison, Illustrated
Saison Still Set on Moving, May Have Secured New Jackson Square Space [Updated]