When American tourists start trickling into Montreal next week, many of them beelining to its historical centre, they’ll have a brand-new resto-bar to sample: Sauvage.
Settled in the sprawling two-storey Saint-Jacques Street space that previously housed Joverse supper club, Sauvage broadly defines its offering as “Mediterranean,” encompassing everything from the Greek specialties of tzatziki and taramosalata (fish roe dip) to French bordelaise and mornay sauces, and Levantine staples like tahini, za’atar, and sumac. Those flavours dress its offering of raw fare — think tartare, ceviche, and carpaccio — and grilled options: swordfish, octopus, scallops, filet mignon, tomahawk steak, and rack of lamb, among others. The kitchen is helmed by executive chefs Christopher Shawn Pierre (Modavie, Jacopo) and Sary Hussein (Vallier Bistro, Restaurant di Menna).
Montreal entrepreneur Matt Guerguerian, who owns Côte-Saint-Paul Caribbean restaurant Seasoned Dreams and a number of other Montreal businesses under the 2K Consulting group, purchased Joverse in early 2020 and has been working on its metamorphosis, initially into a revamped Joverse and then into Sauvage, ever since.
When it came time to make over the 3,200-square-foot space, Guerguerian enlisted the help of the Gauley Brothers, the Montreal design firm behind the look of several other new Montreal arrivals, including Italian fine dining spot 212, buzzy Saint-Henri restaurant BarBara, and Ryu’s new Griffintown branch.
Guerguerian says the restaurant’s name was selected for its association with nature and rawness, and the primarily brown- and beige-toned space was remade to telegraph these themes. On the ground floor are textured cement walls and an oversized light fixture made of mirrors, vinyl, and LED lights programmed to the rhythm of the music played throughout the space. In a press release shared with Eater, designer Toby Gauley is quoted saying (in French, but translated here), “The huge light that steals the show represents the fire around which humans have gathered since the beginning of time.”
In the basement is a 114-seat space they’re dubbing the “grotto” thanks to its dark and cavernous feel. A terrasse out front adds 102 seats.
Sauvage is the latest in a wave of Old Montreal restaurant openings to materialize after the province’s second lockdown and the subsequent easing of restrictions. It joins Babacool on Notre-Dame, French brasserie Place Carmin (technically in Cité du Multimedia), and forthcoming vegan burger joint Bvrger.
Sauvage is open Wednesday to Sunday, from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. at 52 Rue Saint-Jacques.