If you’re anything like me, there’s a good chance you haven’t been to Sans Souci for a long time. With so many great restaurants around town and new ones opening all the time, it’s easy to forget this place, two decades old and with no street ‘face’, in the downtown Renaissance hotel. And there’s no denying that the food has not always been all it could be: it doesn’t take more than a single disappointing experience to bump a restaurant off anybody’s list. But I’d been hearing about staff changes and re-visioned menus and decided to visit recently and find out what was going on for myself. Glad I did.
The husband and I had a lovely meal there. The dining room, with a timeless charm that has held up well over the years, is still a pretty and comfortable space. The wine list has appealing options. Table service and plate presentations are high end (but prices are moderate). The kitchen is in the capable and experienced hands of Executive Chef Brett Montgomery and Executive Sous Chef John Aldewereld, and the dishes we ate were delicious.
Things got off to an excellent start with a generous complimentary basket of rolls and flatbreads accompanied by honey butter, a mix of olives, sundried tomatoes and artichoke hearts, and basil pesto. We then did some serious small plate grazing- my favorite way to eat. I loved the chorizo ragout (they make the sausage in-house) that topped seared scallops and creamy herb polenta. The tender boneless beef short rib was glazed to a patent leather shine and shredding the caramelized Brussels sprouts into a sort of slaw was a nice touch. A recommended glass of French Bordeaux was indeed a fine match-up. Also had- and enjoyed- the down-scale upscale combos of potato pierogi with duck confit and mushrooms, and mac ‘n’ cheese made with orzo, smoked salmon, and Lake Erie Creamery goat cheese. Also tried a light but full of flavor fish entrée: sea bass served with a poached egg, pickled carrots and radishes-a nice contrast- spinach and green beans. Some of these will be on the spring menu that starts March 19.
Both chefs stopped by the table to chat and encouraged me to return for the brunch buffet. Though I generally prefer to have my morning coffee and croissant in pajamas, this could be enough to tempt me into an AM outing. In addition to all the standard cereals and pastries, they offer cheese crepes and strawberry sauce; Belgian waffles; eggs Benedict; fingerling potatoes; and marinated tomatoes with mozzarella. It’s just one more good reason to go or go back to Sans Souci.