ZARINA AND ERIC SAKAI They want you to come as you are.
  • Kelly O
  • ZARINA AND ERIC SAKAI They want you to come as you are.

The right kind of clashing is far more interesting than the most scrupulous matchy-matching. Brand-new Restaurant Marron, installed in the former Olivar space in the Loveless Building off the north end of Broadway, doesn't match its historic home, and it also doesn't match your idea of an expensive prix-fixe restaurant. The room's locally famous deco murals depict a Pushkin fairy-tale scene, with big chalices and berobed travelers and whole birds on platters held aloft. There's no mead or joints of meat at Restaurant Marron, though; chef/owner Eric Sakai makes highly composed, haute New American food, starting with an entrée plus dessert for $39, with a five-course "petit voyage" at $78 and the carte blanche of eight courses (which the whole table must order) priced as quoted. Wine pairings are $45 or $72. Nor has the low-ceilinged, medieval-rustic-feeling room been outfitted with the usual trappings or tenor of a reverent temple to foodism. Tablecloths are absent, cutlery and plates are mismatched, and dressed-down, chipper servers might announce, "Sun gold tomatoes, the first of the season—yay! Summer's here!" Stainless-steel wire kitchen shelves—out in the open, with the murals showing through—hold sundries and piles of cookbooks. The soundtrack might be vintage French pop music, Nancy Sinatra, or beboppy jazz.

The Marron website promises all-lower-case "inventive cuisine; casual, come-as-you-are setting," and the answer to a dress-code question is just "nope"...