I so like the idea of a buvette: that classy way Frenchies have of describing their after-work watering hole. And I feel so jealous that I no longer live in the Tangletown neighborhood, because St. Genevieve would likely be my local buvette.
Steven Brown's long awaited sibling to Tilia follows suit with a warm and inviting interior that feels like it's always just been there. If you can even recall the former structures that made the space Lynn on Bryant, you are more clear minded than I. But maybe that's because of the bubbles.
Bottles of bubbles, Champagne, crémant (French bubbles from outside of the Champagne area) are central to this buvette. Not that you HAVE to drink bubbles, but why wouldn't you? You deserve them any day of the week and twice on Monday. If you don't feel confident about your ability to order the right bubbles, man is this place for you.
Located in the bar, right IN the bar top, is a bin bursting with bottles of bubbles. And worry not that you have to struggle through any awkward pronunciation of labels, the kids behind the bar have you. In fact, because the amazingly stylish and bubbly-herself sommelier Brie Roland has worked so hard to put together such a cool list, you can trust that she wouldn't hand it over to just any cork-popping bar-schmo unarmed with the intel. Our very bearded barkeep Andrew guided us through our whole bubbles experience, finding out what we liked, offering to go in a different direction if it was warranted, checking in to see if the flavors were what we expected and getting us excited for the next half glass or full glass.
And if you're planning multiple glasses of bubbles (or beer and wine which they also have), you might want to snack. The menu seems made to meet this mission with tons of small plates and tartines (open-faced sandwiches). The potato pavé is already getting lots of social media love, mainly because it's almost like we're allowed to love poutine when it's made with delicately layered and pressed potato stacks lolling on a swath gravy and curds. But the lamb tartare, stuffed as it is in a crisp little crepey cylinder, was my favorite bite: that dusky lamb meatiness was plied with salty Moroccan olive bits and bright orange nibs. The most expensive plate of the smalls was the Mille-Feuille of foie gras at $15, and it was rich and generous portion that went quite well with bubbles.
I am excited to try the bigger plates, but I feel like I am destined for bar dining here. The seats number around 50 and the place fills up fast. And if you're looking for quiet and calm, this isn't it. People waiting for seats stand in the bar area and fuel up their chattiness with bubbles, visiting tables of freinds, in that great neighborhood gathering spot tradition. The good news is that sometime in the coming month they will be open for lunch and brunch, giving you more time and space to pop in for bit.