Update: Sax restaurant cleans up its art after scandalous VIP murals cause controversy

Balage Balogh paints over Sax restaurant’s controversial mural of Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill. (Amy Argetsinger/The Washington Post)

Just weeks after it opened, Sax is making a few tiny changes: Instead of a prix-fixe menu, they’re going to a la carte. They’re swapping the $75-a-head price for a two-course minimum.

Oh, and the really naughty artwork? Yeah, they’re cleaning that up. A lot.

The saucy portraits of a blunt-smoking Obama, a bottle-swigging Bush, a Clinton with a woman under his desk — all gone. The murals of lascivious priests and bare-breasted nuns have been replaced with gypsy dancers and merry musicians.

Errol Lawrence, co-owner of the downtown eatery said the artistic switches are a better fit with the downtown lounge’s overall Palace of Versailles theme. And, well, a response to some of the angry phone calls his staff was fielding since our story last week. He did it for them.

“No one voiced any objections,” said Lawrence, who also owns Sei and Oya. But “they were uncomfortable, I could tell.” The negligee-clad dancers are on their way out, too, he said. Their look was “too simple,” for the place, so they’re lining up an act with a more carnival feel, more heavily costumed.

Oh, and remember that rather graphic mural of Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill we told you about? We found artist Balage Balogh happily painting over his own work Thursday with a new one, a sort of Baroque bacchanalia, youths and lasses capering about.

Any regrets, Errol? Nope. “It’s a business decision.”

Read earlier: Sax restaurant puts scandalous spin on VIP faces with controversial murals, 5/15/11