was it me or savoy?
- david Feb 2, 2000 09:59 PM
First ever dinner at Savoy (Prince & Crosby) most disappointing. Staff was surly. Window table was next to the waiters' work station and they hung around too much. Food was passable and not much else. Tasteless monkfish, average salad. At $50 per person without a bottle of wine, shouldn't this be better?
I hear your pain. Had a similar experience at Cafe Des Artistes. I had a monkfish so rubbery it could have played at MSG. Partner had a steak that was so bland the au poivre sauce just ran rampant over it. Also was bitterly unimpressed by the obsequiousness of the waitstaff that totally cared nothing that we didn't like our meals.
I have never been to Savoy, but I am definitely beginning to feel the monetary pain of hype.
In answer to your question: I don't know. I have had monkfish at other fine restaurants including Jojo, and I have to say that I and my father, though both fish-lovers, tend to avoid fish as main dishes in these types of restaurants, because though it's often good and pleasant, it's unlikely to be spectacular. I tend more toward poultry or red meat. I am sorry that you had a bad experience at those prices.
That said, I was going to post about my birthday dinner at Savoy anyway. As far as I'm concerned, you chowhounds did me a good turn. I and the others (my parents and girlfriend) found the ambiance to be very pleasant. We had good, helpful service, too.
As for the food:
I ordered the smoked cod appetizer. It came with leeks in olive oil and had pieces of olive and capers on top of it, with what I think was bulghur underneath. It was rather spectacular. It had a lot of lemon juice on it, and was a combination of strong flavors, well-blended. My mother got the curried lentil soup. I dipped a piece of bread in. It was very tasty - a subtle, European-style curry, not a spicy, hot-peppery south Indian one. My girlfriend ordered the very expertly-grilled chicken livers with some kind of mushroom, also a knockout. My father got a lamb shank. I forget what else it came with, but it was also a fine dish.
My main dish was salt-baked duck. The skin really was rather salty, and I discarded it. The duck was well-cooked, though I've had better (a bit too well-done?). The carrots which accompanied it were rather special - just a bit sweet, not overcooked, and steamed in such a way as to accentuate the flavor. The dish also came with a bit of bacon, and kale; I found the latter overly bitter but ate it anyway. All the other guests got the venison, which was a better dish than the duck. The meat was tasty; it came with collard greens, and chestnut pancakes which were wonderful.
At the suggestion of the waiter, my girlfriend and I had the Cote de Rhone with the meal (my parents cannot drink wine, for health reasons). It was very fruity and pleased both of us.
My father is a diabetic and cannot have sugary desserts; he decided to pass up the fruit-and-cheese selection. I ordered the chocolate hazelnut cake, which seemed to be flourless, and came with a compote of kumquats. This dessert was spectacular. If anything, the dessert my mother and girlfriend shared was superior. It was an apple crumbly with _fantastic_ almond ice cream.
When I asked for suggestions for a birthday dinner, I mentioned that my family has liked Jojo very much, but was disenchanted with the service there last time. My father remarked during the main dish that "This place is like Jojo." Overall, I think that Jojo in past years was often more spectacular, but all four of us were quite satisfied with Savoy. To sum up: The food was all very good-to-great; I think that my appetizer, the chestnut pancakes from the venison, and the desserts were the most spectacular aspects of the meal. I would not mind returning for another meal, but I am also interested in exploring some other haute cuisine restaurants I have not yet tried. Since I live near Five Points, I will be intrigued to read a report on someone's dinner there.
I really am sorry that you had a bad experience at Savoy, however. It's really inexcusable for expensive restaurants to give customers attitude.
While I have had so-so meals at Savoy, it is one of the better restaurants downtown. The chef tends to have good noghts and bad nights equally and you really have to catch him on a good night. When he is on, the meals have been great, but I have also had some duds. The prices are high though not as bad as a lot of restaurants. The restaurant is run on a very "individual" basis, so I am willing to spend the money on a few so-so meals because it's great when it's on.