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Adventures in Chow - The Savoy Bistro

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With Spamalot tickets clutched in our hot little hands, we ventured into the lovely French bistro opposite the Canon Theatre, The Savoy.

I hadn't heard of this place before (we had been told to go to the Senator, but wanted something a little more upscale), so a quick peek on the Mirvish website popped up this lovely place.

We made reservations, not knowing exactly how crowded it could get pre-theatre, and we were pretty lucky we did. By 6pm, the place was packed, and we had snagged a gorgeous private booth by arriving that 30 minutes early. Service was immediate, attentive, knowledgable, friendly, and swift. Patient even after 20 minutes of indecisiveness over both the wine and the food!

Our appetizers came quickly...one order of the pate du jour (duck with foie gras wrapped in bacon) was not the standard pate I have come to expect...it was very meaty with a heavy texture. Pleasing taste, not too strong, but it's not something you could spread on bread.

My picky husband has the escargot, served on a potato rosti with goat cheese. I had one, and thought it was very good, but he seemed displeased. Perhaps more to do with the fact that he was about to be subjected to two hours of Monty Python than the food, hmmm?

Our guests had the salad greens (she said the dressing was excellent), and the grilled calamari, which came beautifully plated and was demolished.

For mains, I had the salad nicoise which was a perfectly seared (if overly salty, and under-spiced) five ounces of yellowfin, complete with a tiny poached egg, fingerling potatoes, green beans, in an anchovy dressing with nicoise olives. The anchovy pieces came as a pleasant surprise as it wasn't mentioned in the description, but the olives were terribly overpowering (with hints of tobacco!). I ignored them and heartily enjoyed the salad.

Displeased husband got further displeased with a poor steak frites, which he complained "had too much gristle". I cannot judge, but blame 75% of his complaining on his poor temperment.

Guests had the chicken (I can't remember much more than it was stuffed with something), which she enjoyed, and the mushroom risotto, which was declared magnifique!

Dessert was espresso chocolate cheesecake, and was creamy, decadent and delicious. Rounded off the meal with excellent coffee (dark roast and strong...fancy that!) and a couple of ports. Port was inadequate (they only had a '98...but he warned us beforehand), and came to only $8 a glass, so nothing ventured, nothing gained in my books! One quibble...a glass of brandy (the only one they had) came to $20...we should have asked but didn't. Buyer beware!

All in all, a lovely place. Really did remind me of Paris, especially in that private booth. Go for the service, stay for the food!

$340 for four with a house wine.

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