Winterlicious -- Savoy Bistro (disappointing)
I went to Savoy Bistro on Sunday with two other dinner companions, That was three days ago and I can't really remember anything memorable from that dinner. Telling...
The appetizers ordered were the grilled calamari, cauliflower soup and moules frites. I couldn't believe the size of the calamari when it came. It was a single calamari the size of a small egg. More insulting was that they cut up the poor little thing into tiny pieces, in case the diner couldn't stick the WHOLE calamari in their mouth. My friend didn't share his calamari so I can't comment on the taste. But he didn't have a comment either, so I guess it was nothing spectacular. The soup was 'bland'. The best looking appetizer was the moules frite which I had. The mussels were cooked in a white wine and shallot liquid which was nice but not very imaginative. The frites were sprinkled with fried shallots which added a nice touch. However, my dinner companion said the frites were a bit over cooked. When asked for mayonnaise for the frites, the server said they were out. How can they be a true bistro without stocking mayonnaise for their frites?
The mains were steak frites, rosemary chicken and sole. The friend who had the steak didn't comment again on his main (like he didn't for his calamari appetizer). After the tiny appetizer, he got a tiny steak -- the size of a bar of soap. At least he was able to fill up on frites which took up 3/4 of the plate. The sole tasted alright but the portion again was very small. However, the green beans that accompanied the fish was cooked perfectly. They were a dark green, sweet and have a bit of a crunch to them. My chicken was moist but rather bland, there was almost half a chicken too. Again, the side veggies were better than the meat.
Desserts were a boring selection of espresso or vanilla creme brule. Whenever a restaurant resorts to creme brule or creme caramel for desserts, it means they don't care to put much thought into their menu.
I asked to see their regular menu and many of the Winterlicious choices were on it. Most of their appetizers were around 10 dollars and their mains were in the 20 dollar range. From what I saw and tasted that evening, the quality does not justify the price. It's doubtful that I or my dinner companionships would be returning to Savoy Bistro.
Not to defend Savoy, I've never eaten there, but a well done creme brulee or creme caramel does not mean they don't put much thought into their menu !! That's one of the silliest things I've ever heard.Store bought cakes and pastries means they may not care too much - or they just don't have the kitchen space to do the extra work. I personally would much rather have a well prepared simple dessert than some rediculous concoction from some fresh out of culinary school know it all who's not experienced enough to even do the simple things well. After all the simplest things are sometimes the hardest.
I went to Savoy for Winterlicious, and although it wasn't outstanding, I was satisfied with my meal.
I had one spoonful of the soup that my companions ordered, and it tasted good to me. I got plenty of the cheese and bread though, so that certainly helped. My calimari app was indeed bad, and definitely the lowlight of the dinner. It was totally overwhelmed with seasonings that blended together to taste a lot like salted pepper.
My companions had the steak frites. They were very happy with the steaks, which I didn't try. The frites I had were cooked just fine. My app was the mushroom truffle risotto, which I had on a recommendation of a Chowhounder. It was fantastic. The serving size was lacking, which was my only complain. The rice was cooked perfectly, and one could actually taste the truffle flavour! I'm always surprised when I can actually taste the truffle essence in anything made with oil or preserves.
My friends had the creme brulee, which was fine, but I will agree with you, a bit tired. I had the berry crumble, which was excellent. It was absolutely stuffed with berries, and the flavour was so, so intense, I was very impressed. The crumble had just enough sweetness to offset the tartness of the berries. I usually prefer the rich, decadent desserts to light and fruity ones, but this one was remarkable.
Savoy's winterlicious menu is $25 (appetizer, main and dessert), and their regular menu prices appetizers at $10+ and mains at $20+ so I'm not sure why you're so shocked that,
for the winterlicious promotion, the meals would be smaller in size. They'd be losing money if they gave you the same portion sizes for an inclusive $25 meal! I also don't follow the logic of your friend not mentioning anything about her/his food, so it musn't have been good! Perhaps said friend isn't that chatty! Finally - creme brulee is a wonderful dessert...saying that they don't care to put much thought into their menu because they serve this as a dessert is simply insulting to those of us who make/love creme brulee! Perhaps it's not your favourite desser -
fine. That's personal preference, not critique-worthy. I'm going to check out Savoy after reading your comments. It looks quite elegant inside and I've always wanted to go!
One of the reasons I didn't mention anything about the food was because I was taught not to speak with food in my mouth ;-) But in all seriousness, the whole meal was rather unspectacular. The calamari salad appy was very very small; there were perhaps 8 or 9 baby spinach leaves lining a teeny baby squid. It was, however, properly cooked and not chewy.
As for the mains, the steak was a little dry (medium rather than the requested medium-rare) and the fries were somewhat dark but passable. The bearnaise sauce came in a small container and was obviously prepared in advance, as a significant skin had formed on it.
I like the occasional creme brulee, if done right. The problem with this particular one was that 1) it filled barely half of the ramekin and 2) they put way too much sugar on top so that when melted formed a very thick candy layer that was out of proportion to the actual "dessert" present! Perhaps it's personal preference, but I like the crunchy layer to be much thinner and more subtle.
I got the sense that the winterlicious event was something they just wanted to "get done" with, and move on with their regular menu and clientele. I guess for $25 I should have lowered my expectations a little...
I went to the Savoy just this past November and vowed I would never return...
My companion ordered the steak frites with an accompanying bernaise sauce which (and I am not kidding) had separated. It was shocking to say the least. I ordered the escargots as an app, which was served over some potato galette concoction (I call it a concoction because it was actually soggy) along with goat's cheese. This combination of flavors and textures was horrible. For my main, I had the "cassoulet" which was so salty that it was unbearable. In addition, instead of duck confit, they just threw in a regular cooked duck leg. It was pathetic. There's nothing more infuriating to me than a restaurant insulting the intelligence of its patrons. The total bill came to about $125 (including 2 glasses of boring Languedoc and 2 martinis). The worst $125 I have EVER spent.
The service was sketchy (at best) in terms of attentiveness, but to be fair, the server was extremely friendly without being overly familiar.