Has anyone tried Savino's Grill in Belmont yet? On Common Street off Trapelo Road.
Opened last week. I stopped in there Saturday to pick up a gift certificate, and the place was VERY VERY noisy and 90% full. The bar is in the center of the room, kind of awkward. Not a huge menu, but I am intrigued by it since Belmont has never had an upscale dining scene.
Serendipity: just back from a weekend of backpacking, muscles still quite sore, scheduled to go to yoga but the wife got home to late to make the class. The babysitter was already there, we were hungry, so out we went. I offered Shangri La, my wife countered with "No", so we eventually decided to try Savino's, which has been on the "to be tried" list for months.
The room is very nice - each side a row of 4-tops set up diagonally with built-in seats for two of the diners. When we arrived at 6:45, all 7 on the left side were taken by couples. We were led to a central table by a relatively brusque hostess/bartender who would not seat us in one of the right sided banquettes as that side was closed and would be too far for the servers to go. To be fair, we appeared to be the last customers of the night, so leaving half the restaurant unused was not unreasonable. The kitchen is partially open, allowing the chefs to watch the dining room. They appeared to be monitoring the diners and pacing the meal throughout.
Inspired by MC Slim JB among others, I have been experimenting with cocktails recently. They had an interesting list of specials - I ended up with a verde aqua mainly because it listed blood orange bitters as an ingredient. It was indeed bright green, but tasted mainly like a fizzy green water - can't comment if this is appropriate or not. Certainly not to my taste.
Started with a spinach salad "with roasted mushrooms, oven dried tomatoes, crispy pancetta, tossed with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil" Much to my surprise, the spinach came warm and wilted, but was really, really good - Several types of grilled mushrooms, small pieces of crispy pancetta miked through and just enough balsamic to give flavor without overwhelming the other flavors. My wife got a special mushroom soup with truffle oil - soup itself tasted more of squash than mushroom, but was topped with meaty pieces of grilled mushroom and truffle oil that moved the soup from a reasonable rendition to a (losing) contender for top honors (the winner remains a mushroom soup of yesteryear which she had at a philadlephia restaurant called friday saturday sunday about 10 years ago... it has only improved with the retelling). A third, shared appetizer was from the specials - sauteed calamari on white beans with bruschetta and basil oil. The calamari were somewhat tough and generally unexceptional, the bruschetta had a nice tapenade but the white bean salad was crisp and toothsome and went great with the basil oil. I would order the white beans again and have them hold the calamari.
Entrees were weak. I had a duck breast over wild rice with brussel sprouts and a wedge of acorn squash. Extra points for a nice medly of fall flavors, but the duck was slightly over-cooked and tough, and the brussel sprouts were undercooked and almost too firm to cut with the steak knife. Wild rice was well cooked, acorn squash was great. Unlike the spinach salad, the sum of the parts was not greater than each ingredient - there didn't seem to be any fusion/consistency in the flavors. My wife had a pasta with shrimp from the specials - I did not try it, she felt it was fine. Dessert was ricotta pie with fresh whipped cream and raspberry coulis. Ricotta pie was the best I have had since moving from philadelphia, subtle lemon flavor and nice texture of the filling.
Service was somewhat amateur - had to wait 5-10 minutes after the entrees were delivered before the waitress appeared to ask if we needed anything.... normally I wouldn't even notice, except I actually wanted a glass of wine to go with the duck. The server never did anything wrong, and was perfectly lovely: it wasn't bad service, it just wasn't attentive.
one cocktail, three glasses of wine, 3 appetizers, 2 entrees, one dessert - $126 before tip - certainly not outrageous, but not necessarily good value either. We decided that next time we would try the bar tapas special instead (1 cocktail and 3 tapas items,$22).
My boyfriend and I went to Savinos a few weeks ago on a Monday night. We wanted a martini but we were informed that the bartender didn't show up so there was nobody to make one. We ordered a glass of wine instead and watched our waitress trying to pour our glass of wine. We ordered a glass of merlot and a glass of cabernet. We still aren’t sure we got the right wines because it seemed as though she had trouble telling which bottle of wine she should be pouring.
The Caesar salad we shared was good but had too much dressing. I had the rosemary pasta, which was lacking any flavor, but my boyfriend really liked the pork chop. There was one other table in the place and service was slow and it took a very long time to get our entrees.
We wondered why there was nobody else there, reading these reviews I now know why. Service took so long we missed the start of our movie, good thing we bought the tickets ahead of time. Definitely not a place to get a bite to eat before a movie. The waitress was sweet but slow and we felt bad for her.
We were thinking if we went back maybe we could get in and out at the bar, but after reading the bar review, and no bartender to be found I don’t think well waste our time, after all the best part of the movies are the previews!!! The chef was nice and came out to talk to us, I feel bad we wont be back, they were nice but paying $86.00 including tip to be late for the movies is just not enough.
Stopped in to sit at the bar last night to grab some apps and a drink. Bartender had only been there a week and was already taking care of the host stand, service bar and the bar guests. She seemed a bit flustered based on everything that was going on.
Started off with the eggplant carpaccio and the warm spinach salad. Both were good. We had a glass of wine and my DC had a nigroni. We then ordered the braised short ribs and the mussels. They were out of the mussels. The short ribs were cooked perfectly, maybe a bit heavy on the sauce. We ended up finishing up with a lemon cake. Served a bit too cold, the icing was hard rather than a nice soft texture.
All in all the food was good and defiantly a reasonable price. But unfortunately the thing that stood out was the lack of knowledge and service. There seemed to be no manager to assist. The bartender had not yet made most of the specialty drinks, so she was unsure if they tasted correctly. Food was being delivered without silverware. No bread or water service was given at the bar. At the conclusion of the meal I asked for a latte and the bartender informed me that they only served espresso and capp. Then proceeded to ask me what a latte was. I was served an espresso with no saucer, spoon or sugar. This is no fault of the bartender. She probably was not trained properly and was not provided with the support she needs to be doing all of her tasks. I did notice the owner/head chef cooking behind the line and trying to be somewhat of a manger too.
I just think you are trying to run an upscale restaurant, you have to staff the restaurant as that. You have to have a host, dining room manager or something of the sort. The poor bartender was off fending for herself.
Wow I thought the same about Savino's from past experiences, food is overpriced, not too impressive, and the service was awful. But Saturday night at Savino's we found a diamond in the rough. We get a baby sitter for a couple of hours, what is a busy set of parents supposed to do, waste time finding parking in cambridge, or boston, rush and not enjoy each others company or go to the overpriced, average at best food and awful service establishment where we can get a bottle of wine blocks from where we live, and enjoy each others company child free!!! Although its a bit too noisy, the decor is calming and I wish I could get the name of the color of the paint on the walls, our dining room is in dire need of a paint job.
After waiting at the door on Saturday night behind two other parties being ignored by a flustered, and very confused looking bartender, several members of the wait staff who looked even more flustered, we decided we were going to leave. Just in the nic of time we were greeted by a smiling member of the wait staff who whisked us away to a table, and told us to give him a moment and he would return to offer us a beverage. He returned moments later with water and a basket of bread. We told him we had a babysitter at home and maybe we will just have a couple glasses of wine and apps.
He assured us we were in good hands and he assured us he would have us out when we needed to be if we had dinner, but left that decision up to us. He offered us a special martini, we declined but asked for his wine recommendations. He actually replied with what kinds of wine do you drink at home, red, white, heavy, medium bodied. We told him what we liked a medium to heavy red. He pointed out a bottle on the menu, $48 . We decided to take his recommendation. The wine was great just as he described, we decided to have a full meal. We were offered a "special" special and a few of his favorites on the menu. We had the soup, and a spinach salad for apps the "special" veal special and his favorite fish on the menu cobria.
We enjoyed our time together and enjoyed watching our waiter interact with many other guests just as professionaly and effortlessly as he did with us, without missing a beat. The food was as usual good not great, the wine was fabulous. The surprise was we were ready to leave when we needed to even after being "tricked" into getting dessert, and having a wonderful decaf latte and my husband had a cappaccino that looked picturesque, and my husband said it tasted just as good as it looked. We even got saucers spoons and sugar.
The chef awkwardly approached our table and asked how things were, and tried to sell us a $75 dinner with scotch as a special event in the coming week. Maybe he should focus on the chaotic flustered waiters, the bartender, and the unhappy customers who are spending money in his place already, not the future, as we see things now there might not be one.
When we left we spoke to a group of four people outside who were seated on the other side of the dining area. They said much of the same as the previous post. They were entertaining friends from out of town and were taken back because of the service they received and the average high priced food. They said it was a shame to have a place to dine in Belmont that they will not be back to. We considered ourselves lucky to get our waiter and headed home.
Our previous experiences at Savino's have been uninspired and vanilla at best, so I feel for the previous post and the people we spoke with when leaving. Our waiter was left to fend for himself and did a great job, and gave us one of the best evenings we have had in a long time. We will be back for him and will leave if he is not there. He is truly Savino's diamond in the rough. I just have two questions left for Savinos, What color is your dining room painted? and to our waiter, Jimmy do you babysit? Good help is hard to find!!!
Very surprised to read such horrible reviews for Savino's. Last week was the second time I'd eaten there, and I thought the food was excellent both times - the second time we ate at the bar, check out the tapas menu, amazing bruschetta. Both times the service was solid - not exceptional, but definitely not like what I'd read on some posts here. The bar is kinda awkwardly located in the center of the room, but it serves its purpose, and the bartender was a nice guy and he gives a very generous pour. Maybe we just got lucky both times, but I'd certainly recommend it.
It is great to see a high end restaurant come to Belmont. I would put the food at "excellent for suburbia" level. It can't compare to the best in Boston or Cambridge, but compared to places in Arlington, Waltham etc it is our favorite. Much better than, say, Tryst or Flora in my opinion.
Savinos seems to be very passionate about what they are doing. I would definitely recommend it.
Not too impressed. Dinner seemed pricy ($222 for four -- three salads, four entrees, three glasses of wine, three coffees, three desserts). Food was good - but not "Oh my God this was SO worth the price" kind of good. Service was very spotty -- we waited for plates to be cleared, waited to see dessert options, waited a long time for the desserts to be cleared.
I ate there last Friday and was very impressed. I had the green salad, which was nothing exciting, but I happen to like greens with a nice light vinaigrette, so I was happy. I also had the roast pork with a fresh corn salad. The pork was nicely done and I don't know where they got such good corn this late in the season, but my! it was good. Strangely, dessert was the weakest link. I say "strangely" because I always enjoy Vicki Lee's pastries, but the lemon cake and the fruit crisp were kind of "eh." Next time I will probably go to Angelato for gelato instead. As Blondbrarian says, service was knowledgeable and attentive, and I'll add friendly. I want to go back soon!
I was there last thursday...Great food, heroic pommegranate martinis! I had a lovely piece of Mahi Mahi over wild rice with a light sauce. Small portion but just fine by me as it left room for the lovely Vickie Lee pastry or the homemade sorbets raspberry & blackberry. The salmon was praised by several, as were the other dishes. All done with a nouvelle mediterranean/Italian vibe. Service was knowledgeable and attentive..I'll be back, finally a Bar in Belmont, a place to meet for a drink in Cushing Square! All we need is a new library and a new Wellington school to make Belmont perfect.