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Savant Project? The Beehive?

The Dig gave this place a rave in the current issue. It's in the spot that used to be the Solstice Cafe (a place I never managed to visit) on Tremont near Brigham Circle. It appears to offer a very eclectic menu with an Asian tilt, serve lunch and dinner, and make serious cocktails. Any reports?

I also see Nadeau gave The Beehive a 4-star rave today. Has anyone eaten here recently? His experiences of the food (and service) sure sound different from mine. Maybe the kitchen finally came around? Having admired the chef's previous work, I was baffled by how bad the food was on my multiple visits.

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  1. The Savant Project is still in its pre-opening mood, with only cordials available for cocktail making - no full liquor license yet. Menu is Asian/South American - whatever that means.

    1. From everything I've heard, the bartenders are some of the best in Boston. In fact Cedric from Silvertone wrote most of the cocktail list, Micheal, from Silvertone and the Franklin, is the bar manager. Josh moonlights over there. So the bar is jacked with all of this talent, but the bad news I've heard is the food is subpar. I honestly think they were going more for the bar scene than the food aspect.

      5 Replies
        1. re: litchick

          Frank from the Alewife Summer Shack, then Anise? I'd follow him- he makes a mean cocktail.

          1. re: bobot

            one and the same. he's at beehive mon-weds at the upstairs bar. ;)

        2. re: FoodArt

          Cliff Travers... wasn't he at OM?

          1. re: FoodFemme

            Cliff was at OM. I heard somewhere that he was going to be the bartender at Banq, the new place in the Penny Savings Bank. I was very excited about that...hope it's still the plan!

        3. I was surprised to see that, too. Though somehow the first two or three meals I had there (right when it opened) were very, very good. Then...nothing but mediocrity, so I stopped going.

          Maybe I should head back there again.

          1. And the kitchen at Beehive certainly can't be getting any practice by not cooking tonight (due to the jazz fest).

            1. Adam Halberg is leaving or has left the Beehive. Although the Phoenix review likely predates that, given the time involved in the editorial process.

              4 Replies
              1. re: limster

                Halberg is gone. Bartending friends tell me that management is consulting with a chef from Sharon on the menu.

                1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                  A chef from Sharon... is that Kevin Crawley from Coriander? I've always heard great things about Coriander.

                    1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                      Complete list of restaurants in Sharon, MA: Coriander, Alice's Mandarin Taste, Pizzigando, Pizza Market, University Meal Deal, Charlie's Deli & Catering, D A Restaurant.

                      I'm guessing Coriander, which indeed was a fine little bistro, way above average for the suburbs, my one meal there some years back.

              2. The Savant Project doesn't have their full menu online yet, but the items shown on their sample menus look pretty interesting...


                1 Reply
                1. re: hiddenboston

                  The dinner menu pricing looks rather high for Mission Hill.

                  Also, looks like they have the guy who did the drink list at OM, Clif Travers, working the bar for them.

                2. I wont comment on Beehive since i already have, but i will comment about Savant project. The place seems very disjointed, cement bar and metal walls, seeming very much modern and old fashion at the same time. The cocktails are perhaps serious but they do not have a liquor license only a cordials permit so you be the judge of how serious the coctails are. Also everything was purchase from Ikea and they are not shy about it. The silverware says ikea on it. Menu seems very nice but perhaps too upscale for the atmosphere of the place itself. The place seems like it will do well in that location though (a neighborhood setting).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: jpeso

                    I tought it was weird that a chicken/eggplant quesadilla was $12 at lunch but the dinner menu was all $12-18. And what does Savant Project mean anyway? I really hate that name and I'm usually a lot less annoyed by names of restaurants than most here.

                    1. re: Joanie

                      Agreed It sounds like something the CIA might do inside a mountain in Colorado or something.

                      It sounds like Savant Project might have opened a bit too quickly; I'll probably wait a few weeks before going.

                  2. Tempted by the Dig review, I got takeout from Savant Project today. The portobello sandwich w/ pesto & roncal cheese w/ a juicy yellow tomato was absolutely delish. The way skinny fries were a bit wacky, but tasty. I liked the Solstice a lot, even though they were prone to deathly slow service at times. Still, I think this is an interesting addition to the neighborhood.

                    1. hi everyone - i wrote the savant project piece in the dig. curious to hear how other people's experiences pan out as the place gets up and running full-speed. although i love the place from what i've seen, it's definitely not 100% hits, but comfy and engaging enough that you feel compelled to return for new dishes or drinks they'll experiment with on the menu. although the prices are kind of uppity for mission hill, it's nice that it's just a few greenline stops down from the copley/back bay area, in which reasonably priced eating/drinking (esp late hours) can be limited. weekend brunch is launching soon (if not already). for what it's worth, the sake drunken cup dessert is heaven. it's literally a glass of pleasing sake with berries and cream dunked on top. the fried churros, drizzled w chocolate, also come with an interesting shotglass of vanilla cognac and chai liqueur. a little indulgent, but a great balance of spice, sweetness, and richness.

                      1. Kevin Crawley from Coriander consulting but Becca Newell from Aquitaine Bis in Chesnut Hill is the new Exec. Owners were way disappointed by the response to food as well, so brought in all sorts of new talent. Menu already better, but still evolving. After having cocktails there tonight with Josh from Silvertone, the word is that brunch will start up beginning of Nov, and that I am excited about.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: trotliner

                          The owners should be disappointed by the response to the food, but I hardly believe that bringing in new talent alone will solve this: they started with plenty of talent in that kitchen.

                          It seems to me like management is having trouble making up its collective mind about: a) what kind of food they want to serve, and/or b) whether they care about delivering great food at all. I've always felt the food at Pho Republique took a back seat to the ambience and drink-slinging, and the Beehive's pattern looks suspiciously similar.

                          Without offering a more compelling dining experience, I wonder how long they can coast on strong bartending, live music, and that great atmosphere, especially (as another poster just noted) with what they charge for a draft beer or a highball.

                        2. Went to the Beehive on Wednesday night. Completely dead, but not unexpected since the re was a big Sox game that night.

                          Anyway, SEVEN DOLLARS for a pint of Harpoon? I thought the bartender was joking at first and almost laughed. Really? Seven bucks? And freakin' nine bucks for a vodka tonic? No thanks. I won't be going back.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Saint Botolph

                            You can still get a six-pack of Harpoon for about that price in some liquor stores. That's pretty steep for a place like that.

                          2. I went back to SP again for lunch this week. My friend had the portobello, liked it a lot. I had the tuna slider and the polenta fries. Slider was very nice but the polenta fries weren't so fab. They wre presented in a glass. which also looked a bit odd. Service was verrrry slow, but it was always that way at Solstice, so I wasn't too bothered. Still looking forward to having drinks there one of these days.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Bluebell

                              After reading the Dig review, I decided to check SP out after walking by for weeks during construction wondering what was going to go in there to replace Solstice. I always liked Solstice, even though it never really seemed like a "finished" restaurant. Decent food, slow service, cool music, but shabby decor. Savant Project seems very polished in comparison. And then there is the food. Wow! I'm sorry, but the food is great. Went for dinner last week and opted for a seleciton of the small plates (6 of them between the two of us), dessert and drinks. Among the small plates, the ceasar salad was our favorite, followed by the beef slider and the California hand roll, which were both great. The flavors are just extremely intense in all three, and the hand roll was presented very uniquely with the bottom of the cone sitting in a bath of soy sauce. The Polenta was ok, and the scallop dish was the only real miss. We tried both desserts, and they did not let us down. The sake fruit cup is as good as the Dig reviewer says, and the Churro, while not like the Mexican churros I'm used to in California, was amazing. The chipotle chocolate sauce has flavor that lingers in your mouth for a very long time. The drinks were also very creative and nice. We didn't even miss the hard stuff. We had the Negronimeister and the Sakito. The Negronimeister was very balanced with just enough punch to remind you that you are drinking Jager. I liked the place so much that I went back twice for lunch this past week, both times ordering the BLT, which is the bested our entire list of small plates by a mile. This is definitely a signiature dish. I have tasted nothing like it. Awesome. And to top it off, enough Killers, Interpol, and Belle and Sebatian to make me think I was dining with my ipod on. I sincerely hope this place sticks in this rapidly changing (i.e. gentrifying), mixed income area. With the Pig and Penguin (with outstanding beer lists), and this place (with the potential for top notch cocktails and really great affordable food), the Brigham Circle/Mission Hill area is shaping up to be an up and coming neighborhood for chow/booze hounds...

                              1. re: Bluebell

                                I went to Savant Project this past Friday, around 9pm. The room is very bare, but sleek and attractive. A couple other tables were occupied, but it sure wasn't packed.

                                Agree wrt the service - sloooooowwwwww. Took forever to get wine, then the food took even longer. Never were offered more drinks, or asked about ordering more food (we ordered small plates and kept a menu, usually a sign one plans to order more). Waiter was super-friendly, just not very available. Owner was there too, very friendly and involved in helping out FOH, but he too never asked us about refills.

                                Food was delicious - what there was of it. They are not kidding about "small plates" - the tuna slider was approx 1"x1", and everything was basically 1-2 bites. Tuna sashimi was great - delicious with fried garlic chips, but overdressed greens. Polenta fries were AWESOME - I'll definitely go back for those. Chicken-eggplant quesdilla was unmemorable but at least decent-sized (in this context) - probably 6-8 bites. Tuna slider was too teeny to share, so I didn't have any but DC said it was great. Skirt steak rolls with seaweed salad were chewy and bland, but unoffensive.

                                Pricing appears good until you see the portions - all small plates were $4.50-6.00, but were smaller than taste-sized portions. We left hungry, but since it was by then after 10pm in Mission Hill, we were out of luck. Thankfully we were able to keep our strength up with cheap wine at Flann's.

                                I'll keep this place for appetizers and low-key drinks. It's nice to have a classy non-pub option on the Hill. Just don't go hungry.

                                1. re: beantownbob

                                  He's traveling for a while and hasn't decided where he's headed, but he is thinking out of Boston.