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Mar 15, 2011 09:47 AM

Savin Bar & Kitchen

Savin Bar & Kitchen (old Donovans location) is having their soft opening this week. Website says open for drinks, sandwiches and snacks at 3:00 with the dinner service starting at 5:00. Menu looks interesting enough, has anyone been?

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  1. My fiance just drove by it and said it is really busy, so hopefully there will be some reports later!

    1. The chef did some time at The Franklin, and his menu might remind you a bit of that style and price point, with the addition of some crudi and a burger.

      Not sure I see the purported craft in that cocktail menu, but small steps, I guess.

      6 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        The menu seems completely reasonable (better than I thought it would be) and the cocktail and wine list could certainly use a bit of help, but it could be worse. I will submit a full report as soon as we get over there, I am rooting for it, I hope it will be a great neighborhood spot.

        1. re: suzysue2

          I totally agree. The menu looks interesting and exactly what Dot needs.

          I also agree about the wine and cocktails but they did manage the obligatory St. Germain "martini." Maybe cupcakes will be for dessert.

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          Glad this is open, and will be checking it out this weekend. Menu looks good, but you would think someone would proofread / spellcheck before publishing it. Riddled with spelling errors! "civeche", "mussles", "chattenay" carrots...the list goes on.

          Maybe it is the total nerd in me, but drives me crazy when places go through the massive undertaking of opening a restaurant and have mispellings on menu. Regardless, looking forward to trying it....neighborhood has been missing Donovan's.

          1. re: msw79

            My first thought too, so nudge over and make room at the nerd table. They need a decent proofreader pronto! Parmegiano...

            1. re: greengage

              Not including missing accents on non-English words, I count 13 mistakes on the dinner menu alone. That aside, a friend who's a sous chef in Boston lives near Savin and prefers it to Dbar to which he doesn't plan to return. He says it's quite good for what it is.

            2. re: msw79

              Yikes!! Proofreader needed is right!

              “crudo’s” (possessive)
              grano padano (grana)

          2. Last post here was in mid-March, anyone been here yet and want to share re: good picks for food and drink? I work very close by and am planning an after work jaunt soon. Thanks!

            4 Replies
            1. re: rosie17

              I have had take-out from SHK and eaten dinner there once. The take-out consisted of pork belly cracklins, which were a bit overcooked (something might have been lost in transit) and had a tasty caramel-like sauce. The confit tomato pizza was dreadful -- the tomatoes were ridiculously salty and served in too large a portion (they appeared to be whole plum tomatoes, which are impossible to take a bite of without the whole tomato sliding off into your mouth), the arugula appeared to have been baked WITH the pizza (and was therefore bitter and papery), instead of added on top, and the parmigiano reggiano had no taste. The crust was puffy and doughy and bland. Did not like.

              The second time I went for dinner, I had the roast beet and mango salad, which was fresh-tasting and absolutely fine for what it was. I enjoyed it. I also had the sausage and oyster roast, which featured a lovely, garlicky homemade sausage, served on a cutting board with the roast oysters and some mustard. I really liked this dish. Something weird -- the cutting board looked old and warped, which struck me as odd since they haven't been open very long. Did they buy it used? Did someone mistakenly put it through the dishwasher? My husband had a burger, which he said was pretty decent.

              I think they are still working out their kinks -- I suspect they are also seeing what people are willing to pay for too. I live nearby so I'm sure I'll go back and try different things.

              1. re: astrid

                I went in for dinner for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I also live in the area. I definitely think it's got some kinks to work out. The service was very friendly, but the food was only so-so, and not a good value.

                We arrived around 6 on a Thursday (one of the recent snow nights) and were seated right away, party of three, near the open kitchen. The space feels more open than Donovans, as all the interior walls are gone.

                I ordered the reuben with a side of roasted brussels sprouts, husband had the burger, and our 5 year old had a child plate of pasta with butter sauce. We ordered frites with aioli as a starter. 15 minutes after ordering, our server came back to tell me the kitchen ran out of my sandwich, and I ordered the pasta bolognese instead. We waited 1/2 hour for the starter to come out, and then the rest of the food arrived 3 minutes later.

                Our daughter's pasta was about 1/2 cup serving of homemade tagliatelle (very tasty and al dente, good eggy flavor). I felt it was a very small serving for $7.95. The frites were very good, handcut and seemingly double fried. Most were crisp (a few were tough), and the garlic aioli was fantastic. My bolognese was more of a meat sauce- as a meat sauce it could be OK, as a bolognese... not so much. The meat seemed like a good blend of veal/pork and beef, but tasted strongly of tomato paste and lacked the milky flavor I come to expect of bolognese. The texture was also pretty tough, l expect bolognese to be tender, a little creamy and almost delicate. The pasta was very good however. and cooked perfectly. Brussels sprouts were awful- they tasted like they were boiled and then briefly sauteed- no noticeable browning or nutty flavor. Some were squishy in the center, and some seemed barely cooked.

                My husband said his burger lacked flavor and he was pretty disappointed.

                The kitchen serves homemade breadsticks and I think they could use some work. They were very tough and chewy and the dough was quite salty.

                Overall, the food seemed under-seasoned. No salt or pepper on the table, and while I normally wouldn't care about that, if it was present I definitely would have used it. Portion sizes on what we ordered were very small for the price point.

                Even though I didn't have the best experience there, I'd still give it another shot after some more time passes. The food all seemed like it could be great, if executed better. It could be a great addition to the neighborhood- I think we could really use some higher end food around here (I'm not a fan of Harp and Bard at all).

                1. re: roux609

                  Had hoped to try it this weekend for lunch, but they are just serving brunch on Sat/Sun until 3 and then it's a really limited snack menu from 3 to 5. Hopefully, they'll add a few sandwiches to the menu for those of us who don't want eggs. I'm not a fan of the Harp & Bard either, and I noticed they had their sign out advertising breakfast til 2 on Sat/Sundays. I wonder if the neighborhood can support all the breakfast options? Donovans was great for the after work crowd especially for those of us who get out early. I would routinely stop there after work at 4:00 for dinner so I guess I was hoping for something similar.

                  1. re: Pegmeister

                    Hi all, thanks for the detailed feedback. I will likely try it in a few weeks and see what the haps are... hopefully the service kinks will be worked out by then, and the flavor/seasoning situation.

            2. Did they get someone competent to edit all the mistakes in their menu?

              Because if they don't care bout that, what other things don't they care about?

              13 Replies
              1. re: C. Hamster

                I don"t know but I agree. How do they expect to be taken seriously as knowledgeable about food when they can't spell the dishes? They recently posted something on Facebook about offering "steak freites".

                1. re: astrid

                  Maybe someone should give them a heads up on the spelling thing on the fb page?

                  1. re: mtm7654

                    I think they read this board -- at least one time I commented on Savin Hill Scoop (same owners) and the person who runs it responded right away. For the record, I commented on their FB post regarding the spelling. I think a few days later they posted something else about offering calamari with "remesco sauce".

                    Regardless of how hard they are trying (and I don't doubt that they are), I think the comments about the spelling is absolutely fair.

                  2. re: astrid

                    They seem to be trying quite hard. They had some new items post to the menu today via their FB page, and then posted these specials:

                    "We've just added a few specials to tonight menu! Come in and enjoy our Tax Day Meatloaf w/ Mashed Potatoes and Bacon Marmalade Gravy. If this chilly days got you feeling a little under the weather; come over and enjoy our delicious broccoli and cheddar soup; its sure to warm you up! If you do stop in to see us tonight don't forget to try the NEW Fried Calamari dish or give the hearty NEW Barbecue Pork Rib dish!"

                    A nice attempt to build rapport. I'll take this over an arrogant SOB owner any-day...

                    1. re: mikeinboston

                      Nice attempt, sure, but it wouldn't have been that hard to make the effort to write that in proper English.

                      The mistakes on their menu (and in their post) make them look sloppy and amateurish.

                        1. re: OLDCHEF

                          Any idea what happened? I've read both here and FB that the chef and sous chef are now gone.
                          My wife and I have lived in the area for the last 6 years and were really looking forward to this place opening up. We tried it a couple of weeks ago, and were very disappointed. There were four of us in the party and not a single person was happy with the quality of their dishes. It's a little pricey for the area, but we wouldn't necessarily mind that if the dishes justified the price - they didn't.
                          We really want this place to succeed and love what the owners have done with their other ventures in the area (McKenna's & Savin Scoop).

                          1. re: pgrvy

                            Savin Bar & Kitchen's owners announced a new exec chef on their Facebook page a week ago. Words to the effect of "we're rebuilding the menu from the ground up". Seems kind of a shame. It would be too bad if it devolved into some kind of ordinary Sysco-driven pub menu.


                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              Interesting. It looks like they've had direct comments on FB regarding their menu offerings being too fancy/fussy/not tasty. I wouldn't write the chef change off as being a devolution into "some kind of ordinary Sysco-driven pub" -- there are good pubs out there with simple comfort food and better-than-average quality ingredients. We'll see what they come up with.

                              I think they were just all over the place and not really thinking about what people in the neighborhood want to eat on a daily basis. I feel sort of vindicated in my analysis from last fall:

                              1. re: astrid

                                I wouldn't presume to tell the owners how to best serve their own neighborhood and customers. And it's true there are pubs that do simpler food with non-Sysco ingredients, but they are increasingly rare. I don't have a warm feeling about the changes here.


                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  Why not? I live in the neighborhood and I am a customer. I am entitled to my opinions about what works and in this case, I think I was right.

                                  1. re: astrid

                                    Not casting aspersions on anyone's opinions. It seems clear that the owners felt the first chef was not giving them what they wanted. It remains to be seen whether what they now want will be a back-up-the-Sysco-truck kind of kitchen or not.

                                    The new chef reportedly had previously worked at a series of Not Your Average Joe's outlets, which is not promising. If it turns out to be a Sysco-frozen-food kind of menu, I will have zero interest in visiting the place. That food is everywhere; I don't need to travel to Savin Hill to get it.


                              2. re: MC Slim JB

                                Their Yelp reviews (no, I can't explain what I was doing on Yelp) are mostly to the "this is Savin Hill, not the South End!" effect, which is sort of bizarre. dbar thrives at a similar price point just blocks away, but their food is also pretty good.