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May 7, 2011 06:19 AM

What to eat at Savoy today?

I had to cancel my last Savoy reservation and am now eating there tonight for the first time in ages. The menu is completely different. I think this will be our only opportunity before the restaurant closes and I want to make good choices! Any recommendations?

70 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012

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  1. The duck, clearly. They're famous for it. Although when we went recently the portion was decidedly smaller than on previous occasions but with yummy rutabaga. We also thought the spring and winter onions with blue cheese were delicious. I'm sad Savoy is closing although I'm not surprised either. Conceptually, despite changing up the menu format, I don't think they had a menu that hit the right price-point given the relatively informal atmosphere -- although we always found the menu immensely appealing and liked the vibe. As a restaurant, it reminds us of both Prune and Blue Hill, but the former is very savvy at creating buzz and at quietly charging you a lot more than you think because of the need to order sides, while the latter is that much more inventive. I hope when they reinvent Savoy, they don't go to far in the direction of Back Forty.

    1. We were not very impressed with our meal, sadly. I wonder if things have gone downhill since they decided to close, or they decided to close in part because things had gone downhill? An hour after our reservation time and 45 minutes after being seated we finally received our first dish - the bread. There were long waits throughout the meal. How it could take so long to put bread, butter and honey on a plate is beyond me. At this time, there were only a couple of other parties for 2 upstairs (we were upstairs) and one party of 4. Anyway, the bread was fine, and I did like the honey and butter, but I thought is was odd hat we had to pay $5 for bread at all. This seems like something other restaurants would just give you. Certainly I felt that the pricing for the dishes generally was a bit high for the relatively small amounts of food you receive, so they could have thrown in the 5 quite small pieces of bread on the house. It felt cheap. On to the rest of the food. We also had the spring onions, many of which were so charred that there was black powder all over the plate. I like a bit of char, but this seemed like a mistake. No identifiable taste of sherry in the dish - maybe they forgot to add it?, and very little blue cheese. The parts that were not overly burned were pretty good, but I wouldn't order this again. Carrot appetizer was too sweet and seemed to be missing something. A bit of heat, or something to add a bit of salty flavor and cut the sweetness might have helped. There wasn't anything interesting about the flavors, I thought. We had the fava bean spead on crostini, which was pretty good but again not something I would order again. Once more, it seemed like something was missing from the flavor profile. Same for the savory dips. We didn't want the beet dip, as it is made with goat cheese and we just don't care for goat cheese, but the potato almond dip just tasted like bad, cold mashed potatoes. The watercress dip was much more succesful but needed something else. The bread with this dish was far more plentiful and nicely grilled. My husband had the smoked fish, which he said was just okay. We thought the asparus was very good - the best dish we had for the evening. This had a good amount of char on it and the mustard sauce was a nice counterpoint. If we ordered something else, I can't remember it. It was not a very memorable meal and I apologized a few times to my husband for choosing it. One waitress - not ours, but someone else working upstairs - regularly ended up coming over because we were not able to get our waitresses attention at several times. We should have tipped her instead. We refilled our own water glasses (we were sitting near the pitcher) every time. We waited over 15 minutes with empty glasses the first time, unable to flag her, and then gave up. Another 15 minutes after we said we didn't want dessert we were waving our hands to finally get the check. Inattentive service is always disappointing. We spent far more time waiting and trying to ger the waitress' attention than we did actually eating. In all, I was sorry that we had left Brooklyn for the meal, or that we didn't go somewhere else in Manhattan. I am sorry the restaraurant is closing based on my far-in-the-past meal there, which was tasty with great service. It seems to really have fallen off, which was sad to see. I would rather have the old experience in my mind.

      Johannabanana - he could be wrong, but the bartender said he thinks the reincarnation will be in the Back Forty direction. He did say he was not sure about it, though.

      Back Forty
      190 Avenue B, New York, NY 10009

      1 Reply
      1. re: Olive123

        Yes, I've read elsewhere that the owner expects Savoy to become similar to Back Forty after the reopening. Charging for bread happens at Franny's too, for example, although I agree that Savoy is expensive enough to expect some free bread.

        About the black powder on the spring and winter onions, I'm not sure it was actually char/soot. Ours was equally liberally sprinkled with the powder and we liked the taste. I guess it's just subjective.

        Have always preferred eating downstairs there and I agree that the service is especially inconsistent upstairs. I imagine they might try to make the upstairs/downstairs divide less drastic when they change up the restaurant.