Recently, my wife and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. We started our romantic evening at my 9-year-old daughter's school open house where we met the parents of the other kids in her class and learned about the upcoming year.
That put us in the mood to go out for a romantic dinner at an incredible local restaurant called Savona where we could dine, enjoy an adult beverage and reminisce about our years together and the school open house we just attended.
We have been to Savona several times but it is a very high-end restaurant that we frequent only on very special occasions. We have enjoyed their tasting menu, as well as their wine pairings because of their extraordinary, diverse wine cellar. The service is impeccable and the atmosphere pleasant and comfortable. But all these stellar attributes come at a price and that is why we dine there only on special occasions.
That is until now. Executive Chef Andrew Masciangelo and his partner Stephane Buliard added a new dimension to the restaurant by adding a comfortable outdoor patio and upstairs lounge that offer a more casual menu featuring regional Italian dishes inspired by the Chef's Abruzesse heritage.
You still get the great service, the wonderful atmosphere, the incredible wine list and the extraordinary food coming from Chef Masciangelo kitchen but at very affordable prices. And if you do want to order something from the downstairs menu to go with your more casual entree like I did, that's available too.
Our Night's Fare
photo from Savona Restaurant
My wife was there a few weeks earlier with a friend and recommended I order the Yellow Fin Tuna Ribbons, Baby Tomatoes served with a Violet Basil dressing. This appetizer came from the downstairs menu. The tuna was excellent and the presentation was astonishing because they served the dish on a plate-sized square of ¼ inch thick ice.
My wife started with a classic Caesar Salad with hearts of romaine and a homemade Caesar dressing. The serving was large and could easily be enough for two especially if you want to share one of Chef Masciangelo's other great looking starters including golden fried artichoke hearts or Tuscan white bean soup topped with a Parmigiano Reggiano melt.
For our entrees I ordered orecchiette pasta, those are the ones that look like little ears, homemade fennel sausage, broccoli rabe in what I think was a veal stock reduction sauce. I have made a dish like this at home but with mozzarella cheese and a tomato based sauce but this dish was simply elegant.
My wife was served Loch Duart salmon with braised escarole, white beans and pancetta. Loch Duart salmon is from northern Scotland where they use "safe, sustainable techniques to produce lean, fit fish." They use a "Best Practice" method of producing fish by rotating the areas they farm fish and leaving each area fallow one in every three years. Great idea and one we should be practicing off our own coastlines.
I'm not sure how they prepared the dish but it looks like they started out by pan searing one side of the salmon and finishing in a poaching liquid. I will have to contact Chef Masciangelo and see if I can get him to participate on my Novice2Pro interview page and get his secret to this dish. It was delicious.
For dessert, we each had a decaf cappuccino and shared the Warm Chocolate Cake served with Vanilla Gelato. This was luscious and when the waiter took the clean plate away and asked how it was, I told him jokingly it needed a little more of the scrumptious vanilla gelato. He told me next time ask them to add two scoops. I think I will.
photo from Savona Restaurant
I mentioned Savona has an extraordinary wine cellar. Well actually I'm not sure if it's in the cellar or not because we sat next to a large glass windowed wine storage area upstairs and I noticed other large wine storage cabinets across the way from where we were sitting. Let's put it this way, this restaurant takes their wines very seriously.
My wife started off with an Extra Dry Prosecco by Fantinel from Veneto Italy. Prosecco is a sparkling wine similar to champagne and a great alternative at a very reasonable price.
With dinner she enjoyed a 2007 Wilson Vineyard Viognier from Clarksburg, California while I tried a glass of 2007 Morellino di Scansano, Santa Vincenza from Tuscany, Italy. They were both delicious and worked well with our meals.
It was a great experience and now that we have become familiar with the casual dining option at Savona, we are bound to be there more frequently. I only wish I knew of this menu sooner.