Saturday, May 12, 2007

Savory Tastes Cafe, Part 1

(Originally posted 2/15/06)

Savory Tastes Cafe is one of my favorite dining choices. The chef there, Stephen Bell, is a great and talented person. He oftens wanders around the small restaurant, conversing with the guests, checking to make sure they are enjoying their food. They often have special wine dinners as well, very affordable and exciting events.

My wife and I went to their Valentine’s Day Wine Dinner. What a surprise it was to see Ed, Christy, Ssezi, and Tara at Savory Tastes. It was almost a mini-outing for the Real World Winers.

Entrees (Choose One) Chicken Wellington With Saffron Cardamom Rice and Marscapone Creamed Spinach In a Chardonnay Chicken Reduction Veal Porterhouse Lobster Mashed Potatoes and Garlic, Paprika Cauliflower With a Pomegranate Veal Reduction A to Z Pinot Noir Dessert Choice From The Dessert Tray Banyuls Black Grenache

I had a wonderful dining experience, the norm for Savory Tastes. As usual, the meal started with an amuse bouche, a blue cheese tart. Plus, there were warm rolls. The Appetizer was a Ravioli of Shrimp, Cognac & Wilted Spinach served in a Light Shrimp Broth. This was paired with a Rudi Weist Riesling. The Ravioli were large, pinkish and heart-shaped, and very apropos for the occasion. And they were topped with a grilled shrimp. The shrimp was good though I did not eat any of the Ravioli as I dislike spinach. My wife though very much enjoyed them. The Rudi Weist Riesling was excellent. It was not too sweet and had a nice crisp, fruit flavor.

My wife and and I each got a different salad. We had a choice between a Baby Arugula Port Pear Salad (with Peppery Arrugula & Port Steeped Bartlett Pears Mixed with Danish Blue Cheese and Port Vinaigrette) and a Spinach Avocado Apple Salad (Wth Baby Spinach, Gala Apples & Diced Avocados Drizzled With Warm Apple Cider Vinaigrette & Finished With Smoked Bacon). The salads were paired with a Groth Chardonnay. I had the pear salad and the pears were delicious, soaked in port wine, a nice fresh crisp taste to them. They were topped with crumbles of blue cheese which were a nice accompaniment without overpowering the rest of the salad. My wife enjoyed her salad and I tasted some of the apples, also fresh and with a nice smoky bacon flavor. The Groth Chardonnay was ok. It was not an oaky chard so that made it more enticing. But, I did not feel it was a real standout.

We had a choice of entrees so my wife and I selected one of each and split them. There was Chicken Wellington with Saffron Cardamom Rice and Marscapone Creamed Spinach in a Chardonnay Chicken Reduction. There was also a Veal Porterhouse with Lobster Mashed Potatoes and Garlic, Paprika Cauliflower with a Pomegranate Veal Reduction. The entrees were paired with an A to Z Pinot Noir. My wife had the Chicken Wellington and enjoyed it very much. I took had a portion and thought it was excellent as well. A nice moist chicken in a flaky shell. The saffron rice was also very tasty, with an interesting blend of spices. The Veal Porterhouse was meaty, tender and simply excellent. And the Lobster Mashed Potatoes and Garlic were another superb side. I have had the A to Z Pinot Noir before, an Oregonian pinot, and I enjoy it very much.

For dessert, I had a warm apple tart and my wife had a white and chocolate mousse cake. Both were very tasty, and are on their regular menu all the time. I was very curious to try the Banyuls Black Grenache, which was paired with our dessert, as it sounded very intriguing. Its aroma was reminiscent of a port but its taste was not. Which is a good thing for me as I do not care for the harshness of a port, which is probably due to the brandy. Banyul's is a sweet wine, and needs a dessert to accompany it. But, it was a very good wine, smooth and went well with both desserts.

Overall, this was an excellent experience, and a great value. For only $69, you got 4 courses, with 4 wines (each a full glass). They did not skimp on portions. I highly recommend this restaurant to all.

(Originally posted on 5/14/06)

For Mother's Day, Savory Tastes had a special Brunch. Their menu included a number of breakfast and lunch entrees and was quite diverse. My visit to this brunch began with a dilemma, which of the myriad choices should I select. Breakfast or lunch? So many interesting sounding choices. In the end, we chose a bit of both.

We began the meal with a couple of appetizers and some soup. My wife thoroughly enjoyed the Vegetable Tart Tatin (though it had far too many veggies for me). The tart was good-sized, the pastry shell was flaky and it tasted very good. I chose the Seared Long Island Duck Breast. The plate came with so many slices of duck that it could have been a meal rather than an appetizer. The duck had very little fat, was cooked perfectly and was very tender and savory. Highly recommended!!! A nd on the plate was the Cous Cous, which looked like tiny peas but tasted very exotic and were a nice accompaniment to the duck. We also shared a cup of the Saffron Mussel Soup. It was filled with many mussels and the broth was quite tasty and well-spiced. The mussels were very tender and also delicious. Another superb soup.

We had two breakfast entrees at our table. The first was a Frittata, containing Spinach, Leeks and Red Potatoes. It was accompanied with a bagel and bacon. A very healthy sized portion and also quite delicious. The second entree was french toast, using raisin bread, with cream cheese between the slices. Again, a superb and good-sized meal. It also came with an interesting vanilla syrup, not your usual maply syrup. The more lunch entree was the Corn and Bacon Chicken Pot Pie. This was a large dish, enough to satisfy anyone's hunger. And it was extremely flavorful and delicious. The veggies and gravy were at the bottom of the pie, topped by thin slices of chicken (almost like tiny cutlets). There was an ample portion of chicken, and the chicken was covered by a flaky shell of buttermilk biscuit. This relatively simple dish was quite impressive.

Overall, our dining experience was excellent, though exactly what I expect at Savory Tastes. This was their first time serving breakfast and I hope it is not their last. Everyone else who was dining near us seemed to be thoroughly enjoying their meals as well. Maybe he will have another special brunch for Father's Day as well. If he does, I encourage everyone to take advantage of it.

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