Saveur caters to both busy people and to those on a more relaxed schedule. Its deli-style service, reminiscent of a French traiteur, means you can order a sandwich or hot freshly prepared dish from the chef behind the counter or select from the salad, soup, and hot daily special bar, pay the cashier, and voilà! Whether you choose a table or you blast straight back to the office, you’ll be on your way tout de suite. The pleasant, relaxed atmosphere is also perfect for a leisurely tête-à-tête with a pal, a lover, or that legislator you’ve been trying to corner. And mon Dieu, Saveur even has its own parking.
The welcome is warm, from the smiling owner who greets you at the door, to the charming chef who is happy to tell you about the food, to the jovial cashier. Everyone is efficient and willing to take the extra step to make you happy. There is so much to choose from that it’s tempting to head straight for the daily trio of hot homemade soups just to keep things simple— plus, they’re a good deal. One day’s selections included vegetarian cream of mushroom, vegetarian curried carrot with coconut milk, and green chile beef stew with chunks of lean beef. The cream of mushroom was rich, hearty, earthy, and deeply satisfying, no doubt because it was made with butter, wine, and fresh mushrooms. It created a little oasis of indulgence in the middle of an otherwise harried day. A moment spent regrouping and checking my messages while sipping a large cappuccino (more like an Americano with steamed milk in a large cup), and I was still out in less than 30 minutes.
The salad bar should be called something else just to eliminate any confusion with those all-you-can-eat nightmares. Instead, you’ll find slabs of fresh salmon or salmon croquettes with tartar sauce, fresh avocado halves stuffed with shrimp salad, a Caprese salad, a pasta salad, a Caesar salad, a selection of fresh tendercrisp cooked vegetables, and other varied choices depending on the day. Everything looks and tastes freshly prepared.
There are hot sandwich specials that supplement the everyday build-your-own sandwich choices. The chef’s specials regularly include two savory crepes, house-conserved duck confit, and French onion soup, to which might be added a bistro special like a freshly grilled steak or chicken Florentine. The spinach, mushroom, and Swiss cheese crepe with white-wine sauce dish consists of two rolled crepes stuffed with fresh, perfectly sautéed and toothsome spinach, mushrooms, and cheese. The filling made me swoon, but the crepes were not quite browned enough, leaving a slightly doughy taste. The white-wine cream sauce also lacked a little something, but the side dish was a mix of bright green spring pea pods, asparagus, and surprisingly tasty Brussels sprouts. Everything can be packaged for takeout, so I took home the duck confit for an easy dinner treat. What a great idea— so tender and flavorful I forgot all about the sharp balsamic-reduction jus despite its addictive qualities. I appreciated the good value of a glass of crisply mineral Louis Latour Mâcon-Villages Chardonnay at $7 in a town where a much less enjoyable glass of wine is often $10 or more. The Aroma coffee was disappointingly bitter, however.
All the desserts I tasted were delicious. The chef glazes the top of the excellent crème brûlée after you order it so that it has that perfect glassy crunch contrasting with the sweet, creamy custard underneath. It would be a star in any (more expensive) establishment in this town. The espresso-laced dark chocolate pot de crème is another standout worth stopping by for. Take it home and surprise someone you love. The cashier offered to warm a large slice of Dutch apple pie and gild it with whipped cream. The crunchy topping, the warmth of cinnamon, the nice bite to the apples, and a good, slightly sweet filling made me regret not being able to finish the generous slice. The key lime pie is the classic creamy and tart confection. Whether you are long or short on time, you can savor life at Saveur. Chic alors! ◀