Sava’s Restaurant

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Photo Credit: Sava's Restaurant

3.5/5 Stars

Trying to find the door to a restaurant and walking into a research lab is something I have never done before, except at Sava’s. Once inside the first thing you notice is a cramped waiting area with a few benches with more room for the maitre de than for customers waiting on a cold Sunday morning, most on their feet, for more than 30 minutes if you don’t make a reservation at least a week in advance. If you were informed enough to make a reservation, you are seated in the middle of what seems like a busy road where customers and wait staff alike are bustling up and down the narrow restaurant to reach the extremely popular Sunday breakfast buffet. The noise when the restaurant is full is ear splittingly loud. This makes conversation difficult even with the people sitting right next to you.

The buffet, which costs more than a fully prepared entrée at most of the other restaurants within walking distance, is actually what it was talked up to be. There are a full table of hot prepared foods such as quinces, pies, potato dishes, corned beef hash, corned beef (other guests commented that it was a little too salty) and a plethora of egg-based dishes. Each of the dishes on the buffet is hot when it’s supposed to be hot; cold when it’s supposed to be cold and all the house made pastries—excluding the bread and bagels— are flaky and delicious and the fillings are the perfect combination of “ooie” and “gooie.”

After that brunch, I was anxious to return. I went for lunch the other day with whom else but my mom. The restaurant, which had been bustling and full on the weekend when we were last there, was near empty and therefore quite quiet except for staff members who were lurking around and talking with one another. The décor of the restaurant is 50 shades gray with wood accents.

The building has an unfinished ceiling, wood floors and a second floor indoor balcony area that lends only its noise to the first floor. The restaurant was a winter wonderland and decorated with oversized Christmas ornaments covered in glitter and an immense Christmas tree also covered in glitter and fake snow. I found my fellow diner we sat down at a high backed booth with padded seats and a wooden frame and table. The server came over promptly and took our drink orders: a coke for me, and a sparkling water for my guest. Usually it’s a bad sign when you server starts your meal by bringing you tonic water (used in the making of mixed drinks) and not the sparkling a.k.a. soda water that you asked for, but the server apologized quickly, when found, and brought the correct drink.

We next ordered an appetizer at the same time as our food and fell into a deep discussion about punnett squares, followed by genetics, then inherited traits which was pleasantly interrupted when our appetizer came (spinach and artichoke dip). We tried to dig right in but found when an entire castle like stack of pita chips is in the way, it can make it slightly difficult to reach your dish. When we did make it in we found that maybe the pita chips, which themselves where very good and well paired with the dish, were placed in the castle like formation to stop you from drowning in the copious amounts of oil in the roux or from choking on one of the huge chunks of canned artichokes that over populated the dish. Once we were able to remove some of the immense pita chips, we found a small amount of the roux that did not contain an overpowering amount of oil or too many huge artichokes chunks and were able to taste the flavors themselves they were actually quite good.

Our main course came as soon after we were finished with the S&A dip, for our main course I had chosen a steak sandwich with fries and she had selected a burger with sweet potato fries. The fries, which come a la carté from the sandwiches which range in price from $6 to $11, $3 for regular fries and $4 for sweet potato, are very good and where hot by the time they had reached us. The sandwiches themselves were good but the steak in my flank steak sandwich was completely unflavored and the meat in my mother’s burger was also devoid of any spices. In my sandwich the horseradish sauce which seemed to be nothing more than grated horseradish and a minute amount of mayonnaise and when combined with the arugula and balsamic braised onions would make it so any vampire would stay away for a long, long time and made me feel like I needed to brush my teeth.

My mother’s burger on the other hand, had very fresh vegetables and a sauce made with mayonnaise and hot sauce that our server told us was the same sauce served with the sweet potato fries. We concluded our meal with dessert even though a dessert menu was as hard to find as the door to the restaurant (we had to locate our server and request one). I decided to try the peanut butter cheesecake it was not a bad decision it was silky smooth and was extremely chocolatey. Wait what I thought you said peanut butter cheesecake what this about chocolate. Well I’ll explain, it is called peanut butter cheesecake but it should be called chocolate. I’m not complaining but you could not taste the peanut butter anywhere; it was chocolate on a chocolate crust that was a little soggy. But those are my only complains in the dessert department.

The meal for the most part acceptable, but not worth, in my humble opinion, the $50 some dollars we paid for it. Sava’s is a great restaurant for Ann Arbor, but I wouldn’t be expecting to see one opening in Chicago or New York any time soon, but if you can ever find your way to Sava’s I’d say to put it on your calendar for brunch with friends – just do it the Sunday after payday.