I must admit I hadn’t been to Savoie since its opening a year ago. For one reason or another we hadn’t made it – my mistake. Savoie is part of Karina’s Group, a family-operated restaurant business that now operates 7 of the popular Karina’s Mexican Seafood restaurants. Savoie is nestled in the Otay Ranch Town Center Mall. Influenced by Mediterranean cuisine, it features dishes from France, Italy and Spain, – sourcing locally and regionally when possible.
On the Radar
About 2 months ago, Savoie was back on my radar and for good reason! Chef Mikel Anthony had just signed on as Executive Chef. Should you not know who Chef Mikel is, get with it! A quick glance at his Chef’s Roll page and you will see that his previous culinary training includes well-known restaurants like Comun Taqueria, Juniper and Ivy. Chef Mikel placed in the top 5 at the World food Championships for “Best Mac and Cheese in the World.” He’s also known for numerous pop-ups, competitions & private events. Chef Mikel said he’s been given a “green light” to use his culinary skills and impart his own twist on Savoie’s dishes. I was delighted to be asked to attend a “Meet the Chef Dinner”, a 9-course dinner, previewing a selection of his dishes. Adding to the mix, Mike “The Wine Guy” Blatt, from Quigley Fine Wines, was on hand pairing the dishes with delicious varietals from France and Spain!
A stunning venue, Savoie has 2 large patios to enjoy beautiful San Diego weather while enjoying dinner. The interior has somewhat of an elegant European/French feel to it, the epitome of being chic. Walls lined with distressed wood, a fish bowl Chefs Table, and a 150 year old door add to the striking decor. Overheard were not a few comments regarding the relative closeness considering it’s in the Otay Ranch Town Center Mall, which may sound far but in fact adds just 10 minutes to your average drive in San Diego.
We are greeted by Mike “The Wine Guy”, Head Wine Consultant of Quigley Fine Wines, who pairs up with chefs for events like these. Based in Oceanside, Quigley Fine Wines are importers of sustainable, small production, artisanal wines. His energy, pizzazz, and one-of-a-kind descriptions of wines, grapes, and their regions are contagious. He’s the kind of sommelier that attracts your attention instead of turning you off. He pours, he speaks, we drink, we listen. Perfect Kickoff!
David Contreras Curiel and Chef Mikel welcome us to the eat + meet!
The 2nd outdoor patio is fantastic! Distressed wood tables, chandeliers, and candles make it feel like a perfect backyard setting!
As dishes roll out, so does Mikel, briefly talking to us about his inspiration. From pulpo and its popularity, to how his grandmother inspired him to make the meatball dish that we enjoyed.Not only is Chef Mikel a culinary ninja, but he’s lyrically talented as well… Check him out…
Patatas Bravas – sauteed potatoes / spicy tomato sauce / ancho aioli
Blistered Shishito Peppers – butter milk thyme dressing
Pulpo Two Ways
Carpaccio / tentacle gremolata / calabrian chile oil / torn arugula / ancho aioli
braised & grilled octopus / morita chile pesto / cacahuate
Gamberi Picante – sauteed shrimp / chile flake / piquillo romesco / parmesean / feta
Malliard Scallop – clams / chorizo essence / mushrooms / sundried tomato / cannellini beans / arugula
Meatball – house marinara / parmesean / basil
Pork Chop – carrot puree / sauteed mushrooms / pickled mustard seed
Filet Mignon – creamy parsnip / roasted cauliflower / red wine beurre compose
Gelato e Cannoli ala terremotto – chocolate hazelnut gelato / whipped cream / cannoli shell / shaved abuelita
Savoie’s owner David discussed how in addition to pairing up with chef Mikel, he also applied his creativity to designing the interior. Turns out the timing was right for both the restaurant and chef to pair up and create a synergy of creativity innovation, and drive.
All In all, a Recipe for a perfect night! Make it in for lunch/dinner, one of their wine-tasting events, or their Summer Nights every Friday or Saturday (they also have bottle service) but in any case, MAKE IT IN!
Photog Rob in the house!
DISCLAIMER: My party and I were invited as Chef Mikel’s guests to dine at Savoie. The chef generously picked up the tab for us on this occasion. My opinions are my own, and no compensation was received from the restaurant or its affiliates for writing this article.