Imagine an unnamed restaurant decides to open in what many would consider a doomed location, one having been inhabited by two previously failed dining endeavors. The first was an ill-conceived, expensive, and incompetently run cajun establishment, and the second a wildly scatter-brained restaurant without discernible identity featuring remarkably mediocre food, poor service, and an unrivaled spending habit. Imagine the brave new restaurant's management took queues from the two previous failed ones and decided correctly to focus on upping the ante on food and service as ways to break the location's dreaded cycle. Then imagine the restaurant performing due diligence prior to opening that would make any competent restauranteur proud, creating a Facebook page and responding promptly to prospective patron emails. The unnamed restaurant then hands out invitations for a practice run-through dinner, on the house of course. Needless to say, the owners have done everything to drive customer opinion to nearly frenzied positive levels.
Having been invited personally to the practice dinner, I showed up to the restaurant as per management's request one afternoon to pick up invitations. To keep a long story short, the experience did not go well, as I struggled to find someone to talk to. After having found two people in the kitchen arguing and cursing, only glancing up at me long enough to dismiss me and continue their argument, I retreated to the dining room for a few minutes hoping someone would emerge to help, but they did not, and so unfortunately my first impression of the new restaurant and its management plummeted like the stock market the day after the housing bubble popped. I decided to leave the establishment empty-handed, confused, and a little annoyed.
The point of this story is this: Treat everyone that comes in respectfully, even before the big open. You never know who might walk in, what they might hear, and most importantly, what impression they might take away from the interaction.
Against his better judgement, the mildly jaded individual, having driven past the restaurant several times since its opening, and having read and heard several glowing opinions of both the restaurant's service, food, and overall experience, decides to cast his first impression aside and try the place out himself.
The opinions of Savannah Grill, just west of the quaintly unique development of Savannah off the 380 corridor north of Lake Lewisville, have ranged from delicious food, huge servings, and stellar service continued to swirl about my head upon entrance to the somewhat off-putting green and white steel barn-like building. The first thing I noticed was how gloomy the interior remained. All walls are dark, most black, highlighted here and there by completely out-of-place metal walls. Now, I don't want to focus too much on the appearance of the interior only because the restaurant is quite young. While I usually judge a restaurant's appearance with just as much gravity as the food and service, I cannot fault Savannah Grill just yet, if and only if management is choosing to work on food and service first, and will, once revenue increases and return business has been established, flesh out the restaurant's look and identity. However, one thing Savannah Grill could and should do is brighten the place up, even if it must be accomplished with higher wattage bulbs or even adding fixtures. Ambient light is a major problem of the building, and while Savannah Grill didn't build the establishment, they must be responsible for moving it away from it's dungeon-like, industrial ambiance.
What needs no further brightening, however, is the service. Savannah Grill has taken great care in the high quality of both the hostess and wait staff. Everyone was quite cordial, upbeat, and helpful. I found our waiter incredibly likable, knowledgeable and attentive. Service is almost as important as the food, and Savannah Grill should be well-commended on this aspect.
I wish my review of the food could rival that of the service. Perhaps expectations were unreasonably high, as the management on their Facebook page made a distinct point that separate fryers were used to combat flavor contamination, that connotatively elevated entree items like pecan encrusted trout were indicative of the menu, and at least from other patrons, that portion sizes were almost cartoonishly grand. This reviewer takes issue with each of these assertions.
The menu seemed an unfocussed mix of fried home cooking to bar food to bistro fare ranging from the afore mentioned pecan encrusted trout to chicken fried chicken to involved pastas and burgers. More menu items leaned toward the deep-fried variety, and all prices seemed a tad high for not only the area, but the dishes themselves.
We started with the lauded mozzarella sticks. The presentation seemed a little above its station in terms of both arrangement and the dinnerware on which it was served. What immediately stuck out was the freshness of the mozzarella that tasted as if made from scratch, as advertised, certainly a welcome revelation. The marinara that accompanied the app was delicious and also fresh, but again its quality insulted by the meager plastic cup it was served in.
Next, the waiter touting enormous portions, served me the chicken fried chicken with mashed potatoes and corn medley, while my wife had the blackened hamburger with sweet potato fries. I found the portion sizes greatly inflated in terms of the chicken, but the burger seemed adequately large. Both tasted good, but the breading of the chicken tasted strangely of a sweetness found in the mozzarella stick batter. Therefore I must question the use of separate fryers. Of course this cannot be proven, and could very well simply be the chef's style. The mashed potatoes were exquisitely buttery with again a hint of sweetness, the gravy delicious if a tad less hearty than I expected, and the corn medley freshly flavorful with a refreshingly clean spiciness throughout.
My wife found her blackened hamburger somewhat dry, an assertion I also hold, and certainly not a standout from other passable burger joints. The potato fries were tasty, and what one may expect. The standout here was the excitingly delicious spicy cajun buffalo sauce, once again served in a plastic cup, thus presenting itself as an after-thought.
My overall take on Savannah Grill is a home-cooking joint off the side of a highway that, while better than most establishments in the area, feels its a little more than it actually is, and I feel the pricing reflects this. The bill wasn't remarkably high, but it was probably a few dollars more than it should be considering the cuisine. As I've not returned I cannot comment upon consistency, but if maintained should set it above most other restaurants on the corridor. I applaud Savannah Grill for working hard to get service right and the food solid before adding breakfast and lunch service, but would offer my sincere concern in the dank, gloomy interior and possibly as of yet unjustified prices. I wish Savannah Grill well, as a consistently good restaurant is in dire need for the area, but cannot completely echo some of the overly-enthusiastic opinions reflected in parts of the community both off and online. A cautious recommendation.