If you love a classic Southern Italian restaurant with a bit of modern flair and presentation—along with a romantic dimly lit interior—then Savelli will become your go-to place. Everything is ultra fresh and vegetables, meats and cheeses are created with products from local farms, sometimes on the same day. Savelli is truly a standout among the many unique storefront restaurants on Smith Street and the space is a renovated old tavern with tin ceilings and a backyard space that was given a retractable greenhouse style glass roof so it can be fully opened when the weather is warm. The brick walls give an old school vibe but there is a lovely large modern fountain on the wall of the back room along with large screen TVs. The night I visited, there was a video of a lit fireplace on the screen to add a little extra romance to the atmosphere.
They have a very strong cocktail and wine list and you will find drinks like the “berrylicious” one above called Berry Summer which is made with blueberry infused vodka, housemade acai syrup and fresh lime juice. To say that this drink is refreshing is an understatement and I was informed by the wait staff that this is one of the most popular drinks served at Savelli.
I love a spicy cocktail so my second drink was the bright green Spicy Tequila Margarita made with top shelf tequila, fresh lime juice, jalapeño and cucumber purée. The cayenne tinged salt on the glass gives this already super spicy drink a further kick. It tastes very “green” and fresh and I can definitely detect some cilantro in the mix even though it is not listed in the official ingredient list on the cocktail menu.
My guest Gail and I started our meal off by sharing the burrata (which is made locally from buffalo milk bought from a Connecticut farm) with super soft prosciutto and both cherry tomatoes and arugula drizzled with a balsamic reduction. This is possibly the freshest burrata and prosciutto that I have ever eaten and it is definitely a crowd pleaser.
Although Savelli is a new restaurant, it’s homemade pasta and pizza (baked in front of you in the most gorgeous copper oven exported from Italy) are already legendary in the neighborhood and beyond. It is so worth the trip on the 7 train to the Bergen Street stop and it’s nice that the resto is a three minute walk from the subway entrance. We decided to share a pasta dish and the mushroom ravioli seemed like something that we couldn’t go wrong with. The official name is Ravioli Al Porcini In Salsa Al Tartufo. Six large square raviolis are stuffed with mushrooms and ricotta, then served in a black truffle creamy sauce that is light and buttery tasting. This dish is enough to fill up one diner, but of course Gail and I split it and loved it so much that we wanted to try a second pasta dish.
So our second pasta choice was something out of the ordinary. While “elephant ear” pasta with sausage is a common Italian dish, this one is special as it is served with broccoli rabe pesto. The official name of this dish is Orecchiette Con Broccoli Rabe & Salsiccia and the sweet sausage paired with the slightly bitter taste of the broccoli rabe pesto is a knockout. Again, this is a very filling dish so it’s great for two or three people to share.
Gail and I both order short ribs anytime we see them on a menu and we have never met a short rib that we didn’t love. I strongly suggest Savelli’s version, which is pretty traditional and generous in portion size. It’s simply referred to as Beef Short Rib on the menu and is topped with a savory brown sauce with a touch of wine in it—and of course the ribs lay on a beautiful heap of homemade buttery mashed potatoes. This is real “stick to your ribs” food and the meat was so tender that it fell of the bone—we did not have to use knives.
Gail and I always have room for dessert and when we heard that one option was Napoleons, we had to each order one. For some reason this French pastry legend never pops up on dessert menus in NYC, so we had to go for it. It is a large portion in an amazing “deconstructed” presentation. It has both homemade custard and whipped cream and there is a lovely drizzle of dark chocolate sauce on top. As for the layers of pastry—well, they were lighter and more buttery tasting than traditional Napoleon pastry, but that’s a good thing! You could tell that they were just baked that day. This is a dessert that two can easily share. I took half of mine home for a midnight snack but didn’t quite make it until midnight, LOL!
Downstairs at Savelli is the world’s prettiest yet compact wine fridge and it is fun to look at what’s in there. They have the perfect private party room for about fifty guests and like the upstairs, has long exposed brick walls and beautiful imported stone tiles. People have used this room for engagement parties, birthdays and “man cave” style sports viewing.
Some guests prefer to be at the front of the restaurant where they can do some great people watching because of the floor to ceiling windows. there is a long bar in this room and it’s fun to get the bartender to create a special drink just for you or to change a drink on the menu to exactly how you like it. Savelli has a superfriendly staff that goes out of their way for you, and all the food and drinks come out promptly. Savelli’s official website is savellibrooklyn.com and reservations are suggested but not mandatory. They have wonderful prix fixe specials for holidays and created new, highly created dishes for their four course, $80 per person Valentine’s Day dinner. Children and large parties are welcome and you get a four per cent discount on your bill if you pay in cash. Would I go back to Savelli? You betcha. Every morsel I ate was amazing and I found that this resto lived up to its quote on the menu: “At Savelli, quality is our main priority.”