Savannah Chop House has the classic Rat Pack vibe that has been enjoying a renaissance in the past few years; picture yourself lost in the embrace of a red leather booth, ice cold martini in hand. Whether attributed to disenchantment with the times, a desire to return to what we view as simpler days, baby boomer nostalgia, the popularity of Mad Men, or simply the need for a good stiff drink and a perfectly-cooked prime cut of meat – you can find this, and more, at Savannah Chop House.
I first visited Savannah Chop House for the Lobster Challenge – it goes until February 28th, if you want to try this amazing Maine lobster dish:
Since then, I’ve been back to talk to Executive Chef Mark Anthony Pariano about what he’s done to freshen things up at Savannah Chop House since coming on board in June of 2011. He is committed to a changing seasonal menu, buying locally as much as possible and sourcing from quality purveyors such as Melissa’s Produce. Nearly every dish has a fresh component that lends immense flavor and a contemporary twist as well as a nutritional bonus: the All-Natural Prime Pork Chop is served with Brule apples, Slow Braised Short Ribs are complemented by sautéed green beans and carrots, and Napa cabbage slaw with pineapple, peaches, and papaya pairs well with Macadamia Hoisin Crusted Halibut.
Chef Pariano and I both have a close family connection to heart disease and, now that the spotlight is on sodium as a significant culprit in the American diet, hope to see restaurants rely less on salt as a flavor enhancer and more on the quality of ingredients and attention to preparation. Glancing at Savannah Chop House’s dinner menu, Chef Pariano’s signature is evident – highlighting the star; whether meat, seafood, or pasta, with flavors of herbs, citrus, aromatics and techniques such as gastriques, wine reductions, and light sauces. I’ve included photos (leading off with their Southern Chopped Salad) of a few of Savannah’s heart healthy menu items for you to taste with your eyes. If you’ve never dined at Savannah Chop House, Orange County Restaurant Week is the time to do it – check out their fabulous prix fixe menu for $40 per person.
Edited July 2016: Savannah Chop House closed unexpectedly in June 2016.
32441 Golden Lantern
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677