Button-Down Bliss; The newly renovated Bar Savona in Gulph Mills

By Dawn E. Warden
As Tierra, 100 Old Gulph Road was a playground for the culinary elite—a special-occasion restaurant too expensive for many Main Liners. But when the name switched to Savona, things loosened up—a little. For some, though, the crisp, white tablecloths, formal service, European-trained staff and Wine Spectator-caliber cellar were still a bit daunting.

Now this formerly posh gastronomic wonder has tossed off its tie, donned a leather jacket and, well, put on a party hat. The newly renovated Bar Savona, with its plush outdoor dining space and edgy soundtrack, offers up an official—but still low-key—“scene,” and a whole lot of good food, wine and spirits. Most of the bar entrées are under $20, with the priciest being a 28-day-aged prime sirloin steak for $26. The delicate pastas balance made-by-Grandma rusticity with chef Andrew Masciangelo’s contemporary and, at times, masculine panache. (Orecchiette with homemade fennel sausage and broccoli rabe, guys?)

A simple plate of spinach and ricotta ravioli Napoletana paired well with a piatti caldi of steamed littleneck clams. Both were an excellent follow-up to a hearty vessel of creamy polenta topped with chewy, earthy mushrooms. Unofficial house specialties include savory fried artichoke hearts; pappardelle Bolognese; wild salmon with escarole, white beans and pancetta; and the brawny, ultra-juicy Duroc pork.

If all that’s too rich for your blood, you’ve still got pizza. Light, thin, cracker-crisp and large enough to share, it’s straightforward yet notably aromatic and flavorful.

100 Old Gulph Road, Gulph Mills; (610) 520-1200, savonarestaurant.com.

For the full article including pictures visit: http://www.mainlinetoday.com/Main-Line-Today/September-2009/Button-Down-Bliss/