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Savannah's continues to impress with food, wine

Dec. 27, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- In 1996 Ava Bicknell established Savannah's Restaurant & Bistro as a go-to place for wine and fine dining.

The Victorian-era house that is the home of Savannah's has a good deal of history behind it. It was originally built as a single family residence in 1903 and has served a number of roles over the years including a boarding house and an office space. Today, Savannah's is a full service gourmet restaurant with built-in bistro and a banquette area called "The Magnolia Room" ideal for private parties and wedding receptions. The restaurant also features smaller private rooms on the second floor.

"Opening a restaurant was on my bucket list when I turned 50," Bicknell. "I found this building for sale and it was really the perfect spot. It took us about six months before we originally opened."

Bicknell says the restaurant is dedicated to using the freshest ingredients -- so fresh that it even has it's own garden.

"We have a garden in front of the restaurant where in the summer we grow eight different herbs," Bicknell said. "We have huge rosemary plants which we use to flavor our butter. We also have a bay tree which we keep inside during the winter months. In the summer we also grow peppers, tomatoes and eggplants. We can't supply the whole restaurant but we use as much as we can."

The menu includes a variety of classic dishes including Filet Mignon ($46) served with a classic Beamaise sauce, a petite potato medley and almond haricots verts. Steak lovers can also enjoy a New York Strip ($38) featuring a "devil's" steak sauce, pommes au gratin and sautéed garlic broccoli. Seafood aficionados may want to try Tasmania Salmon ($35) grilled with a lemon caper sauce served with coconut scented jasmine rice and almandine haricots verts. Those looking for a vegetarian entrée may be interested in the Pumpkin Gnocchi ($20) featuring butternut squash, spiced pine nuts, spinach, tomatoes and feta cheese.

"We have our seafood shipped overnight express from Hawaii," Bicknell said. "It is as fresh as you can get any place."

Savannah's Bistro features a full service bar with a wide variety of domestic and imported beers as well as a vast selection of wines. It also features a "Small Bites Menu" featuring a variety of appetizers and snacks along with a variety of gourmet burgers made from certified Angus beef ground filet mignon. Customers can also try "wine flights" featuring small glasses of one to three different red or white wines. The wines change frequently.

"We have over 30 wines by the glass," Bicknell said. "The price varies a bit by the type of wine. The Bistro is a really nice place to come in if you just want to try a little bit of wine. We've received an award from Wine Spectator every year since we have first opened. We have over 300 different wines by the bottle. Everyone has different tastes, and I recommend that newcomers to wine try a little of everything. There are a million red wines alone out there, and there's one you will like if you try enough. Food makes wine taste different, some red wines aren't good without food. Price doesn't make a wine. We have some very good inexpensive wines."

Savannah's is located at 1208 6th Ave., in Huntington. It is open from Tuesday through Saturday. It opens for cocktails at 5 p.m., and the kitchen opens at 5:30 p.m. Tables can be reserved through 9 p.m. All guests are encouraged to call ahead, at least on the day of the event. Group reservations can be made far in advance. Cash, check and all major credit cards are accepted.

For reservations and more information, call 304-529-0919. For a full menu and wine list, visit www.savannahsmenu.com/ .