What are you making for dinner tonight? How about reservations to Sip & Savor, a charming neighborhood restaurant inside a quaint two-story Victorian home off Coit Road, south of Spring Creek Parkway in Plano? Reminiscent of days gone by, Sip & Savor’s gracious hospitality invites you to sit and stay awhile.
“I’m glad you’re here,” says restaurant owner John Weeks, who greets us on the front porch. (By the way, the front porch is a great place to wine and dine before the heat of the summer.)
Before we begin, John gives a brief history lesson of the house, which was built in 1893. The landlord (Richard Wells) lives next door. John and his wife Teresa opened Sip & Savor in July 2011. Formerly a bakery called Patti’s Place, the original concept for the 20-table restaurant was to focus on wine. A sign outside reads, “Wine a bit, you’ll feel better.” But people kept coming back for the food. “We wanted this place to be about the wine because that’s what drew us into the business, but I could never get my wine program to beat my food program,” says John. “So I gave in, hired a couple of classically trained chefs, and off we go.”
We’re escorted to the elegant wine room where red roses accent the tables, Frank Sinatra serenades us through the speakers, and walls of wine beckon to be sampled.
A menu that changes seasonally offers fresh salads, seafood, chicken and steak. Mike, our server, gives us an overview of the “Sharables.” “The Spinach & Artichoke Dip ($9) is heaven in a bowl, but the most popular appetizers are the Fugazza ($10–$12), a homemade Argentinian flatbread, and the Cheese Plate ($16), which is big and beautiful.”
Did he say Cheese Plate? Yes, please! Tonight’s offerings are aged white cheddar; Cotswold, an English cheddar-chive; and goat cheese. The plate is beautifully presented with three spoons of spreads: walnut pesto, homemade blackberry preserve, and honey; toasted bread; pickled vegetables; and candied pecans. “Charcuterie,” such as chorizo and prosciutto, is optional.
“Yum!” enthuses Rebecca. “Get excited about the aged white cheddar, and you can’t go wrong with homemade preserves.”
“The preserves are good,” Barbara replies, “but I like pairing the walnut pesto with the goat cheese.”
Mike brings out another Sharable called the Shrimp & Avocado Stack ($16). Perfectly ripe diced avocado accompanies a bed of cucumber and radish, topped with Gulf white shrimp and micro-greens, drizzled with a lime-mango cocktail sauce.
Simultaneously, Rebecca and Barbara say, “Everything tastes so fresh.”
Brit adds, “I like the crunchiness of the cucumber and radish against the creaminess of the avocado.”
“I’m such a sauce person,” says Barbara. “The mango-lime has a little tang and acid, which balances nicely with the fresh veggie blend, but I really like the sauce on the shrimp.”
We give kudos to owner John who shares that he not only buys his vegetables and microgreens locally, but that he invests in the highest quality of food. “The bottom line is you can taste the difference. All of our seafood, we buy direct from fishermen all over the country. The shrimp that you had was gulf shrimp off the Florida coast. The scallops come out of New Bedford, Mass.; they’re overnighted to us in big burlap bags and are just as fresh as you can buy them.”
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The Scallops ($36) come with pearl couscous, butternut squash, and dried cranberries. Our server Mike says that of all the entrees, they are most proud of their scallops. “They don’t come in a can and are never frozen; they are shipped in dry-ice. There are 10 per pound, and our chef puts an amazing sear on them.”
Barbara is impressed by the size. “They are plump, and the couscous,” she adds, “has a sweetness which balances out the tartness from the cranberry.”
“The scallops are perfectly cooked,” says Rebecca.
The Carnaroli Risotto Du Jour ($12) is mushroom parmesan. For an additional cost, you can add scallops, shrimp, chicken or salmon. Rebecca is instantly taken by its savory smell. She takes one bite and decides, “This is to die for. It’s so creamy. ”
“It has a peppery kick,” declares Brit. “I like how the mushrooms are thinly sliced.”
“All of our sides are big enough to share,” said Mike. “The most popular is the Candied Bacon and Shallot Brussels Sprouts ($7). They’re not your mama’s brussel sprouts. We top them off with house bacon marmalade, the same thing we top off our Shrimp & Grits ($19) with.
“The Shrimp & Grits come with three Gulf white shrimp and green chile cheddar polenta, which is a fancy European grit.”
Our English Rose, Rebecca, is amused. “A fancy European grit, ha!” One bite, and she’s satisfied. “The bacon marmalade adds a smoky flavor. It’s delicious.”
Barbara agrees. “Y’all know Shrimp & Grits are my favorite. These do not disappoint.”
Finally, what Brit has been waiting for, dessert! The evening’s special is Blackberry Tart ($7). “This is not what I expected,” she says. “The blackberry is puréed and the crust is so light. You don’t have to feel guilty ordering this treat. How’s the bread pudding?”
“It’s fabulous,” says Rebecca. “It’s dense and decadent.”
The Bread Pudding ($7) is served warm and topped with a sweet butterscotch sauce, perhaps one of the most underrated dessert sauces there is.
“Butterscotch isn’t common. A lot of times, restaurants will do a caramel, rum or whiskey sauce. Every place has their own version, but I’m enjoying this one,” says Barbara.
“This dessert reminds me of a cinnamon roll,” say Brit, “and I mean that as a compliment, obviously, as I’m licking my lips for more!”
“Every dish here is very well executed,” Barbara concludes.
Cheers to that! We savored every bite.
John Weeks, owner at Sip & Savor
“I know, I know, I don’t look like I’m 66 years old, but I am,” Sip & Savor owner John Weeks jokes. “I was born in southern California, so I was going to Napa and Sonoma when it wasn’t even on the map,” he shares. “All through the ’70s, there were just a handful of wineries there; all the wine grapes were grown in Stockton, Modesto, Salinas, in the central valley. So I’ve really enjoyed wine my whole life. But my career path took me into the corporate world for 35 years. After I retired, I figured it was too late to move to Napa and start a winery, and Teresa and I had always had a goal to work in the wine business, so this was the perfect opportunity. Before she retired, I went to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Napa and spent two years there. It was so awesome! I got my certification as a wine professional at the CIA and we eventually found this place. We worked with the City to get the approval to sell wine out of a house (that’s another story; they literally re-wrote the City ordinance to allow us to do this) and we opened in July of 2011.”
Sip & Savor
3921 Coit Road, Plano TX 75093
Tuesdays–Saturdays: 5–10 p.m. (Reservations until 8:30 p.m.)
(Closed Sunday and Monday)
Food and wine specials are available Tuesday through Thursday.