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The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in San Antonio announced Wednesday that its newest restaurant at the Pearl will open Jan. 22.
Savor, a seasonal modern-American concept, will open as the latest addition to the Pearl dining scene and the newest member of the CIA Restaurant Group. The restaurant will occupy the former Sandbar Fish House & Market restaurant space, one of the Pearl’s first eateries, which closed in September 2016.
At the time, a Pearl spokeswoman said in a statement that both the Pearl and restaurateur Andrew Weissman had arrived at the joint decision to close the establishment to make way for other “exciting new possibilities for the space.”
The CIA’s current restaurant, Nao, which opened at the Pearl in 2012, for some time has been reported to be closing, with more recent reports stating a French bistro-style restaurant under different management would open in its place. Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation records appear to show that the restaurant will be named Victoire and receive an estimated $1.6 million in renovations starting in January.
Sergio Remolina, former CIA instructor and operator of Fletcher’s Hamburgers at the Pearl’s Bottling Department Food Hall, will head the new concept in Nao’s current spot. Remolina would not confirm details or comment further on the new space but said more details would be released in January.
At Savor, students pursuing their associate degrees at the CIA will do the cooking, led by the school’s chefs and hospitality instructors. The menu will offer diners the option to build a custom three- or four-course meal based on the CIA’s curriculum, which teaches cuisines and techniques from around the world.
Menu items include honey-chili roasted chicken with fat rice and Asian lime; grilled Gulf shrimp with polenta, olives, and tomato; and Berkshire pork schnitzel with a sunny egg, chamomile apple, and red sauerkraut.
“We are opening a new restaurant in order to improve the education of our students and meet the evolved tastes of the San Antonio dining community,” stated Waldy Malouf, senior director of food and beverage operations for the CIA.
The menu is designed to teach both students and patrons about various cuisines, with CIA faculty Chef Uyen Pham and service instructor Samantha Fletcher overseeing Savor. “We are curating a menu with seasonal ingredients and global cooking techniques we admire,” Pham stated. “The menu at SAVOR will encourage our guests to try unfamiliar flavors.”
Before students join Savor, they will have studied the cuisines and cultures of the Americas, Asia, the Mediterranean, and Europe. Upon graduating from their Savor “class,” students may pursue their bachelor’s degrees in management, culinary science, or applied food studies at the college’s campus in Hyde Park, New York.
Savor’s bar and lounge will offer a menu of small plates of caviar, potato, and soft egg with leeks and pumpkin seeds; roasted cauliflower and Brussels sprouts with Toum garlic dip and chicken cracklings; and crisp-fried wings with miso-chili paste, pickled cucumber, and toasted sesame.
Beverage features include classic cocktails like Negronis, Manhattans, and dirty martinis, along with wine and local craft beer.
“We are thrilled to have Savor join the Pearl community,” stated Shelley Grieshaber, culinary director for he Pearl and previously director of education for the CIA in San Antonio. “As a graduate of the CIA, I understand the hard work these students put in to make this a special experience for the guests, and I am excited the restaurant will bring flavors from all across the globe to our city.”
The 2,500-square-foot space in the Full Goods building at the Pearl provides enough room for a 62-seat layout in a design that highlights an open kitchen. Clayton & Little is the lead architect on the project.
The restaurant will be open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.