Sav's Grill

This time we went off the beaten path to sample foods found on the 2nd largest continent in the world, Africa. We hunted the pages to find the only restaurant in Lexington featuring authentic African cuisine.

On a bright sunny Saturday we found Sav's to be as busy as a sandcastle building class in the middle of the Sahara Desert. If that flew by you, let us put it plainly … it was empty. But who would blame the crowds for being elsewhere? With the A/C off, Sav propping the front doors open and the arid temperatures of the outside creeping in, I'll admit it was uncomfortable.

You'll not see anyone cooking your order after you place it. This is a “kettle cooking” restaurant which means all the food has been previously prepared and he'll just reach behind him and spoon your order out of a big kettle behind him on the counter. Whether you're eating something prepared today or yesterday is for you to decide. This doesn't mean his culinary education came from a “feed the children” campaign in deep Africa. In fact we're not saying this is entirely bad, many restaurants operate this way depending on the food they are serving. And we all know that some things taste better after a day in the fridge anyway. Unfortunately ours did not.

Every tester had the same comment. It's just one sentence. “It was bland.” And everyone was right. Al the dishes were bland. Which was confusing since Sav's grill had a 90% “liked” rating with over 420 votes at the time of our visit. That's a pretty strong rating. Our thinking here is the since the food is different from what you mostly find, that drives up the approval rating. Because unless Sav lost his salt shaker that day, we can attest that the flavorless food didn't give him that high rating. Because of this we will not go through the meal we ate but give it some time and go back to try it again. Though I will tell you the reviews are riddled with the same complaint.

Another observation to point out, there are no fountain drinks. Which means you'll be paying per bottle for your beverage of choice. And at $1.25 for an off-brand bottle of water made us realize Sav expects us to pay the Congo price for a simple bottle of water from Wal-Mart. People like to eat food from 3rd world countries without feeling they are actually there.

We'll give it some time and have another expedition out to Sav's but unless they throw a bouillon cube in one of those pots or develop a sense of the American expectation at a restaurant I'm afraid the outcome will be the same. Until then we'll say that Sav's Grill is no diamond at all, but has all the potential to bring both authentic and tasty food from Africa for Lexingtonians to try.


Sav's Grill
304 South Limestone
Lexington, KY 40508
Find more reviews and info here:
Sav's Grill on Urbanspoon


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  • 8/30/2013 6:10 PM Kevin P wrote:
    I have been to Sav's a couple of times since starting college and have been disappointed both times. My food was tasteless and bland, and wasn't very fresh tasting. Back home we had an awesome West African restaurant and I hoped that Sav's could almost as good, but it isn't.
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  • 9/5/2013 4:26 PM Justin Anderson wrote:
    We went last weekend, BEFORE we seen your review. Poor choice. Don't go. Overpriced for old food that's been heated and reheated over and again.
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  • 9/7/2013 11:04 AM Billy wrote:
    You may want to retread what you wrote. Your style of similes and metaphors make you come acrosssmas a racist fu[kwat. Additionally, you have no ability to write in a succinct and straightforward manner. Stop trying to be like stephenie meyer.
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    1. 9/7/2013 5:16 PM MY Happy Fork wrote:
      A racist aspiring writer of a vampire trilogy? Oh boy, I think you’ve missed the mark. One mustn’t need any sort of writing skills or education nor training to merely make an observation that any other person can do. For instance that if it’s hot outside, and with no A/C it was uncomfortable for us inside. Furthermore any mortal eye can see that Sav reached into a pot of pre-cooked food to scoop out our order. We also didn’t like paying per-serving of a drink, which you can tell might be the trend here in the U.S. since … oh let’s say the 80’s? Now I’d be willing to bet the farm on the fact that the chicken I was served wasn’t cooked fresh but was at the least the day before because that poor plucked little beast told the story with its dry flesh and barely lukewarm body, let alone the dry bones buried deep within the lifeless vessel (which is a tale-tale sign of a reheated chicken held for long periods of time). We’ve all picked up some dry chicken from KFC and can tell the difference. However my exceedingly trained and expert palate is here to do one thing; serve the readers of our blog who are interested in local non-chain restaurants. And for the $10.25 that my readers have to pay for some dry, old flavorless chicken they deserve better. So I will tell the world about it. Not just my experience, not just two of us, not just three of us … but a whole table of four who all thought the same thing.

      My Happy Fork
      We’ll still go back and try it again after they are given some time to let them make some changes.  But by no means is this a conspiracy, just scroll through the comments on and you'll see it riddled with others who have left similar comments.  We'd love to try some good West African food, so get to work and let us know when Sav's is ready for another visit!
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  • 9/7/2013 11:51 AM Rocky Lucas wrote:
    I had a similar experience when I visited last month. The food looked amazing in the pictures, but I was extremely disappointed in the taste. It literally tasted like nothing :/ So bland and flavorless. I've had great African food before.. I have no doubt if the cook/owner came from Africa and opened a restaurant that he has the skill to cool great food, but maybe on this day he was just too lazy to do so?
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