Savory Grille

By Cathy Kiley

Of the many pleasures I’ve had over the years writing restaurant reviews, my favorite may be the opportunity of getting to know area chefs on a more personal level. One of the most visible chefs in the Lehigh Valley is Shawn Doyle of Savory Grille. He is  active not only on the Valley’s dining scene, but also in the giving of his valuable time and skills by teaching future chefs in area schools and educational programs as well as supporting numerous charity tasting and competitive cook-off events. However, I think the best thing about  Doyle is his friendly, enthusiastic manner and infectious smile which greets every diner passing through the doors of his popular eatery.

The Savory Grille is located in the old Seisholtzville Hotel on the outskirts of Macungie. It is a bit of a drive from the center of the Lehigh Valley but  certainly worth the trip!  I have never been to Savory Grille when it isn’t bustling—even during the week. It is a popular dining destination for not only intimate dinners, but business meetings and friendly get-togethers as well.

My husband Tom and I visited Savory Grille on a recent Saturday evening. Every table was filled early and reset again as we dined. We waited for our table at the lovely oak bar (original to the hotel) that lines one side of the dining room. We chatted  with Ryan who was serving up the night’s specialty cocktail, Coconut Orange Sunshines, to appreciative sippers. Ryan, who previously worked at Jac & Co., and Café Aaron in Easton, has been at Savory Grille for a year and a half.  I’ve noticed many times how bartenders at Savory Grille wear many hats. Not only do they work the bar, but they move effortlessly around the dining room—sitting diners, servicing tables, serving wine and helping in any way to make the dining experience a pleasant one.

The historic building dates back to the 1800s and housed a roadside tavern until 1997 when chef/owners Shawn and Dorothy Doyle opened Savory Grille. The quaint, well-appointed dining room seats around 40 people with additional seating on the enclosed patio that affords pleasant al fresco dining in season. Tom and I shared a cozy table for two near a window.  Dorothy Doyle presented our menus and a complimentary starter of  tasty smoked salmon on a bed of sweet pureed parsnips. We sampled fresh out-of-the oven cranberry and French breads with creamy butter as we studied the evening’s offerings.

Savory Grille boasts an extremely interesting menu of uniquely prepared dishes. There were seven appetizers on the menu including butternut squash and apple bisque with an asparagus, white bean salad; gulf shrimp served with warm soba (buckwheat noodle) salad, plantains and donku mushrooms; fried oyster “Po Boy” sandwich with saffron tartar and pickled cabbage; maple smoked pork belly with Brussels sprouts and quail egg; and savory lobster bread pudding with nasturtium (watercress) beurre blanc. I ordered the Prince Edward Island mussels with chorizo, tomatillo and cilantro. These  fresh mussels were perfectly steamed and  the chorizo added a spicy zip to the tomatillo sauce that tasted great on that crisp French bread! However, the final appetizer, foie gras, was the winner;  what’s not to love? Tom thinks it is the most heavenly thing on earth and his appetizer choice of lightly sautéed foie gras served with brioche, Concord grape gastrique and pecan marmalade was a delight. They didn’t have a sauterne to accompany the foie gras but Ryan recommended a sweet Willamette Valley Riesling to pair with the dish and it worked quite well. We both loved this appetizer. The presentation of the pecans and Concord grapes with the buttery foie gras was  perfect.

House salads of crisp greens, shaved taro root and a choice of dressings are included with every meal. They are huge and fresh but after those appetizers, we were anxious to get on to the main course. We selected a nice 2009 Siena, Ferrari-Carano Sonoma which complemented both entrees very well. I chose the lamb rack, pancetta and roasted squash served with cranberry lamb jus. Being out in this cozy country setting on a  cool evening commanded a hearty meal and I loved this dish. The lamb was roasted beautifully to medium as requested and the root vegetables accented by the pancetta added an interesting twist in presentation which also included steamed broccoli rabe and asparagus.  Tom’s dinner was total comfort food—roasted Cornish Game hen with sweet potato puree, carrots, broccoli rabe and a blueberry, Bourbon sauce. This was a delightful dish. The chicken fell off the bone into the sweet, mouth-watering Bourbon sauce and Tom relished every morsel. Both of our entrees were fantastic but I must mention the evening’s other choices which we had the opportunity to view as they were served to neighboring tables.

Savory Grille’s menu changes often but the entrée selections available that evening included  Altantic halibut with quinoa, key lime and sweet corn puree; pan seared sea scallops served with gnocchi, tomato, Greek olives, caper and basil (my second choice); Maine lobster and shrimp with Himalayan red rice and curried broth; filet mignon, candy striped beet frites and romesco (Tom’s second choice); veal rack chop, herb Chantilly potatoes and Port wine demi glace; fennel dusted duck breast, fingerling potatoes and roasted pepper gastrique; and last but not least, prime pork porterhouse served with barley grits and portobello in a mustard vinaigrette. As you can see, this is an eclectic menu of interesting dishes that would satisfy the most discerning of palates.

We both ordered French-pressed coffee and I ordered what was one of the best desserts I have had in years—an oil-based basil cake. This dessert was amazing—a spongy cake infused with fresh basil, served with a pineapple strawberry cream and a paper thin sugar cookie. It was almost too delicious to describe but the combination of the savory basil herb taste combined with the sweet sauce was incredible.  Tom ordered sorbets of mango and strawberry which are always a perfect ending to a rather heavy meal.

Shawn Doyle graduated Northampton Community College’s Hotel and Restaurant Management Program in 1991 after which he went on to hone his culinary skills at Spice of Life, The Cascade Lodge, Brookside Country Club and Hotel Bethlehem. Dorothy Doyle graduated the Culinary Institute of America in 1986 and graced the tables of The Manor House with her expertise in classic French cuisine. Together, they have developed a distinguished culinary reputation over the last 14 years of owning Savory Grille and continue to attract a huge following. The food at Savory Grille is wonderful and truly a terrific place to bring friends, family and business associates to indulge in fine dining in a comfortable atmosphere. Service at Savory Grille is professional but unpretentious. You may find it a bit unhurried if the dining room is full but, relax, sit back and enjoy the wonderful meal that is being made-to-order just for you and your party behind that beveled glass door leading to a  busy but immaculate kitchen.

Try Savory Grille this fall when the colors are full and you are out for a ride in the country. The restaurant  is located at 2934 Seisholtzville Road in Macungie. Dinner is served nightly Wednesday to Saturday from 4:30 to 10:00 PM and from 1:00 to 8:00 PM on Sundays.  Recommendations are recommended, especially on weekends. Visit their informative website: for menu selections, pricing, directions and other information or call 610.845.2010 for reservations.  Enjoy!

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