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Plenty of flavor at CIA’s new eatery

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Students at the Culinary Institute of America’s Pearl campus are flexing their skills at Savor, the school’s new restaurant that doubles as a cooking classroom.

CIA Associate Dean Jose Frade said the venue lets diners interact with chefs in training.

“You’re savoring what the CIA has to offer. It’s a representation of what the students learn and then we’re kind of bringing that curriculum out and to the table into the dining room,” Frade said.

Savor, 200 E. Grayson St., debuted Jan. 22 in the spot previously occupied by Sandbar.

For the last five years Nao, a live-fire kitchen serving Latin-fusion cuisine, served as the CIA’s restaurant. Frade said Savor embodies the skills taught in each classroom.

“It is a true interpretation of what our students learn in the curriculum, so you’ll see bits and pieces of different cuisines, different techniques,” Frade said.

Students spend seven weeks serving guests and recommending drink pairings, followed by another seven weeks preparing and cooking dishes. Chef-instructor Uyen Pham and hospitality instructor Samantha Fletcher lead this semester’s class.

“You’re going to get to probably have dinner or be served by one of the next best celebrity chefs — you never know,” Frade said.

Savor offers three-course and four-course options, bar food and wine, beer and classic cocktails. The menu is flexible and can be tailored to special diets.

Popular dishes include sea scallops and dry-aged rib-eye steak with wild mushrooms.

“It makes people venture out and maybe try something that they didn’t want to before,” Frade said. “Here they can explore the menu a little bit more because it has a three- or four-course aspect.”

Reservations are preferred.

Hours are 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

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