Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Friday, March 30, 2018
Thursday, March 29, 2018
Our final night took us to one of Savannah's newest and hottest restaurants in a bit of a noisy revamped greyhound station hence the name The Grey. They also boast a James beard nominated chef for best chef in the region this year...awards in May!
The linoleum floors add to much more noise and the hard chairs don't make it too comfy for long seating, So try to head to one of the gray leatherette banquettes which give it a very 1950's diner feel, not to mention the large bar with raised stools giving it very much a diner feel with a walk up counter.
There is a large selection of small plates and several large plates divided into a number of categories which include oysters, pantry, dirt, water and pasture.
Will and I started with a a dozen oysters accompanied by an adorable eye dropper vial of mignonette. Sea Nymphs and Dana Passage came from Washington, salty Mookie Blues from Maine, and my favorites the Rocky Nooks from Massachusetts, while Will preferred the Georgia Harris Necks.
There were many vegetarian options and Samuel decided to start with turnip cakes made with potlikker vinegar, daikons and scallions. The Benne Seed Crackers were nice and came with a kicky collard chutney with habaneros, raisins and Indian spice.
We started with a crisp Vermentine from Domaine Vetriccie 2016 in Corsica. The wine list is fairly large and very varied with many expensive wines but also a huge selection under $30 that are quite a value. Our red was a Zweigelt Glatzer "Rebencuvee" 2015 from Austria and each of these was about $28!
Another veggie dish was Peas and Rice made with Carolina Gold rice, Sea Island red peas and Bay leaf
For us the Carrot Tartare was a winner and arrived with a tartare of lamb hearts, some cooked carrots, some thinly sliced raw carrots, Benne seeds and Chile d'arbol for spice. The octopus was also perfectly cooked and served with Lima beans, a very kinky harissa and pickled celery with some gorgeous bagel chips.
Slow roasted leeks arrived at room temperature and we expected them to be hot, but they were delicious and cooked to perfection served with Edward's ham, gooey Tomme cheese and crunchy bread crumbs.
House made ravilo was filled with ricotta cheese and served with heirloom sweet potatoes in a Brown butter sauce, and disappeared from Sam's plate in seconds. The Smoked collards with onion trifecta, olive oil and smoked over pecan wood were also a tasty and nove spin on the Southern staple.
Smashed New Potatoes with Brewer's Yeast, sour cream and scallions was a baked potato lover's dream. Speaking of Brewer's yeast, I forgot to mention that you get a bowl of popcorn dusted with that instead of bread.
Will and I chose two meat plates to end our main course: first came Foie and Grits with sweet potato jam, red wine gravy and onions.. which was indeed traditional grits with a little bit of gravy around the edge topped with a gorgeous piece of foie gras and a dab of jam. The 2nd dish was one of the winningest dishes of the night, as it was fried veal sweetbreads with a ham hock vinaigrette and a shallot mustard that was out of this world.
At one point Sam had a delicious mocktail of lemon and ginger as well.
Coconut lime gelees appeared as a pre-dessert, and then we ordered Beignets with Ginger Ice cream and chocolate sauce which were divine and a to die for rich Chocolate Pot au Creme.
As if this wasn't enough we were given little crunchy peanut butter candies that were like honeycombs to eat then or munch on the walk home. A winning meal as we packed to head home.
Kudos to Chef Mashama Bailey, whom we did not meet, but definitely deserves a James Beard Award!
Posted by Alan Savada at 9:31 AM
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Our 2nd night here in the deep South was a much improved dinner at the truly wonderful Alligator Soul.
We were all expecting something funky and weird and as we went down the steps to the restaurant we were very surprised to see a beautiful cavernous room of brick with ceiling fans and white linens. The manager Rashad greeted us and asked us if there was anything we needed to please come ask him, and our server Misha was more than generous with his time, explanations and help.Southern hospitality abounds here in every venue!
Will ordered a Constellation made from Prairie Orange vodka, Stirrings organic pomegranate, Grapefruit bitters and lemon juice with lemon twist, while I chose the Hilbo's Bloody Mary made from Crop organic tomato vodka with Hilbo's spiced stewed tomato puree, blue cheese stuffed peppadew pepper and habanero pimento cheese stuffed olives...what a trip. But the spicy rim on the drink only made it 20 times better.
An ok amuse arrived in the form of a lentil spinach curry soup in in odd ceramic spoon with little spoons to eat it, luckily this was not a preview of the fabulous spicy and tasty food to follow.
Samuel started with fried green tomatoes with a superb spicy remoulade, while Will chose the Alligator Fritters which were served with Savannah river farms pork belly, Trinity mirepoix, panko and Cajun lemon caper remoulade as well as a green tomato Chow Chow.
My Oysters a la Soul were gorgeous plump Chesapeake Bay Oysters grilled with Savannah River Farms bacon, Louisiana crawfish, Trinity mirepoix and scallions in a creamy Hilbo spiced roux topped with parmesan bread crumbs. If this weren't enough to make me thrilled and want to come back again and again for this dish, there was a blow your mind Habanero jelly that you could dapple on top of each oyster!!
Misha suggested a beautiful bottle of Martin Codex 2016 Alberino from Rioja, which was perfect with all the spicy food.
There was only one vegetarian main course but it was a beautiful preparation of 3 items including a stuffed acorn squash with quinoa, a spinach salad and a tomato bisque, even if Samuel only wanted the quinoa. Will chose the rich shrimp and grits with Georgia wild shrimp. lemon butter and Creole spices with Freeman's mill stone ground Georgia grits creamed with aged cheddar cheese.
My main course was called Gumbo's Back Baby which consisted of wild Georgia shrimp, Littleneck clams, Prince Edward Island mussels, tons of sweet Louisiana crawfish, grilled Andouille sausage, the Trinity mirepoix and okra in a dark Cajun roux with Carolina gold rice that was very reminiscent of an etoufee and was everything anyone could ask for. Indeed being in the South the main courses were huge and we had to forgo dessert because we knew there were some rich fudgy chocolate brownies in our hotel room with a bottle of red wine where we are right now enjoyed them...
Posted by Alan Savada at 4:27 PM
Our 1st night took us to A.Lure here in the Southern food capital of Savannah.
We were not sure if the name was allure or whether it was a. lure which meant it was a seafood restaurant as in a fishing lure, which proved to be the correct explanation.
What seemed like a teeny restaurant with 12 to 15 tables with about 4 or 5 high tops in the middle actually had a large back room as well with much local art on brick walls.
Our server Curtis came over with a big smile and explained a lot of the menu to us as we sat and looked at it for a while and chatted with the folks at the next table who told us their food was fabulous.
Will and I ordered blood orange martinis made from Ghost Coast vodka, Stirrings triple sec and blood orange puree with hibiscus bitters, lime cordial and hibiscus flowers..Yum, But alas the martini glass was not filled very full.
Curtis convinced us that the braised rabbit open faced ravioli with a rabbit-bacon syrup, butternut squash, spinac,h mushrooms and rosemary and thyme cream was something that people came from hundreds of miles away for. Indeed it was a delicious rich and filling dish but I can't say I would come back for it over and over.
We ordered a bottle of Square Plumb and Level Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc blend 2015 from Dry Creek, California which was fruit forward and delicious with everything we ate, so much so that we ordered a second bottle and took the remains home with us as Savannah allows you to walk down the street with open bottles and drinks!!
Delicious focaccia and buttermilk biscuits arrived with a raspberry pineapple and rose water jam, And Sam had to ask for extra focaccia.
For main courses Will had the Smoked Duck Breast with Georgia gold barbeque sauce, duck confit baked beans, pickled mustard and cole slaw. The beans sadly came cold and had to be sent back for a warm up while the duck came on the extremely rare side which caused will to leave a number of pieces on the plate, as there was plenty but he didn't want to be bothered asking for them to cook the rest, as there was more than enough. Samuel ordered a dish called Peas and Carrots which was a wild mushroom risotto with peas and carrots and a carrot ginger reduction, which he gobbled up. My meat loaf made with Smith brothers ground filet mignon, and foie gras and truffle-Madeira demi-glace had a dapple of cauliflower puree and what were called blue cheese fingerling fries although the cheese was very mild. The green bean casserole on the side was a big hit.
Desserts sounded 20 times better than they actually were as the mint chocolate chip creme brulee came out chilled and the brulee was not crunchy at all. Bourbon chocolate pecan pie with butter pecan ice cream in bourbon caramel was delicious but the crust would have failed any test.
The service here was winning and the setting is beautiful but it seemed that Curtis really hyped up everything so much more than it was and we really had a nice time but didn't enjoy every bite.
Posted by Alan Savada at 4:26 PM
Sunday, March 04, 2018
I have never been a big brunch person, but since we won a free brunch, we were not going to pass up a trip to RIS which has always been one of our favorite DC spots.
Our certificate included bottomless mimosas as well as a full brunch which goes for $43 each if you take the bottomless option(it costs $10 per mimosa or $18 for bottomless and $25 for the two course brunch).
First came a basket of yummy biscuits with homemade fruit jam and butter as well as lemon-olive oil glazed muffin-like mini cakes which we saved for afterwards and later; all were amazing.
The first round of mimosas here came with a champagne flute and a popsicle stick of orange blossom sorbet in it. The popsicle had a tiny fizz as awell and mleted away as we drank. Even better was the second option with a Pomegranate-Cranberry popsicle...OMG! So good, we had two each(fotos on FB)!
Each $25 brunch comes with a starter and main and it's enough to fill you for the entire day. I started with the thick rich and gooey French Onion Soup which often disappoints once you eat all the top, but here had a rich broth loaded with caramelized onions that lasted to the bottom of the little crock bowl. Will chose the Crispy Thai Brussels Sprouts, much more than a side and again a huge portion with bacon, peanut and chile sauce.
For his main there was a Huevo Ranchero sporting fried egg on a crispy corn tortilla with black beans, chorizo, queso blanco, avocado, lime and ranchero sauce. Since I mentioned earlier that I like spice, our superb Server, Kareem, loaded the plate with jalapeno slices, which Will surreptitiously removed! My Smoked Salmon Benedict was much better than anything I could have imagined with a poached egg cooked to perfection atop a toasted Brioche and yummy pickled onions with an Orange Hollandaise that was not too rich, too gooey or too much, but just right. The salmon was indeed a large chunk of fish that was smoked and served on the side of the egg; not that smoked salmon you buy in the store and plop on a bagel for sure. We were so full we sat for a while and then waddled home...ready to start our diet tomorrow!
Posted by Alan Savada at 5:04 PM
Monday, February 26, 2018
I was headed to the Atlas Performing Arts Center last night on H Street, NE and needed a place to grad dinner and totally forgot about SALLY's MIDDLE NAME right across from the theater. At 530pm the palce had just opened with several tables occupied and I was able to get a table, but by the time I left at 650pm, the place was jammed and indeed quite noisy as it has to be one of the hottest spots in the 'hood.
The décor is simple and unpretentious with wooden tables and floors and about two dozen seats downstairs(not sure if there is more upstairs)....and a dozen high bar stools. The menus are in black on the white tile walls and drinks are on the chalkboard; a pile of used cookbooks was on a shelf near me which I enjoyed checking the titles of.... The napkins are checked blue and white cotton dish towels.
My server Amy seemed to be handling the entire restaurant and she later explained the hostess did not show! The bartender was helping as well in what was a team effort that went fairly smoothly except when I needed a glass of wine as my main course arrived a bit earlier than I expected.
I started with a wondrously herbaceous NORONIC which is Mezcal chilled with nonino amaro and vermouth.
Amy suggested two dishes saying they should be shared, but two per person is about right. The Grilled Carrots (see FB) with Harissa, Herbs and Shallots packed a punch and I loved the herbs:dill, parsley, chervil, cilantro and micro greens. For my main course I had the super moist and juicy Cajun Brined Chicken Breast with "Stuffing Cornbread" and a divine Red pepper sauce. The cornbread had mushrooms and was seared crispy and a glass of Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone was a nice pairing.
There are many vegetarian options bus steak, sausage and more were also on the wall...this is a place I could return to over and over for sure.
Posted by Alan Savada at 11:42 AM