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Mar 20, 2012 02:41 PM

Savannah chef's tasting menus

Noble Fare has a seven course menu for $120 with wine pairings.
Sapphire Grill has a six course for "market price".

Have never done a tasting menu anywhere.
Has anybody tried either of these?
Any other suggestions for similar in Savannah?

I kind of have a mental block about Elizabeth's since we never managed to eat there while Elizabeth was still the owner. I don't suppose that I should though.

What is the protocol for the market price? I don't mind spending $120-150, or a little more, per person but would certainly like to avoid a $1,000 tab for two people.

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  1. I don't recall the price on Elizabeth's tasting menu, kengk, but I'm thinking we might have paid around $90/per several years ago. It's the only tasting menu I've ever done, and I'm surprised I got away with it that one time - while my wife enjoyed the dinner, those things are really too much food for her.

    Although I enjoy eating at quite a few Savannah restaurants, E's is far and away my favorite. I never ate there, to the best of my recollection, when anyone other than the Butch brothers were running he place. E's tasting menu was spectacular, BTW.

    If Noble Fare pairs with wines, that's prol an excellent deal.

    re: protocol on market price - I would simply ask Sapphire for a range of prices one might expect to be charged for the tasting menu before you make your reservations. You can always decide when you get there whether to pull the trigger based on what your waiter tells you what tonight's price is. If he mentions a price that's silly/crazy, order off the menu instead and mark it down to experience. or walk out and go over to E's or NF....

    2 Replies
    1. re: Buddha49

      Thanks for the reply. Sadly, too much food is rarely an issue with us. We have raised more than a few waiter's eyebrows.

      I may just have to get us reservations at Elizabeth's. Garibaldi, Noble Fare and Elizabeth's should make a good three night itinerary. Get the tasting menu at Noble Fare.

      As an aside, have you been to the Flying Fish? It's just around the corner from where we are staying and thought it might be good for an oyster po'boy at lunch one day. I sure do miss the po'boy at William's. The "fish camp" is a niche in Savannah we have not been able to replace since the demise of William's

      1. re: kengk

        I don't know the Flying Fish. Give us a report if you go.

        Williams had its ups and sown over the years. I say this as someone who would go there with my family and out of town guests growing up in Savannah during the 50s and 60s. I later frequented the place when in town. The closest I can think of to it now might be AJ's on Tybee, but AJ's is on such a higher culinary plane that it's difficult to compare the two. However, if your looking for fried shrimp or oysters, AJs is the place I would go.

    2. We had the tasting menu at Noble Fare last night. It was quite good. Started with a smoked salmon amuse, followed by a seared scallop, ahi tuna tartar, next a sea bass dish, venison tenderloin, duck breast, lamb shank. Finished with an assortment is desserts. A lot of wine! Will try to flesh out the review some when I get home.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kengk

        First off a couple of corrections to the menu I posted above, per my lovely wife. Was not sea bass but rather Alaskan Halibut, instead of venison tenderloin she says it was shoulder tenderloin. I had never heard of such a thing but Google enlightened me.

        All the above items were served with accompaniments but there is no way I will get the sides matched up correctly with the protein. I remember cauliflower puree, Israeli Couscous, risotto, potato and more. Everything had a complex but light sauce. Often two or three sauces.

        The scallop dish was just about perfection in my opinion, it was so good that my wife who is not a great lover of scallops (me either for that matter) decided to try a scallop appetizer the next night at Elizabeth's. I would say that Noble Fare's scallop was slightly better than Elizabeth's. Others might disagree if they prefer their scallop slightly rare in the middle.

        The Halibut was very good, I would have added a pinch of salt had it been on the table but it didn't warrant asking for it to be brought out.

        I wish I could remember more precisely how the shoulder tenderloin dish was plated, I mainly remember very delicious medallions of medium rare meat, perfectly sauced.

        The duck was one of their signature menu items, "Duck, Duck, Goose", a duck risotto with medallions of duck breast on top and seared Foie gras atop that. I have had this dish before and was served a very miserly piece of Foie. This trip we had a very generous portion and the dish in very delicious.

        The lamb shank was very good. It was the last course before dessert and was just a little too much even for a big eater like me at this point in the meal. I did clean my plate however.

        For dessert we each had a plate with two or three different desserts so a total of maybe five or six different ones. At this point I had lost all interest in eating and just took a couple of nibbles and shoved my plate towards my wife. She finished them off. To her credit she did not drink more than a tablespoon of wine all evening and I was probably nearing the two bottle point by now. Had a couple heavy glasses before we left the house.

        The tuna tartar was served as the third course I believe, it was the only dish I really didn't care for. I'm not a real aficionado of tuna, cooked or raw. This was just kind of bland to me though. I would have preferred a small crisp green salad.

        The service was outstanding. Very attentive but not intrusive. I had the menu with wine and my wife without. They were very generous with the wine, being the rube that I am I drained the glass once or twice too soon to enjoy with the course it was intended for and our server very graciously gave me another splash.

        I have studiously avoided becoming a wine connoisseur, I do not need another expensive hobby. Everything they poured into my glass was good to me. The waiter told me what each one was and what notes I was supposed to taste.

        I suppose the one disappointment was that there were not really any off menu dishes. We basically each got about a 1/3 or 1/2 size serving of about 3/4s of what is on the menu.

        I will add that this is a lot of food. I'm a big man and can put away some food and they just about met my limit.

      2. Dinner at Elizabeth's last night was really outstanding. I'm sad that we waited this long to go. It will become a regular.

        6 Replies
        1. re: kengk

          Tasting menu at Noble Fare one night and then at E's for the next eevening??!??? You da man, ken, LOL!

          1. re: Buddha49

            Gonna go have one of those enormous whole flounders at Garibaldi tonight!

            1. re: kengk

              I'm jealous! That flounder is excellent.

              1. re: Sue in Mt P

                I've had the flounder at Garibaldi many times over the years and it never fails to please. It's one of those rare things that is always just as good as the memory of the last time. It is amusing to me when the waiter wants to instruct me how to eat my fish. When did folks stop learning how to eat fish, fowl or beast that was still attached to the bone?

                My wife had a grouper dish with roasted asparagus and a lobster sauce that was just insanely good.

                We almost always go to Savannah this week of the year due to my work schedule. It brings a smile to this old curmudgeon to see all the cute girls in their prom dresses with their oafish dates. If my wife gets within speaking distance she has to tell them how pretty they look. I can't recall a single time when one didn't smile back, maybe blush, and thank her.

          2. re: kengk

            At Elizabeth's I had the "Shrimp Taco" for a starter. The taco shell was a good sized Parmesan tuile. Shaped more like a cup than a standard hard taco shell. Arranged on the tuile were three or four small white shrimp, sauteed, sauced with a dollop of mozzarella cheese sauce. The plate had cheese sauce and a red pepper sauce. Just the faintest hint of a southwestern/mexican flavor to it. Very rich and very delicious.

            My wife had a scallop starter, I was so enthralled with my starter I paid little attention to hers. The scallop was a little undercooked for our tastes.

            For the main course I had Red Snapper with a Parmesan and potato crust. The crust was was just a filigree. It was served with Brussels sprouts, coarsely chopped and cooked with bacon. The sauce was a veal veloute. In spite of the bold flavors of the accompaniments and the sauce the perfectly cooked fish was still able to shine. This was a truly outstanding dish, one of the best things I've ever eaten.

            My wife had the Grouper Celeste which is a regular menu item. Grouper crusted with sesame seeds, served with a peanut sauce, roasted potato and fennel/apple slaw. It was good but not something that I would order myself. Normally when we eat out whatever my wife gets always looks better than what I get but in this case I had the clear winner, she agreed.

            For dessert she had some kind of flour-less chocolate pie/cake creation. I had one small bite and it was about the richest, chocolatiest thing I've ever put in my mouth. Not really my thing but my lovely wife practically swooned.

            I had goat cheese cheese cake which was wonderful. Served with just a few macerated berries.

            We both loved the atmosphere of the old mansion, I found Mr. Butch to be a charming and pleasant host. Don't know if he always serves as the Captain or not...

            The service was not all that it could have been. It was certainly adequate but didn't rise above that. They seemed to be short handed and one waiter was being trained by working with another. I felt bad for the young man, he was also clearing dishes and he must have dropped handfuls of flatware on the floor three or four times while we were there. Thankfully I never heard breaking crockery or stemware. As mentioned, I felt bad for him, it didn't really bother me.

            All in all it was a very pleasant meal and as long as it continues to please it will be at the top of our list for the 3-4 times a year we visit Savannah.

            Buddha, I inquired about the tasting menu but Mr. Butch said that they were just to busy this time of year to do it. Maybe next fall...

            1. re: kengk

              You and your wife had some great food at some of Savannah's best places. I had a Snapper special that sounds very similar to the one you describe when I was at Elizabeth's a couple of weeks ago during the Savannah Music Festival. The Duck, Duck, Goose at Noble Fare is wonderful, especially when they serve it with plenty of the foie gras, LOL!

              I enjoyed (and empathized with) your comment about not really needing another expensive hobby. Ever tried cigars??