Savannah end Jan/early Feb -- advice appreciated
hello all, i haven't been super-active on chowhound in years, but do promise to post a trip report after my upcoming trip.
My sister (Florida) and i (Baltimore, formerly Austin TX and NYC) are taking my parents (WDC) to Savannah for their 50th Wedding Anniversary at the end of the month. At one point we were considering some terrible cruise, just so my mom wouldn't have to make decisions, so i promised to cruise-direct our weekend.
as well as a special place for the anniversary dinner itself, i need to identify some lunch places and a moderately-priced dinner place (under $35pp without alcohol for app & entree, or a few small plates). my parents have a fairly adventurous palate and like good food, but some of the super-fancy or very modern cooking stuff is totally lost on them (but completely appreciated by me).
as far as southern cooking goes, i expect any place recommended that serves grits to be real, slow-cooked grits, preferably stone milled and not manufactured/distributed by a large corporation. heirloom preferred.
here is my game plan thus far, need suggestions where * appears:
* Thurs night -- may arrive pretty late, recommendations for good, not terribly heavy food that is open late and is under $25pp
Friday lunch -- Mrs Wilkes
* Fri dinner -- moderately priced suggestions, preferably Southern food but open to other suggestions of good ethnic food, etc. we all love Asian food, but not sure that is something that is quality in Savannah.
Sat lunch -- Tybee Island Social Club
* Sat dinner -- a special dinner, tasting menu might be considered. no defined price limit, but not nesc. "going for broke" either.
-- Local Eleven10 -- seems both interesting and well recommended
-- a.Lure -- also seems both interesting and well recommended
-- Noble Fare -- ate here my last visit to Savannah and enjoyed it
-- Alligator Soul
-- Olde Pink House -- traditional upscale Southern. i ate Thanksgiving dinner here on a previous visit and wasn't wowed, but, it was Tgiving dinner
- Sapphire Grill
OTHER NOTES: tried Elizabeth on 37 last visit and was anti-impressed and sorely disappointed in quality and interest versus price point.
-- Narobia's Grits and Gravy? lots of positive on yelp, but someone notes their grits are "out of a box" and bad. opinions?
-- other? not nescessarily fancy, but preferably takes a reservation.
another question: i notice that the Crystal Beer Parlor gets a lot of love, but why? the menu seems boring to me, standard bar fare. is it just really good quality bar fare? it is based on atmosphere? are there specialties that aren't apparent on a quick menu-review? or is it just good honest food at a fair price versus some over-priced alternatives?
thanks in advance,
thanks meijohns for giving me some feedback.
here is what we ended up doing between when we arrived Thurs evening and leaving Sunday noonish:
Thurs dinner: Crystal Beer Parlor
- parents split shrimp salad sandwich which they enjoyed (and didn't offer me a bit) and each got a bowl of the crab stew, which they both found to be way to salty and i found to be too creamy (i don't like cream based soups so i didn't order it)
- i got the fried oyster sandwich, which was good.
- we tried both the oscilla slaw and the creamy slaw, i liked both
- fresh onion rings were great
- sweet potato fries were good and fresh
- overall: just right for what we wanted after 9 hours of driving, good, basic, and walking distance to hotel
Fri lunch: Taco Abajo
we stumbled in here because all the tables at Papillote were full and we always like tacos. quiet for lunch, i imagine its loud and studenty at night. we each got a $2 margarita which probably didn't have any alcohol and was way too sweet for me (lots of sweet and sour) but no one expected more for $2. we each ordered a two-taco plate, and my dad and i split taco for taco. we all got the friend corn on the cob which was disappointing ... oil not hot enough so it was really saturated and greasy, and the sweet sauce on it was too heavy.
- shrimp tacos, billed as fresh, local shrimp and they tasted like it. light and fresh tasting. probably my favorite taco.
- slow cooked pork tacos, tender and delicious and properly juicy, well complemented by the sauces. also very good.
- chorizo tacos -- these i only had a bite of, as my mom ordered them. they were fine. i wasn't excited by the menu description, nor by the taco. my mom was happy with them.
we all wished we had asked if they had corn tortillas and flour tortillas always seem so doughy and bland.
Fri dinner: The Olde Pink House
we knew this would be fairly traditional going in, and i was somewhat dreading it after a disappointing experience on Thanksgiving a few years ago, but we all enjoyed it ... A LOT. so many dining rooms, each interesting. i understand better know why both locals and tourists hold it in regard.
- my mom and i both ordered the shrimp-n-gritscake starter and it was very good, although i think the gritscake would be better w regular versus cheddar grits, as i felt the cheddar overpowered. shrimp good, gravy great.
- my dad and sister both ordered the fried green tomato BLT salad. these were really great. the tomato was fried perfectly, the bacon was GREAT and the greens and dressing balanced the flavors. i was a little jealous.
- my mom ordered the famous crispy flounder and enjoyed it. (i thought the sauce was too sweet, but that's me). she got plain grits and collards, which i think were the suggested sides.
- my dad and sister both ordered the pork tenderloin, medium rare -- the meat was succulent. tender, juicy, delicious, melty. everything you want. my sister got cheddar grits and collards, my dad, who hates greens, got the sweet potato that the dish came with and asparagus instead of the greens.
- i got the scallops, and i forget what they were supposed to come with, but i got plain grits and collards and was really happy. the scallops were tender and perfectly cooked, there was a little sauce, and it was all perfect. and not too heavy.
we were all too full for dessert, but my sister ordered some chocolate cake thing to go and ate all of it and liked it. neither my parents nor i are huge on dessert.
Sat night: Sapphire Grill
this place had been built up to my mom from a friend of hers as the best place she ate in Savannah. i found the appetizers to be much more appealing than the entrees, but everyone else found dishes to order happily. overall, i think parents and sister thought it was really great. i thought it was simply good, but it didn't wow me.
- veal marrow & scallops appetizer: i had never had marrow before served up restaurant style and was eager to try it. the presentation was pretty, but there were a couple of dollops on the plate that we couldn't remember what they were and tasting them didn't help much and they were unnecessary. the marrow was really delicious and the scallops were good.
- fried calamari: billed as being very different from your standard calamari, it was definitely tasty and addictive. however, i didn't find it to be terribly different. the peanuts were in little opposing corners at the edge of the plate, and not incorporated into the dish as i expected. the tender and perfectly fried calamari were tossed in a herbal sauce that was essentially a pesto of cilantro, chili, and a bit of vinegar. definitely good, but not as unique as i expected.
- my dad got the grouper, which i think was the best plate on the table. the fish was perfect and crusted in black and white sesame (i don't think that is ever wrong) and it had a nice sauce on the side to dip the fish into. i don't know if the wok-seared veggies were lackluster or if he just got tired of them.
- my mom got the bouillabaisse, which was good, but too much saffron for me (i'm sensitive) and was more shellfish than my mom could eat. and she's a firm member of the clean plate club.
- my sister got the seared tuna, which she loved and was quite tender. i tend to not like tuna, except for o-toro in a sushi bar, and even i thought it was pretty good (for being tuna).
- all the entrees either didn't sound good to me or too heavy, so i got the clams and octopus appetizer. the waiter described it as being finished w a foie-gras butter, which i expected to be subtle, but i did expect to taste. i found the broth to be too salty, but the clams and octopus were both tender. i expected a bit more char/smoke to the octopus. overall, i found it to be much more one-dimensional than expected.
- the restaurant brought out a little plate w two chocolate covered strawberries and a chocolate inscription of Happy Anniversary. many photos were taken to commemorate my parents feeding them to each other on their 50th Anniversary. coincidentally, the adjoining table was also celebrating their 50th Anniversary and also got married on Groundhog's Day.
- parents split a creme brulee for dessert.
- i believe my sister got something chocolately.
- i ordered the foie-gras for dessert, which delighted our waiter as being very novel. the foie was delicious and perfectly cooked and accompanied well, but was too large to be eaten by one, esp for dessert. but i can't leave foie on the plate, so i ate it all -- but enjoyed it less after my first, perfect bite.
Sun brunch: B Matthew's Eatery
i've eaten here before, and it is really a good value and tasty.
- my mom and i both got the shrimp and grits, and we both thought it was good. not sure if the shrimp are local, they didn't taste as fresh or perfect as other shrimp we had were, but still very satisfying.
- my sister got biscuits and gravy. very good, lots of good sausage and flavor in the gravy.
- dad went really simple: fried eggs and toast.
Local 110 is great. I also like Garibaldi's. BMatthews has been good the few times I've been there. The soho south cafe is a fun, interesting place and I've had good shrimp and grits there but I don't see it on the menu anymore.
The last time I went to mrs Wilkes we got there towards th late end of service and our wait was much shorter tan when you arrive early, unless you get in line REALLY early.
thanks for the reply.
my sister picked, without looking, just because she's heard of it, Olde Pink House for our anniversary dinner. this was my last choice and i almost didn't even put it on the list.
am i going to be terribly bored/disappointed with this choice?
my family dynamic is really difficult because my sister and i are essentially polar opposites who hate each other. i just feel like giving up and poking my eyes out.