Stepping through the doorway of Huey’s Southern Cafe on River Street one cool, drizzly November evening, a rush of memories of my days spent in New Orleans immediately flashed back into my consciousness. The aroma of spicy Cajun food drifting out from the kitchen, the sultry sound of Louie Armstrong’s voice singing soulfully in the background, and the “rough around the edges, laid-back, low-lit” atmosphere of the dining room, all made me anxiously anticipate the meal in which I was about to indulge.
For starters, the fried green tomatoes simply couldn’t be passed up. Five thick slices of fresh green tomatoes, lightly coated in a flour batter, pan-fried to perfection until golden brown (not too soft and not too firm), still moist and juicy inside, were drizzled with a homemade Cajun remoulade sauce made with capers, creole mayo, and seasonings.
“Some people who come in and see these on the menu ask us if they are made from a special type of tomato, rather than unripe, red tomatoes” according to Ginger Sommers, Assistant Manager.
Category: Blogs, Featured, Uncategorized
Tags: Dining Blog, Dining out, Dishes
I’m not sure whether it was the free flowing wine, the satisfying and indulgent cuisine, or the highly entertaining local auctioneer, Jere Myers, but Savannahians were feeling very generous last night at the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction as bidders competed for extravagant prizes that all centered around the theme of food—my favorite!
And speaking of food, before the bidding wars started, guests got some much needed energy by sampling some of the best eats in town as about 20 local chefs prepared their signature dishes. Some of my favorites–and I definitely took the time to try each chef’s offerings–included Alligator Soul’s Maple Bourbon Glazed Shrimp Piquant (created by chef Chris DiNello), Wiley’s Championship BBQ’s Brisket Biscuits with blue cheese (chef Wiley McCrary), and Il Pasticcio’s Braised Lamb and Butternut Squash (chef Mir Ali). Being a Georgia-born foodie, I was thrilled to see so many of the chefs using fresh local ingredients to put an extra special twist on some of southern cooking’s finest traditions; however, there was one dish in particular that stood out and I have a good idea many of the diners felt the same. [Ed. Note: I loved this dish so much I dreamt of it last night!] The dish was macaroni and cheese, but being infused with lobster and shrimp and served in a martini glass, it was the ultimate luxurious spin on one of the best southern comfort foods and I literally couldn’t stop making my way back for scoop after scoop. (It was prepared by chef David Gordon with the Hyatt Regency Hotel.)
With all the good food around, it was amazing that people could stop chewing even for a second to bid on some of the dinner packages that the chefs donated to be auctioned, but they did and some guests came away with some wildly indulgent items such as spa treatments and private dinner parties. Making the event even better, all proceeds went to The March of Dimes, who help fight for healthy babies and moms.
Tags: charity, Chefs, Dining out, Events Blog
Tomorrow night the Hyatt Regency hotel downtown will be brimming with some of the happiest people around because there is absolutely nothing that a southern crowd appreciates more than good food. At 6 p.m. residents are invited to satiate their hunger for gourmet cooking at the annual March of Dimes Signature Chef’s Auction and it’s just as delectably good as it sounds—actually even better. For starters there’s a stellar line up of about 20 local chefs, caterers and celebrity chefs who will be dishing up miniature versions of their signature plates during the reception portion of the night.
But, some of the real fun—and the real personalities—are guaranteed to come out after dinner when guests get the chance to participate in a live auction. Staying in good epicurean theme, the featured chefs donated the items and packages that will be auctioned off and anyone with a taste for some action can bid. If you’ve never been involved in a live auction, especially one in South, you ‘re missing out on a unique and fun experience as people here are known to be quite bold and lively, especially when competing against each other for food. Those a little more clandestine in nature can enjoy the silent auction portion.
All the proceeds of the event go toward March of Dimes, an organization dedicated to healthier babies and healthier moms.
Tags: charity, Dining out, Events Blog
Have you sunk your teeth into a piping hot slice of pizza from a national pizza chain recently and instantly questioned not only the strange texture of the cheese, but more importantly, its lack of any distinctive flavor? If so, then you’ve probably experienced evidence of an alarming trend by many national pizza chains, who in an effort to generate a larger profit margin, have resorted to using this strange, gooey, bland alternative to real mozzarella to top off their pizzas, naively thinking that “the masses” surely wouldn’t notice. Well, this is “one of those masses” who has clearly taken notice and who personally considers it a crime against the American palate.
My mission (which I’ve accepted): To find a 100% REAL, old-fashioned pizza SOMEWHERE in Savannah. My search was for a pizza being created the way it was intended to be by the immigrant women from southern Italy who brought their beloved recipes here with them in the early 1900s. Starting with freshly-risen, hand-tossed yeasty dough, smothered in a robust, flavorful, Italian tomato sauce seasoned to perfection, generously sprinkled with 100% AUTHENTIC mozzarella cheese, layered with a myriad of delectable toppings that make biting into a slice of pizza like biting into a slice of heaven. That was my quest.
Tags: Dining Blog, Dining out, pizza
Bar • Food: BBQ Wontons
Nestled in the Habersham Village, Bar Food proprietors Johnny Baker, Alicia Cannon and Paula Letcher have created a back-to-the-basics approach to their French–Asian-themed restaurant. Each dish is priced under $12, and the menu is refreshed with new selections weekly. “We look at what is selling the most and listen to our clientele to guide us when changing up the menu week to week,” explains Baker, “but the BBQ Wontons aren’t going anywhere.” It’s a good thing they’re sticking around. The tasty pork pieces are slow cooked for 12 hours and spun with sesame and sauce. They are served in bite-sized crispy wontons, also made daily in the kitchen. Simply delicious. Bar Food, 4523 Habersham Street, 912.355.5956, www.barfoodsavannah.com
Category: Dining, Dishes
Tags: Bar Food, Dining out, Featured Restaurants, Food, Lulu’s Chocolate Bar, Thrive
Chart House Executive Chef Jim O’Connor believes good food is all about the details.
A restaurant group based in Texas can’t know much about coastal provisions in Savannah … or can it?
Chart House, overlooking River Street, is one of the few restaurants under the corporate umbrella of Landry’s that proudly allows its chef the creative freedom to build a local menu. Executive Chef Jim O’Connor started with Landry’s Restaurants in Alexandria and Annapolis before landing the Savannah location, where he has created a Lowcountry menu. And Savannahians are taking note.
The menu at Chart House changes nightly to feature such local fare as stone crabs from Hilton Head. O’Connor attributes his success in Savannah to his emphasis on consistency. “The details make the difference. It’s the little things that make food great,” O’Connor professes when the question of his food philosophy is brought up. “When a step is missed, it simply won’t come out right. I really want the details taken care of.”
Category: Aug/Sep 09, Chefs, Dining, The Magazine
Tags: Chart House, chef, Dining out, Dishes
The South’s guest dining editors use their legal know-how to judge one of Savannah’s hottest restaurants.
As litigious lawyers, my wife and I seldom agree on anything. So we jumped at the chance to take our respective sides and put the fare at Eos—a casually hip food and wine bar tucked away in the Thomas Square neighborhood of the Victorian District—up for debate. The old brick bank building had been empty for some time when owner Shelley Smith happened upon it one rainy Savannah afternoon. Eos’s concept is small plates—bigger than tapas, smaller than entrees but perfect to share—along with 130 wines, including 50 by the glass. We wanted to see if Eos could prove its case.
Category: Dining, Featured Restaurants
Tags: Dining out, Dishes, Eos
With a throwback to Prohibition, The Distillery serves up spirits–and sustenance–with history.
Nearly four years ago, a broad-shouldered, dark-haired Maryland Yankee walked into my downtown office bearing a huge, rolled-up color printout of a historic Savannah map. Introducing himself as Michael Volen, this stranger proceeded to tell me that he had just purchased a three-story building directly across from my office and was looking for an appropriate use for the property. Four years and many strange twists and turns later, Michael Volen is the proprietor of Savannah’s hottest new pub.
The Distillery is located inside an old nightclub building at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Liberty Street—a place, in the words of local personality Murray Silver, cursed with an address “that does not front on any street.” In fact, it may be the largest building in town you’ve never seen. But The Distillery’s beguiling secrecy hasn’t stopped folks—Savannahians and tourists alike—from entering its doors since the day they first opened in mid-November of last year.
Category: Dining, Featured Restaurants, Jun/Jul 09, The Magazine
Tags: beer, Dining out, pub food, The Distillery
Kevin McPherson of Belford’s Seafood and Steaks hastens the way to delectable dining.
After 27 years in the restaurant business, Kevin McPherson wastes no time laying down the facts. “I’m not an actual chef,” he says, referring to the absence of an official culinary education in his extensive career. “I started out in Charleston as a busboy,” McPherson explains. “I learned a lot, but didn’t do much cooking.”
After eight and a half years of learning the ropes in a French restaurant, McPherson moved to Savannah, gained some confidence in the kitchen, and ended up at Belford’s Seafood and Steaks in City Market, where he’s been sending out scrumptious dishes for the last 10 years. While McPherson primarily focuses on expediting these days (making sure dishes transition from the kitchen to the servers’ trays cleanly and quickly), he can still relate to the food. “Our Shrimp, Greens and Grits entree is my favorite,” he says of the award-winning dish. “I didn’t create it, but I feel connected to it.” With local shrimp and apple-smoked bacon resting on top of buttery grit cakes alongside wilted collard greens, all soaking in a Chardonnay butter sauce, one can’t help but wish to be connected to this dish too.
Category: Apr/May 09, Chefs, Dining
Tags: Belford’s Seafood and Steak, City Market, Dining out