The throes of winter have gripped the salt marshes and everything is various shades of brown. Brown grass, brown water, brown mud. Savannah in winter is a dull place.
The beginning of the year finds little changed in the Spanish Moss-draped corners of the Hostess City. Media outlets have hailed Savannah as a top travel destination in 2019, though they fail to warn would-be tourists that if they come in July they will probably die from heatstroke and their carcasses will be devoured by sand gnats. This however is part of the circle of life in this swamp, and without the decaying itinerants to fertilize the soil our live oaks wouldn’t grow so stately.
The number of good places to get a quality sandwich has diminished, as Smith Brothers inevitably shut its doors at the end of December. A number of other places had closed prior, including Sugo Rossa which had a wonderful “early bird” special, and Little Italy on Wilmington which did a decent prime rib on Wednesdays. Italian is a tough racket in Dixie. Husk hasn’t closed yet (they made it a year!) but at least two chefs “left” and the big man himself Sean Brock jumped ship (though that’s true for all of the Husks and not just Savannah.)
Before it caught on fire somehow, we had a decent lunch at The Olde Pink House and found that, if you must dine at one tourist trap, than the Pink House is probably the least likely to cause you to swell with rage and disappointment. I had the fried quail which had a much-too-thick crust but was otherwise tasty atop a truly delicious bed of succotash and peanuts. My wife was baffled by the tiny size of their crab cake and fried green tomatoes, but the flavor was good. However, the true standout was the appetizer of fried chicken livers. The portion was big enough to be an entree, served on very well made grits and drizzled with an umami rich Bordelaise. The plate was garnished with fried spinach leaves, which was a nice touch.
Some good things are happening that give hope to your humble Emperor. Big Bon Pizza continues to crank out great pies around town, and they are in the process of opening a “bodega” where they will start slinging wood-fired bagels to the undeserving masses.
Kyle Jacovino (of The Florence and 1540 Room fame/infamy) is supposedly trying to open a pizza joint of his own in the ridiculously-named Starland district where all the cool kids hang out and show off their tattoos. Also coming along in Starland, in a spot next to/behind Two Tides, is what I was told is going to be a food truck park of some fashion.
There seems to be lot more local oysters on menus this winter, which I thoroughly support. Lots of places have roasts coming up including my beloved Coach’s Corner on sometime over the weekend of the Superbowl. The Atlantic has been featuring Harris Necks on the weekends. If we finally get into that joint to check it out, I’ll report back. It has chugged along for a few years now, so maybe it’s time I pop my be-crowned head in and see what all the fuss is about.
The Grey opened a place they call The Grey Market right off Broughton on Jefferson, and it is a pretty spot just like it’s big brother. However, unlike the much ballyhooed restaurant, the Market actually makes some consistently good chow and I’ll dedicate a posting to that local in the coming week(s).