Seung Hee Eats Savannah

This is a guest post by Seung Hee Lee-Kwan.  Some of you might remember her from this documentary of my return trip to Seoul where Seung Hee guided me through the city.  She currently works as an epidemiologist at the CDC in Atlanta.  Like me, she counts her travel days in meals, and recently she spent a long weekend in Savannah, Georgia. Here are some of her favorite bites.–KS

SH: I’m always up for a good food trip. Just a few weekends ago, my hubby N and I decided to venture to Savannah. After consulting with my trusted source, foodiebuddha, we decided on the Grey, a renovated Greyhound bus stop turned restaurant, run by Chef Mashama Bailey. I also wanted to check out Hugh Acheson’s the Florence.  If you’re in Georgia, you have to try every restaurant in his empire. And of course we had to experience the true Lowcountry boil at The Crab Shack on Tybee Island.

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I can eat. And they also know what happens when I get hangry (it’s not pretty). When I told N that I had a 10:30 pm rez at the Grey, he looked alarmed.  To me, a late reservation just means we have a pre-dinner and then the dinner.  Problem solved.

We started at Acheson’s the Florence, where they offer a great selection of Italian wines and interesting beers.

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After taste testing a Sicilian Etna Rosso (which was a bit too tight to enjoy without food), I decided on a glass of Piedmont Chardonnay (and few flight pours of saison and pale ale). Nothing beats a chilled zesty Chard on a warm day.

We got the famous egg ravioli. Sure, the #eggporn never gets old, but what really made the dish was the assorted local vegetables and the depth of umami from the broth. For $15, it’s a culinary must-have.

And then here we were, blessed with the most glorifying Neapolitan pizza.

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Yes, a poofy ever-so-slightly charred crust, topped with mortadella, ramps, Calabrian chilies, and buffalo mozzarella. The crust was perfectly seasoned and had the perfect bite and chew; it was the highlight of my meal. I just wish they had had 10 times the ramps…but that’s just me being greedy.

After a satisfying meal at the Florence, I was afraid of two things : 1) am I too full?  And 2) what if the Grey doesn’t live up to the hype?

Well, none of my fears were proven to be true.  Though I opted to go with an enticing cocktail, the Metroliner (rum, sorrel, triple sec, lime), I cannot emphasize how awesome their wine list is–offering a wide range of white burgundies to interesting reds from Lebanon.

The service was spot on. Our server was engaging, knowledgeable, and straightforward. I liked that he recommended a few menus that were smaller portions after I mentioned that this was our second dinner.

We started out with Harris Neck oysters from GA, dolled up with serrano pepper slices and chicken cracklings.  Disclaimer: The lighting at the Grey was very dim (it was 10:30 in the evening), so please note, photos do not do justice.

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The dish that truly won me over, however, was the Country Pasta. The pasta was cooked to al dente perfection, the shrimp melted in my mouth, and the charred cherry tomatoes tied everything together with a gentle dose of acidity and bitterness. And the house-cured bottarga finished the dish by adding the perfect hit of salt and sea. This dish is a testament to how simple cooking is often the best. I will gladly travel three hours to eat just this dish.

I suffered a little bit of a post-food coma the day after my gluttony, and was happy to find Beetnix Juice Bar around the corner of the Andaz Savannah.  If you are ever in Savannah, suffering from a post-food coma or hangover, do yourself a favor and get After Glow from BeetNix – an organic cold pressed juice of golden beets, turmeric, ginger, oranges, pineapple, and lemon. It will rejuvenate you like no other.

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After my “detox,” we headed off to Tybee Island in search of a Lowcountry boil.

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Voila! Captain Crab’s platter for two. It might not be the best steamed seafood I have ever had, but with the ocean breeze, sunshine, and locally-brewed IPA, nothing else really mattered.  I ate so many crustaceans that my lips and fingertips turned pruny. Maybe one day, I’ll learn to exercise some self-control…

Until then, I’m back in Atlanta, daydreaming of where to go eat next and documenting my food adventures.

Have you been to Savannah? What are your favorite bites/restaurants?

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