Monday, May 12, 2014

Eating Out in Savannah

Part of our enjoyment when visiting other areas is to savor the local cuisine. Besides, the girls say they are on vacation and deserve to be treated by others, so because I want to eat when we return home, I try hard to oblige them when we are away. The way we do our trips is to rent a house as opposed to a hotel room, unless it’s just the four of us and then a room is perfect. The reason we do the house is so that we can all stay together, enjoying a place to hang out and relax, and not have to wander the halls. We will usually fix breakfast there, but that is to keep us from having to rush out the door. We would much rather enjoy waking up at our own pace and it takes a while to pick out the correct hat for the day, anyway.

With our recent trip to Savannah, we arrived before the house was ready and too late for breakfast, so we had lunch at 17hundred90 Inn & Restaurant.  To be honest, it was my favorite dining experience of the trip outside of the few meals we had at our rental home. The 17hundred90 had a small but very friendly staff and we entered through their bar, which in itself was quaint with a local, homey atmosphere that I wish we would have had time to enjoy more. The inn is comprised of three adjacent residences, a duplex built by Steel White and a smaller home built by the Powers family in 1888. It was a short walk to River Street and to our rental property, which was a great benefit to everything we did on our stay. One of the pluses to this restaurant was that it is said to be haunted and the girls love a good ghost story. It wasn’t until we took our ghost tour the next night that we saw the figure that had been placed in the window that was said to represent the ghost of Anna who takes a great dislike to female visitors. Who doesn’t enjoy dining with ghosts, right?

Eating out at 17hundred90
For lunch the next day we were supposed to dine at Wild Wing Cafe, but for some reason our group became sidetracked and skipped it. So we wandered down to Anna’s, also at City Walk. It wasn’t what we had planned, but our group has learned a while ago to be flexible in our wanderings. A size ten group cannot afford to be too picky.
Tucked in a corner at Anna's

Anna’s had both outdoor as well as indoor dining and we were fortunate to be seated inside. Or maybe it wasn’t so fortunate. While the food was good as well as the staff, the kitchen was open and so close to the tables that the greasy smell overflowed into the dining area and put a stench to the atmosphere. There was also a family member of one of the employees, or perhaps the owner, who sat at a nearby table and threw orange peels at the floor toward us.  He kept staring at us as if we were invading his space and gave a couple of us the shivers. The food was good but the experience was not. We crossed it off our list of Return-Tos.

That night we had dinner plans at Six Pence Pub, but the wait was over 45 minutes and we had to be at our ghost tour by 9:10. We didn’t think we would have time so we decided to walk down to River Street and grab a bite there. Again, another reason I wished more restaurants would return to taking dinner reservations.

When we arrived at River Street, nothing really caught our eye as far as edible, cost affordable, and length of wait until we reached the Boar’s Head Grill & Tavern. Furthermore, it had the added benefit of being right across from where we were to board the trolley for our ghost tour, so we jumped in with only a ten minute wait. The atmosphere was quaint and the steak was decent. While most of the meat I had in Savannah had great flavor, they do not know the difference between medium-rare and medium. Most of the hamburgers and steaks always came out a little too done for my tastes. Still, the food, though over-priced, was delicious and we made our ghost tour on time. I’d return, but just order my steak rare.

Flexibility came in play the following day as we were supposed to eat lunch at Angel’s BBQ. Several of us were really looking forward to dining here as who doesn’t love a good barbecue. We were even more sold on the dining experience when their web site said that they cooked the BBQ the night before and only remained open as long as they had some left, usually having to close their restaurant by three that day. However, the part they forgot to advertise was that it is best as take out because they only have two tables and our group would have overflowed both. Not that we would have minded taking it to go with so many wonderful squares to sit at and enjoy lunch, but we were not prepared for the surprise when we got there. We’ll try it next time, but plan it as a picnic.

So, we still needed to eat. We decided to return to Six Pence Pub and hope they had a less wait for lunch. Lucky for us, they did and twenty minutes later we were seated at two tables. It’s a great place for a taste of Irish cuisine and drink. I ordered a Rueben and a Blacksmith, a beer combination of Guinness and Smithwick. Now, I am more a bourbon and scotch drinker but this beer was worthy of ordering one to go and I did as we wandered through more squares, beer in one hand and cigar in the other.

The Six Pence was loud but you expect that in a pub, or at least you should. The staff was friendly and helpful and my sandwich delicious. I am glad we were able to return to savor its menu and atmosphere. Right next door was also the entrance to Phillip Marlow, Private Investigator, an added bonus.

The most depressing experience of the trip was to be had Saturday night at Rocks on the River. We knew this was going to be the most expensive meal of our visit and usually we wouldn’t care, but it was not worth the cost of admission. I understand that they were trying to maintain a certain clientele, but I can only imagine that means gullible and easily duped. The steak, while being the closest to medium rare I had had that weekend, came by itself. I had to order my potatoes and vegetables separately. That wouldn’t have been too bad except the price of the steak alone should have come with all of it already included. The service was slow and except for the company we brought with us, the atmosphere stuffy and spoiled. It is overrated and its companion bar Rocks on the Roof equally so. The only good thing about the bar was the view off the roof. As I think about it, the outside of the bar was all right, where the inside left a lot to be desired. The staff we encountered was cold and rude–we actually had to flag down someone to wait on us because we were ignored for the most part–and the seating ridiculous. I can understand trying to be trendy, but if this is what’s hip and happening now I hope it stays in Savannah and not venture down my way. This is another place–or rather two places–permanently crossed off our To Visit list.

Not my idea of  biscuits and gravy

Our last dining experience before hitting the road for home was at the SoHo South CafĂ© where we met for brunch. Again, another trendy place, but this one pulled it off for the most part. While the staff seemed confused most of the time and lost as to what they were doing and the food an attempt at the unique, the atmosphere and decor made up for it. The building is an old automotive service station they have left open and filled with an odd assortment of tables and chairs. Old doors decorate one wall and a piano waits to be played for the diner’s pleasure. It’s open and airy with a quaint feel to it. The food, though odd, was good, and the place would have been quickly on my Return list if the staff had not been so confused as to what they were supposed to be doing. They need updated menus and they need to provide more than one brunch menu for a table. They have a great set up and have been around since 1997, and I can see the appeal to the locals.

Most of the experiences were worth the visit and some I will return to, but I also look forward to going back and tasting what other places have to offer. The girls deserve the time out of the kitchen, after all.

This chair is broken!

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See what you've missed ~ Colonial Park Cemetery
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  1. 17Hundred90 was indeed the best place we ate at outside the house! Also, in my opinion, the only other decent place was Six Pence. I personally didn't care for it...good or bad....but that was just my limited taste in food I suppose. The atmosphere was nice and the food I had was ok, but I know almost everyone else enjoyed their Irish cuisine.

    Spot on with the whole "Rocks" experience. Pricey, pretentious, and just not a fun place...with the exception of the people we brought with us.

    I think the one place I will have to disagree with you was Soho. I understand what they were trying for with the decorating being "trendy", but I think most of it was lost on me. It was just a old garage that had been filled with junk and uncomfortable least mine was. My waffle was cold, they gave me enough butter and maple syrup (which was at least real), for almost half my waffle. My OJ...which cost $4 I think....came in a dixie cup size plastic tumbler, and the side of potatoes consisted of about 5 bites. Add to that, the confusion and seeming "first day on the job" service we got, It's a no go for me on a return visit.

    All that being said, it was a great trip, with great friends and I wouldn't mind going back.

    1. I remember you saying that about the waffle and syrup. And no place could cook a steak lol.