Elizabeth on 37th Street
Regardless of any popularity polls, when Savannah foodies gather to compare notes on the city’s best restaurant, this venerable restaurant–in–a–mansion rises to the top of the list. Why? It’s a case of the entire package delivering an extraordinary experience. When most restaurants were still paying lip service to locally–sourced, natural ingredients, this crew was already growing their own herbs. Chef Kelly Yambor once told me that she wakes up in the morning and immediately makes calls to her fish suppliers to find out what’s the freshest catch. Kelly is a mom now, so I suspect her morning rituals may have new priorities, but Elizabeth on 37th continues to deliver contemporary interpretations of classic Southern cuisine.
A typical evening of specials will include locally caught seafood and wild Georgia shrimp, wonderfully flavorful pasture-raised poultry and pork – and veggies, mushrooms and rices that typify Lowcountry freshness.
Wine service is beyond compare – with the city’s largest cellar to harvest, it only takes asking good questions and identifying your tastes to score a perfect bottle to go with your meal. Service is gracious and customer focused.
For first–timers or novice foodies, I recommend a chef’s tasting menu. You will have some input into the choices – and wines paired with each flight will truly let you explore how food and wine harmoniously co–exist to create a memorable experience. I’m especially fond of Chef Kelly’s fish dishes, served over satiny, buttery succotash or earthy vegetable hash. “Specials” here are truly that – and not a device to clean out the freezer. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I ordered directly from the menu, preferring instead to let Chef Kelly deliver her best and freshest. Unique dietary needs and help celebrating special occasions are commonplace at Elizabeth on 37th – just ask.
Corner of 37th and Drayton streets/236–5547
Carlito’s Mexican Bar and Grill
I hoped something spicy would help clear the fog from my post–feverish brain and kick–start my taste buds. A parking place at the front door of Carlito’s was all the sign I needed. Like most Mexican eateries, the lunch menu at Carlito’s is a bargain–laden paradise further enhanced by a big basket of hot tortilla chips and a bowl of pungent salsa that offered just the right heat to soothe my stuffy head.
I settled on a dish low in cheese – a lunch portion of chicken fajitas. I can’t imagine that the dinner portion is any bigger – ’cause this plate was loaded! Of course, there was grilled chicken, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes served sizzling hot and ready to ladle into equally hot flour tortillas. Side dishes of nicely seasoned refried beans and a small salad of lettuce and tomato – dolloped with a spoonful of sour cream – rounded out a noontime feast. Service is fast and dependable. There is a good selection of beer and, naturally, a variety of frozen margaritas.
119 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd./232–2525
Why does everything look like a Moon Pie?