Newcomers who find this unobtrusive Tybee Island restaurant think it's a well guarded secret. It's not.
In fact, Sundae Cafe came out of the chute fast and has stood the test of time in a market that has gobbled up other restaurants with rising taxes, a wildly changing seasonal population and discouraging gasoline prices.
Today, don't even think about going for dinner without a reservation.
Nestled between a convenience store and a package liquor store, the location is not sexy, not well marked and not even a particularly attractive store front.
Oh, but it's what inside that counts.
Generous portions guarantee full bellies, great flavors insure satisfaction and variety in the menu means almost anyone, almost, can find something they enjoy.
I squeezed in early on a Friday night to enjoy early Mother's Day dinner with my mom and Ms. T.J. At 6:30, the place as packed - and no more seats were available that night.
We began by sharing a chopped salad, a classic combination of about 20 ingredients that offers fresh greens, tangy blue cheese and that deliciously comforting taste of bacon bits. As much as we liked it, we picked carefully, knowing our entrees would be overwhelming.
T.J.'s pair of crab cakes were meaty and perfectly fried. The okra and tomatoes were not the usual overstewed version, but fresh veggies that has been coaxed into tenderness with either a quick par-boil or a light saute. It was an entirely new expression of this classic and often overdone Southern side dish.
Mom chose the crab stuffed, bacon wrapped shrimp - one of my favorites from Sundae Cafe's menu. She's not a big eater, so one filled her up. T.J. And I split one - and the remainder made an awesome lunch the next day.
My lamb chops, at about $27, were, in absolute honesty, the best lamb chops I've ever eaten. This full rack of eight chops was amazingly tender, beautifully seasoned and a real bargain. Preparation was toward the medium-rare side, which was perfect for these thick and delicious chops.
Even though the lamb chops will lull you into ecstasy, take time to bask in the decadence of steamy hot Boursin mashed potatoes and old-school steak house creamed spinach.
We took desserts to go, ask which are made in house - they are among the best and most inventive you'll find anywhere.
Service is spot on and the wine list offers plenty of by-the-glass options, as well as very fair bottle prices.
304 1st Street, Tybee Island/786-7694
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