Category Archives: Fine Dining

Gourmet Girly in Atlantic City…

Yes, that is correct, I just got back from Atlantic City.  I had reservations to Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant but did not make it due to the horriffic travel conditions!!Yikes!!  So, for the food, this is what I had the pleasure of dining on while in the “Las Vegas of the East” (or at least that is what they say, right!)…

I had to have a cheesesteak while this close to Philly, so the only thing open at the time was Tony Luke’s Cheesesteaks  – sounded good, I mean, is it possible to mess up a regional favorite on home territory… I think it must be.  The flavor was alright, but it was not moist at all – even with the cheese that they said was on it – I think it melted into the dry bread, at least that is what I am guessing.  So, my hopes were up, but it did not pan out – the cheesesteak was not all that great – sorry Tony!

 For dinner the next night we had reservations at Bobby Flay Steak located in the Borgata Resort and Casino (which is where we were staying…that is a whole different blog!!).  Let me just say first – ALL of the restaurants located in the Borgata are beautiful, absolutly perfect atmosphere.  I loved the look and feel of all of the restaurants – fantastic!! For my dinner I had the Lobster-Crab Cake with Tomatilla Sauce and  and  Saffron Aioli.  Now I wanted this to be ‘mind blowing’, I really did, but the Lobster-Crab Cake was just pretty good – not outstanding, not mind blowing, but still very good.  I also had the Tuna TarTare with Classic Garnishes which was good, but again, not mind blowing.    We were quite suprised that there was nothing in the appetizers category that was not a seafood dish – my dining companion has alergies to seafood, so he was out of luck for the apps!!  Chef Flay – you, of all people, should know to have some diversity when it comes to your menu, especially when you have a restaurant called Bobby Flay STEAK – and all you do is offer seafood appetizers – what is up with that!

 Now, do I think that Bobby Flay was actually preparing the food – of course not, that would be absurd!! He is much to busy to be slaving over a hot grill (well, except on TV!).  But did I still expect something outstanding – yes, yes I did.  What I do know is that I was excited to go, pleased to dine on some great dishes and almost in heaven with the decor – so, I guess in some way it did live up to my expectations, just in different ways.

Great job Bobby!  You have succeded in providing me with a memorable dining experience, which, face it – that’s what anyone in the restaurant business strives to do with every customer.  Check out the website of the restaurant www.bobbyflaysteak.com located in the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, NJ 08401 – 866-692-6742 www.theborgata.com

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My Best Meal in Savannah so far…

I like all types of food, but I must say I am partial to seafood – in fact, I can not remember the last time I have ordered a steak at a restaurant – I have tasted, just not ordered. 

The other night I was in the mood for a good piece of fish – not a flimsly, thin slice of fish, a nice thick chunk that is substantial that melts in your mouth.  As we all know, this is easier dreamt of than found. 

Well, I got lucky!

I was at The New South Cafe the other night and ordered the Blackened Redfish from the menu.  This dish, for some reason, I have never had.  The Blackened Redfish is presented over a nice bed of Coconut-Leek Risotto with a Blood Orange GastriqueOH MY GOD!!  How on earth did this dish never make it to my pallet I have no idea.  This was the best dish I have ever eaten in Savannah.  The fish was perfectly seasoned – not too spicy, just right.  The coconut-leek risotto was to die for – the flavors blended so perfectly with every bite.  And if it could not get any better than that – the Blood Orange Gastrique was the perfect accompanyment that accented all of the flavors and married the entire dish to be a wonderfully created dinner that was so satisfying I did not want it to end!!!  The flavor that was left in my mouth was beautiful – spicy, sweet, sour, tart – all combined to make this a sensory explosion experience!

Now, I don’t usually write about individual dishes that I eat, but in this case – it is well deserved!

My hat goes of to the wonderful chefs at The New South Cafe for once again, creating an experience that all others will have to live up to in my book.

I won’t even say IF you go….this is a MUST GO…

The New South Cafe, 2601 Skidaway Road, Savannah, GA 31404

912-233-7558

www.thenewsouthcafe.com

The New South Cafe Express – Welcomed Addition

Just recently, The New South Cafe – which is one of my favorite ‘finds’ in Savannah, has added on to their wonderful restaurant with an ‘express’ cafe to the right side of the restaurant.  Meaning, in less than 30 minutes, you can get a wonderful, full plate of home cooked southern food, fresh and hot for $10 – including tax, and tea!! There are daily specials that will be the same each week (to allow you to plan your week around smothered pork chops and fried chicken – yummy!). 

I think the addition is a great concept and a fantastic idea for people working with time constraints for lunch, but still looking for a plate of yummy food.  Also, with fall and winter fast approaching, what a better way to stay warm throughout the day!

Some of the dishes that will remain constants each week are…Fried chicken, smothered pork chops, catfish fingers, salisbury steak and pecan crusted trout – with such side dishes such as collard greens, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash casserole and the best….let me say this one more time…THE BEST creamed corn I have ever had in my entire life!!!

So, for your $10, you get one meat, 2 sides and a corn muffin as well as your tea and tax!! In and out – good deal!

Check it out if you are on the eastside of town!  Oh yeah, they also will keep the Express side open until around 7 pm to allow you to pick up dinner sized portions to take home (that way you don’t have to cook – shhhh…you don’t have to tell anyone YOU didn’t cook it, right!! :))

The New South Cafe Express (located on the side of The New South Cafe), 2601 Skidaway Road, 912-233-7558

www.thenewsouthcafe.com

Watch out Paula Deen! The Big Guy is on your heels!

Review of Isaac’s on Drayton – Savannah

Isaac’s on Drayton was my destination the other night and luckily we had quite a large group so I was able to try many dishes.  Before I get to that, first, let’s talk atmosphere.   

I remember the location from the days that Churchill’s occupied it and was expecting the same dark, crowded, sort of cozy, fun ‘bar’ feel about it, but Isaac’s is not that ‘type’ of restaurant.  Isaac’s on Drayton is aiming, I believe, for a more upscale environment.  The décor was nice, colors were pleasing and artwork was ‘historic’.  Nice also is the fact that they have a small dining area upstairs for private parties as well as a very nice deck upstairs for outside seating which is great. 

Now, on to the food…Keep in mind I did NOT eat ALL of these appetizers by myself…I had a lot of help – just wanted to clarify that J! 

For the appetizers we had The Plantation Crab Cakes served on a puddle of roasted red pepper sauce, blue cheese & toasted pecan slaw – just ok for me.  In the Savannah world of Crab Cakes, I have had much, much better, but also much worse – for me, it was a little too much filler, but the flavor was nice. The Beef Roulade – very small, but several on the plate – the flavor was ok but they were kind of tough and not very exciting.  And last was the Baked Spinach & Cheese Dip and The Crab Au Gratin – both were very good – then again, smother anything in cheese and it puts a smile on my face! 

For my entrée I had “The Left Hook” – Pecan & Almond Encrusted Yellow Fin Tuna topped with Georgia Peach compound butter.  For me, I wish the Pecan & Almond “crust” would have been a less ‘ground’.  What I mean is that it was barely distinguishable as a ‘nut’ crust at all and they were so finely processed (into a powder) that it did not allow for any of the wonderful nutty flavor or texture to be had.  The cut of the Tuna was not the best, but it was cooked perfectly (rare) and the flavor of the tuna was good although, mine did not have any Georgia Peach compound butter on it, maybe the kitchen had ran out or just forgot it, so, it might have been a little more exciting with the Peach butter. 

For dessert we wanted the Crème Brule, but the torch was not working we were told, so we opted for the Chocolate Indulgence, which was pretty good – it’s Chocolate – of course it was good, right!! 

My overall experience was ok, just ok.  The appetizer price ranges are from $6 – $13 and their entrée price ranges are from $17 – $30.  Isaac’s has some good potential, but I think they need to work on the execution and development of their menu in order to gain respect from the locals and get repeat business from them. 

I will plan on coming back to check out Isaac’s on Drayton at another time. 

Pre-Review of The Local 11 Ten – Savannah

As I do many times prior to submitting a restaurant review I check out the menu of the restaurant that I plan on visiting. The Local 11 Ten is one of Savannah’s newest restaurants that has been getting a lot of buzz lately so I plan on doing a review of it very soon. I went to their website (which by the way does not do justice to the excellent and unique location that it resides within) and printed out their menu to review ahead of time.

Now, I can honestly say, I am not a professional chef or even a chef at all, but I do know the restaurant business fairly well and have worked in many types of restaurants from casual to fine dining. I do consider myself to be rather adventurous as far as my taste buds go and will try most anything at least once.Reading over the menu for The Local 11 Ten I was actually taken back a bit. By that, I mean, there were items on the menu that I have never heard of in my life. Ok, ok, call me what you wish, but if I need a translation book to read my menu and a Professional Chef Cookbook to explain the dishes, I am just a little unsure to be honest. This is not saying that I won’t order any of the dishes that confuse and scare me, I am just being honest. I am sure everything is very good – I will soon find out for myself

Here are some dishes that I am a little uneasy about…

  • Bacalao – salt cod-potato gratin, grilled toast (salt cod?? doesn’t’ wet my whistle)
  • Meatballs – pork and veal albondigas, jerez vinegar jus, golden raisins (what the…..?? Glad they said it was meatballs, otherwise I would have no idea what it was)
  • Soup – chilled sweat (not a typo on my behalf, but I think they meant to write Sweet (at least I hope)) pea soup, lobster salad, pea shoots – (No, don’t think so – cold pureed peas just doesn’t do it for me)
  • Beet Salad – (Now it does have goat cheese on it, so you would think I would go for it—but it is BEETS!-yuck)
  • Charcuterie Plate – fra’ mani salame toscano, caw caw creek prosciuto, bresaola (I have no idea what I just typed, but I think it is a few types of meat from fancy suppliers that I am not aware of – the names scare me but I would order it)

Some other names/descriptors in the main courses that I don’t recognize:Gascon sauce, paparadelle, barigoule, stinging nettle broth, hanger steak – It would not stop me from ordering the dishes, I just do not know what they are really.

I believe that when you visit a certain level of restaurant you either must be very educated in your knowledge and experience of gastronomy in general or you must be willing to order what is on the menu having no idea what it is and be completely happy about it (I suppose from my writings today, the later must be me). I also believe that when your diner decision leads you to a ‘finer’ quality of establishment, the “questioning” of the menu is frankly – out of the question.

My point that I am trying to make is that I don’t believe you have to go to such a major extent to try to be so descriptive with dishes that it confuses the average diner.

Before you beat me up with this, I do understand that they are trying to make their “stand” in Savannah as an upscale establishment that is doing what some others in Savannah are not, but I don’t think the extreme menu descriptors are necessary to impress….Impress them with the food, decor, staff and general atmosphere – not how fancy they can make a menu sound.

Now I know others have reviewed The Local 11 Ten recently and loved it, I will have to see for myself.

Like I say on my blog…“I am a Self-Proclaimed Foodie that enjoys the complete package of dining out. It is not all about the food at a restaurant, all factors come into play – atmosphere, staffing, decor and location are also very important. I just review restaurants for fun! Hope you enjoy!”

And of course…“Remember – Try new foods often and broaden your horizons, you might come across a flavor you never expected to love! Don’t deny yourself of that!” –

Will do – that is the fun part about doing this – trying new things!!!

See you soon Local 11 Ten!

Belford’s – Savannah Seafood & Steak

Crab Cakes

 

The location of Belford’s Savannah Seafood & Steaks is one of its main draw, but it doesn’t hurt to have excellent food, a great staff, outside dining patio and a wonderful atmosphere – oh yeah, did I say excellent food… 

 

Savannah’s City Market area is, in my opinion, the heartland of Savannah’s best dining.  With upscale neighbors such as Garibaldi’s and Savannah Bistro, eclectic fun neighbors such as Vinnie Van Go Go’s and Tapas and the casual comfort of City Market Café and the all-so-popular chain of Wild Wing’s – there is something for everyone in City Market!   

 

Belford’s has remained consistent for quite sometime now offering local dishes such as Shrimp, Greens & Grits with apple smoked bacon, green onions and a Chardonnay butter sauce served over buttery grit cakes and wilted collard greens and Grouper Provencal – a fresh filet of black grouper layered with sliced tomatoes, tapenade & topped with seasoned bread crumbs drizzled with olive oil, baked and served with steamed asparagus. 

But for me, and many, many others, their specialty remains to be their Crab Cake.   

Like I said in another review, a crab cake in Savannah is sometimes a measure of a restaurant.  For me….Belford’s has the best crab cake in town.  Others are good, some are fantastic – but they are not a “Belford’s” crab cake.   

Belford’s Crab Cake is a premium JUMBO lump crab cake with a lemon aioli and spicy tomato jam – sounds simple enough, right.  Well, it’s not.  The key here is “Premium Jumbo Lump Crab” – big chunks of juicy fresh crab meat, not broken down and very, very little filler.  Most restaurants do not use Jumbo lump crab due to the market price.  It can be a risky inventory if you are not selling them for the high price you must offer to get your money back, but at Belford’s – this is not a problem.  And trust me, it is worth the price you pay! 

So, if you go, and I would recommend that you try the Crab Cake, and afterwards this will be your measure of a crab cake for all other restaurants to achieve.  They are also open for breakfast and brunch – one of the few restaurants downtown that offers this!  Enjoy!  Belford’s Savannah Seafood & Steaks


315 West Saint Julian Street


Savannah, Georgia 31401912-233-2626

 

Review – Sam Snead’s Tavern – Savannah

Today I visited Sam Snead’s Tavern for lunch with a couple of friends.  I have grown into kind of a “chain” snob, meaning that I don’t really care for most of the chain restaurants now days, due to the fact that most of them taste like prepackage, frozen food that is dressed up to make you think they actually have a real chef in the kitchen, when really, anyone could do the job.  Don’t get me wrong, the good thing about chains is you know what you are getting – There are no surprises, no mysteries and no matter what location you go to, you will be getting the same dish, so for that, there is a comforting feeling of going to a chain restaurant. 

Sam Snead’s is a small chain consisting of 13 locations, mostly in Florida, but a few others scattered about – and of course, they mostly reside near a golf course.  If you are an avid golfer, you know who Sam Snead is and if you are a not a golfer, more than likely you still know the name.  Here are some stats: 

  • According to the PGA Tour points system, Sam Snead is the #1 ranked golfer of all time.
  • Snead has won tournaments throughout 6 decades.
  • He has set 164 course records.
  • He has made a hole-in-one with EVERY club in his bag except the putter!
  • He has had 34 holes-in-one and 4 double eagles.
  • Snead finished in the Top 10 358 times, and in the Top 25 473 times.

 

Ok, back to the restaurant.  The reason I listed these major accomplishments and proof of ‘greatness’ is that a restaurant with his name attached to it would need to reflect him. 

First walking in, the décor is very classy, lots of dark wood and of course, golf paraphernalia scattered about, but not overly exposed.  I had the Oak Grilled Chicken Flat Bread with Roasted Red Peppers, Goat Cheese and a Balsamic Glaze.  The Flat Bread is kind of like a pizza, but it is very thin and served on a narrow plank about 2 feet long and cut into strips – how cool is that!!  The flavor was wonderful, the texture was crispy and the presentation was fantastic.   

Some other things on the menu sound great as well, such as the Alpine Chicken with spinach, wild mushrooms, Emmenthaler swiss cheese and basil red skin mashed potatoes; the Gulf Shrimp and Maine Lobster Capellini in a light tomato cream sauce; and the Fresh Grilled Mahi-Mahi with cilantro line butter and yellow rice! I will be back to try some of these. 

Overall, this is a very classy, not an overexposed reflection of one of the greatest golfers in history.  The menu is fantastic, the décor is lovely and the overall experience hit the spot.  This is a great restaurant chain that truly is a reflection of Sam Snead in all of his ‘greatness’.  A must visit for golfers and non-golfers alike! 

Sam Snead’s Tavern

7 Sylvester C. Formey Drive


Savannah, GA
31408
912-963-0797