My twin, Janet, invited me to Savannah, while she was there on a business trip. She had an extra bed at the B & B where she stayed, and she thought it might be a great chance for us to catch up. Love my sister.
"The great house stands before you lit up like a ship at sea in the night," is how author Pat Conroy described Elizabeth on 37th, the restaurant where we dined Thursday night. We had one of the most extraordinary, albeit one of the most expensive, meals I'd ever had.
Sharing the same adventurous palate, Janet and I both ordered the blissfully indulgent, seven-course, chef's tasting menu with wine pairings.
First course, salmon with wasabi and ginger; mussel covered with tomato aioli; and a cream puff filled with Asiago cheese. The dish was served with a lovely, glass of light Mosel riesling.
Next, we were served a bowl of three shrimp. My immediate thought was, "You've got to be kidding." But then the server poured a chilled, tomato-based gazpacho over the trio, and I was in heaven.
A bowl of garnishes was brought for the gazpacho: celery peppercorn vodka in a shot glass, homemade pickles and radish slivers, added a subtle zing.
Especially the vodka! We laughed when Janet suggested maybe we could just use a straw.
Our next course included oven-baked grouper with kalamata olives and homemade mayonnaise, smoked sea trout and a glass of smooth, New Zealand pinot gris. The wine was getting better and better.
Paired with a nice rose' wine from Spain was a mashed, black-eyed pea patty with shredded collard greens in a raspberry vignaigrette and dots of curry sauce. Made of all "southern" ingredients, the dish was very "Savannah."
We also enjoyed a salad of fresh, mixed greens and basil leaves with watermelon and feta cheese. I began to notice as each course was served our wine glasses were getting larger and the serving more generous.
Coming into the home stretch were a nut-crusted grouper on top of a peanut sauce served with sliced crispy potatoes, paired with an oaky, California chardonnay.
The pork looked a little burnt, but I assure you it wasn't. Cooked with five spice it came with a three-cheese macaroni and collard green and green apple slaw. Accompanied by a slightly dry shiraz, this dish was one of our favorites.
At this point in the meal, we were a bit behind on our wine drinking — as you can see by all the glasses on the table. "Keep drinking," I said to Janet, half in jest.
To cleanse the palate, we savored a lemon and tupelo honey sorbet in Champagne. It was divine.
Dr. Albert Wall, the owner of the Stephen Williams House — our home away from home — had urged us to order an Elizabeth on 37th dessert. Not one to ignore a doctor's orders, I chose a sophisticated, goat cheese cheesecake. It was creamy decadence!
Janet tried a piece of the retaurant's signature sponge cake, which she completely relished.
Our multi-course extravaganza was an unforgetable experience my sister and I will be talking about for years. If you ever go to Savannah, Elizabeth on 37th is a must.
105 East 37th Street