We ate at a new Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood 2 months ago. It wasn’t very good. As I was leaving, I looked around and realized that Ruth, Diane, Ed, and I were its only non-Asian customers and concluded that it was too authentic for American tastes. I just learned that it has already closed.
I don’t usually recommend restaurants because they may not last until I get the chance to write about them. According to research reported on RestaurantOWNER.com, 27% of new restaurants fail within a year. After 3 years 50% are gone, and 70% don’t make it past their 10th birthday. But sometimes we have such great food on a trip that I decide to make an exception. This happened in The South.
In Atlanta on our first night we ate at South City Kitchen Midtown, where I had one of the best restaurant meals of my life. Check its website for location, hours, etc. It’s cuisine is Southern and definitely not for dieters. Its specialty is Buttermilk Fried Chicken, but Ruth and I both had Smoked Pork Chops. Ruth fell in love with Fried Green Tomatoes here and subsequently had them whenever they were on a menu. I had a similar experience with grits but stopped ordering this dish when we took a cooking class and I learned that it’s butter and cream that makes this ubiquitous Southern dish so tasty.
Ruth and I love to get recommendations. Before this trip Ruth’s friend Barb suggested SNOB (Slightly North of Broad) in Charleston, South Carolina, and Alligator Soul in Savannah, Georgia. Both absolutely require reservations and both are exceptional. SNOB’s one of those rare restaurants that shares recipes with diners. We left with several. Alligator Soul, which specializes in Southern cuisine, prides itself on what it calls “Wild and Adventurous” eating. The chef tries to feature something rather exotic, like kangaroo, on the menu each night. Ruth, of course, had fried green tomatoes.
The other Savannah restaurant I’d recommend is 17Hundred90. It’s in a historic, nicely restored inn, reportedly this city’s oldest, and is supposedly haunted according to its owner, who regaled us with stories. The primary resident ghost is Anna, a servant who became pregnant by a sailor who abandoned her.
While in Savannah, also stop in and sample Leopold’s ice cream. Founded by 3 Greek brothers in 1919, Leopold’s was “re-established” by movie producer Peter Stratton (Mission Impossible 3, etc.) and his wife Mary in 2004. Prepare to wait in line at Leopold’s, which also serves sandwiches, soups, and salads. Everyone I saw, however, was consuming ice cream.
Hilton Head has so many restaurants that it tends to list them geographically in travel literature–North End, Mid-Island, and South End. South End alone has about 60 dining spots. We could have but didn’t have a great meal there. This time.