Cotton & Rye

1801 Habersham StSavannah, GA 31401 • (912) 777-6286 • cottonandrye.com
 

Billed as one of the top places to go according to Eater, Wifey and I hit this James Beard nominated, Vault wannabe (also a bank renovation), edge of town location, for their southern-with-a-twist (a la Husk) cuisine. Yes, a lot of sub-references on this one as it seems to be one of those places architected to be a success, right down to its ampersand.

Ampersand aside though, the meal began with a promising start marked by a pair of winners, the grilled Caesar salad and the Ultimate fried chicken wings sauced with honey, chili and sumac to help those babies soar like a mofo!

For entrees, Cotton & Rye stumbled a bit. The pork shoulder tagliatelle was a touch bland and in dire need of salt, pepper and parm. But the far greater disappointment came from the pork chop. Mostly because of the stratospheric recommendation from not one, but two different waiters, claiming unequivocally that this was hands-down the best pig chop in town (mainly predicated on the fact that it was sous vide). Which I suppose should’ve been my red flag, because more often than not it’s been my experience that sous vide is really code for “big disappointment,” chef’s always relying too much on the juices and not enough on the seasoning or accompaniments. Worse still, is that these waiters could not have been more wrong. A FAR superior chop exists less than a mile away at Elizabeth’s on 37th. I even asked the waiters if they had Lizzy’s chop before making such wild assertions, but neither of them had (yet, another red flag).

Dessert boded well though, with an apple crumble bread pudding. Two of my favorite things in one dessert. Kinda hard to fuck that one up.

So a little more work on the main event and I’d agree with Eater, but until then, head to The Grey if you truly want Savannah’s best.

The Ultimate Pork Chop

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While Ted Allen claims this distinction should go to Vinegar Hill House in Brooklyn, NY, he is flat out wrong. I’m sorry Ted, but perhaps you need to get your prescription checked because your “Queer Eye” isn’t seeing so clearly. In New York City alone there is better. The Little Owl quite handily tops Vinegar Hill with its chop.

Elizabeth on 37th – Savannah, GA

But as long as we’re talking serious chops, let’s get to the choppiest? Elizabeth on 37th in Savannah, Georgia. Now this restaurant is no stranger to praise, consistently ranked among the top three in town and winner of a James Beard. Well, that’s all nice to have, but now they can add an Ultimate from the Ferocious Foodie to their list! I know, they have probably been sitting on pins and needles awaiting my decree, but the wait is over.

What sets Elizabeth apart from the rest isn’t that it’s perfectly cooked, although that’s obviously table stakes, it’s that the accompaniments aren’t the usual suspects. No potatoes. No green vegetable. No apples or cinnamon. Not even sauce. Just creamy, dreamy five cheese mac and brilliant, refreshing red cabbage slaw that pulled your palate in so many directions per bite it was like tongue-yoga. Which sounds rather uncomfortable, but just think how good you feel after stretching. That’s how your mouth will be, sighing wistfully at your empty plate as it recalls what it just experienced.

The Collins Quarter

151 Bull St. Savannah, GA 31401 • (912) 777-4147 thecollinsquarter.com

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This Australian transplant and relative newcomer is off to a pretty popular start because the place was packed from the time we arrived at 1:00pm to the time we left at 2:30pm. And for good reason, Collin has pretty great menu, cool decor and very friendly service, albeit a bit slow, but I’m guessing that was mostly due to how busy it was- a good problem to have if you are Mister Collin.

A lesser ideal problem is that they are a bit hit and miss.

Among the hits I would like to give a round of applause to the burger. It’s very, very good. Made from ground brisket, served on a brioche and topped with an onion aioli. But if you want to make it truly transcendent, I recommend adding bacon and taking that slaw on the “side” and putting it “on top.” There is a certain alchemy that takes place between great slaw and great meat that never ceases to amaze me. From Virgil’s pulled pork sandwich in New York City to Elizabeth on 37th’s pork chop with mac and slaw it’s a classic combination that could give Oreo and milk a run for its money.

Another apparent hit across the table was the Aussie Brecky. Basically a kitchen sink of brunchy-type things. Fried eggs, bacon, andouilli sausage, peppers, onions, etc… I only tried the bacon from it, but as bacon goes, and if it was any indicator of the dish at large, I’d say it was pretty darn good.

The miss, however was “The Catch.” A rotating dish based on the local fish market bounty. On that day it was flounder, set amidst fried eggs, potatoes and few other odds and ends that sounded better on the menu than they tasted in the field. And this is after having to add both salt and pepper to try and eke some flavor out of it.

But while we’re on the menu and talking about things sounding good, while I didn’t actually try it, there is a S’mores hot chocolate that has my name on it the next time I’m in town. It sounds pretty insane. I also hear their lavender latte is crazy sick as well.

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Sandfly BBQ

8413 Ferguson Ave. Savannah, GA 31406 • (912) 356-5463 sandflybbq.com

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If it weren’t for word of mouth and Yelp, you’d probably never think twice about stepping in here. Not only is it located in a tiny strip mall, but it looks almost like a poor man’s fast food joint on a respirator- not unlike several of the centurion patrons who managed to gobble down bites in between sips of oxygen from the air hose under their nostrils. I’m guessing they are either try to get into heaven quicker, or they just want a little taste of it before they settle down there more permanently.

Now I’m not sure I would go as far as to call Sandfly’s BBQ heavenly, but there are clearly those who would. That said, it most certainly is worth the visit, provided you don’t mind the Diners, Drive ins and Dives type decor. And to be fair, I’m not even sure if it’s enough of a dive to even make it onto Guy Fieri’s radar.

But the food doesn’t disappoint, after all, it doesn’t get packed by 6pm because it’s bad. To be fair it’s only about 8 tables, but I’m guessing the case would be the same even if they had twenty. So what’s all the fuss? Well, the brisket is solid, as is the pulled pork. And they offer three sauces on every table, one hot, one sweet, one mustardy. All three are good, but my favorite was actually the sweet.

The stars for me were the sausage with peppers and onions, which went killer with the mustardy sauce and the baked beans, which needed nothing but a mouth to call home. A distant third worth getting is also the fried okra. Nothing special, but since I’m a Yankee transplant, I’m a bit of a sucker for the dish.

On the mediocre side of things were the onion rings and the collard greens. And bringing up the rear was the abysmal, watery coleslaw. Sorry, I feel the need to be especially harsh on the slaw because Savannah is the site of two of the best slaws I think I’ve ever had, between Elizabeth on 37th and The Collins Quarter.

And last but not least, the biggest disappointment of the night was the one thing I never even got to try. So hyped up was their infamous coconut cake, “made from scratch everyday.” Well, apparently not EVERY day, because they didn’t bother to make it the day I went. Grudge holder? Perhaps. But not enough to keep me from going back.

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