Sharon and I have a history of visiting a city just so that we can revisit a restaurant we’ve eaten at on a previous trip. We’ve done so in Dublin and Sedona, and it’s part of why we keep going back to Texas for the BBQ.
When we were planning our first big post-coronavirus trip, we knew it would be a road trip. I looked for stops that would split our driving into reasonable distances but one location stood out for another reason. Almost exactly between home and Asheville, NC was Savannah, GA. It was easy to find a roadside hotel where I could use one of my free night certificates.
Once we made it to the hotel, it was still early in the evening. Part of the appeal of stopping in Savannah was the possibility we’d be able to eat at one of our favorite restaurants in all of the southeastern US, The Olde Pink House.
Built back in 1771, Habersham House has been a part of Savannah’s history. The building started to be called the Olde Pink House when the red brick started to turn the original white color to pink. It’s was the home to the first bank in Georgia. Through a storied history, it eventually fell into disrepair until 1992 when it was restored and turned into a first-class restaurant.
If the Food Network asked me, The Olde Pink House is the home of “The Best Thing I’ve Ever Ate.” Unfortunately, at the time, taking pictures of the food wasn’t a thing and I couldn’t remember what it was except that it was a fish dish I ate it here.
Since Sharon and I have very strong feelings about currently only eating outdoors at restaurants, we had little hope of getting a table at The Olde Pink House on short notice. In fact, we were told they were booked for the evening we planned to be in town. When we arrived so early at our hotel, we decided to head there first and try our luck and if it didn’t work out, we could try somewhere else.
We could see why outdoor seating was limited as it was only a few tables located in the front courtyard. I walked up to the front door where we met a greeter with an iPad. I asked if there was any possibility for a party of 2 to get an outside table that evening. He apologized that the dining room was fully committed but he walked me around the corner of the building where the bar had set up a few tables on the sidewalk. Speaking to a new greeter, I asked if we could get a table and she said they could seat us in about 90 minutes. Perfect!
We walked around Savannah for a bit, forgetting what a pain it is actually to get down to the river and got back to the restaurant 45 minutes later. We decided to get some drinks and wait it out on some chairs they spaced around the area. Sharon got her usual order of “something bubbly,” and I had to get a taste of the Woodford Mule made with The Olde Pink Houses’ exclusive blend of Woodford Reserve, house made ginger ale and bitters.
In just 10 more minutes, she said that our table was ready.
Looking over the menu, I didn’t see anything that looked familiar.
We split the sauteed local shrimp with country ham gravy, cheddar cheese grits cake for an appetizer. Essentially a fancy way to serve shrimp and grits.
I ordered the grilled pork tenderloin with bourbon molasses, double baked potato and collards, which was good to the last scrape of the plate for dinner.
Not realizing it, Sharon ended up ordering my favorite dish. Crispy scored flounder with an apricot shallot sauce, Geechie Boy grits and collard greens.
I can’t explain to you how wonderfully different this dish is from anything else I’ve ever eaten. They score the flounder with diamond-shaped cuts and then pan cook it in the apricot sauce. Before serving, it’s crisped under the broiler. It’s presented with the crispy side up. Sharon was given instructions on how to properly eat the dish to avoid getting a mouth full of fish bones.
After scraping each section off the top, she was to pick up the fish by the tail and turn it over. From there, the fish turned from crispy wonderfulness to a fatty, flaky fish simmered in apricot sauce greatness. When I tasted it, it was like eating two different dinners on the same plate. Each side of the fish tasted totally different, while both were amazingly yummy.
Considering that Sharon finished the whole fish except for the piece of each side that she let me taste, I’d say she enjoyed it as much as I did over 10 years ago.
For dessert, we couldn’t pass up a peanut butter mousse with chocolate ganache. For those who have eaten at the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World, it was similar to a Zebra Dome but 10x better.
As we were sitting outside, finishing the last of the dessert, I sighed. Sharon asked why and I said, “I’m afraid that we might have just had the best meal of the trip and it’s only the first night.”
Check out the rest of our dining reviews of the trip to see if it was right.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary