Tag Archives: restaurant review

Dining at Cafe 37 , Savannah, Georgia

Ann and I have a bad tendency to be stay-at-home mud-sticks. After two-plus years of living on the Georgia coast, we can count on the fingers of one hand the new restaurants we’ve visited. So we’ve made a New Year’s resolution and pact with our friends, Ted and Lori, to take ourselves out to someplace new for a good meal once every month.

Cafe 37, 37th Street at Abercorn, Savannah, Ga.

February’s choice last night was Cafe 37 , a cosy and unassuming bistro tucked into the ground floor of a commercial conversion of one of the old houses on 37th Street at Abercorn, in Savannah. The kitchen, we were told, is upstairs, and I forgot to ask if they use a dumbwaiter to shuttle plates and platters up and down. (I always loved the silliness that dumbwaiter-business permitted in old movies, people cramming themselves into them, or climbing up the ropes in noir mysteries.)

Our table was waiting for us, and throughout the evening the service was congenial and precise.

For openers, the table bread was fresh and piping hot. Three of us had the house salad, which was garnished with hot sugar-glazed pistachios and a sweet dressing. Ted shared bites of his escargot in roasted-garlic butter.

The filet mignon at Cafe 37

I ordered the seed-encrusted tuna, flash-seared and very rare, on a bed of couscous, and garnished with tart greens and papaya. Exquisite! Ann had the red snapper in a generous and meaty lobster sauce, with greens, mushrooms and vegetables. We shared many bites, and couldn’t decide which was better. Our friends ordered the tuna, and the filet mignon, which was garnished with baby asparagus, and looked just splendid.

The wives were four-square onboard for Afters, while the men spent a moment hanging back, but in the end one of EACH of the four dessert offerings was ordered and brought to table, with a pact made to take a bite and pass the plate round.  It was a carousel including: 1. A rich chocolate flourless-torte cake. 2. A molten-chocolate-lava dessert, semi-sweet with a dab of real whipped cream. 3. A New York-style blueberry cheesecake. And 4. A fabulous creme-brulee. The plates gathered speed, reversed course, and started making direct crossings of the table as well. Soon it was a free-for-all resembling a figure-8 demolition-derby. Fortunately, no crockery got smashed.

It was a wonderful evening, and for Ann and me, an early St. Valentine’s celebration. Cafe 37 has our whole-hearted recommendation for fine dining in Savannah. I hope you try it sometime soon.

Cha Bella, Broad and Broughton Streets, Savannah, Ga.

Tonight we dined out at a place we’ve come to love up in Savannah, called Cha-Bella.  We drove up with our neighbors, Ron and Jannette, stopping for cocktails first at the cellar tavern at The Olde Pink House, some blocks away.

The tavern was dark and comforting, with a welcoming gas log and deep leather chairs. Ann’s Long Island Iced Tea, and our friend’s martinis were well-constructed, and my Walker Red was a generous pour. Serendipitously, we kept meeting people whose life tapestries  bore similar threads to our own, and the conversations flowed easily until it was time to walk over to Cha-Bella.

Walking across the squares of Savannah on a Saturday night is always pleasant, the city being full of students and their limitless energy. We passed some SCAD photography students lying across the sidewalk on their bellies shooting film for some project as if it was as normal as strolling.

Cha-Bella was warm and softly lit as we arrived.

For dinner we ordered the grouper special served with avocado slices over risotto, a plate of yellow-fin tuna, chicken breast braised in olive oil, and a breaded pork cutlet. I, myself, had a chance to sample both fish platters, and found myself wishing I had ordered the tuna, not that the grouper was lacking in merit. The darker flavors of the tuna were simply a better match for the Merlot accompanying the meal.

The meal was splendid, as was the company. Our conversations ranged from easy journeys and pleasant vacations to dead-stick landings and storms at sea, and from raising babies to the joys of the empty nest.

I hope we dine so well again soon!

— Elliott