Thursday, belatedly celebrating my November birthday, I lunched with a friend at Houlihan's Restaurant in Savannah, Georgia.
It is located near the intersection of Georgia Highway 204 and I-95. In May of 2009, locals were deprived from eating there, due to a kitchen fire that shut the place down for six months. I have a bit of lost time to make up! As we studied the entertaining and extensive menu, we changed our minds frequently. It is deliciously descriptive and makes me hungry just reading it. After much mulling and a tiny bit of indecision, I chose the Wood-grilled Salmon, substituting the red bliss mashed potatoes for a creamy, Lemon-Asparagus Risotto. It also came with sauteed green beans. My lunch date chose the same thing. What we lacked in variety we made up for in enthusiasm.
The fish was cooked to perfection, arriving hot off the grill. The outside was crispy and brown while the inside, tender and moist. The flavor of wood permeated the salmon giving it a smoky flavor. Our risotto, studded with fresh asparagus chunks, was light and fresh tasting. The chef included a half lemon garnish, which I squeezed over my entire plate. The beans were still crisp and bright, hinting of garlic and olive oil. We both were members of the Clean Plate Club that day. With sated appetites and coffee in hand, we managed to share a dish of their famous creme brulee. I definitely won't need any dinner!
On other occasions I have chosen the fish tacos. Tender chunks of white fish tossed in panko crumbs, served in flour tortillas and topped with Chipotle mayo and napa cabbage dressed in a honey-cumin dressing. (Pardon me, I drooled just a little. I will have to go back soon for those.) My girls love the Blackened Chicken Quesadillas and the three mini hamburgers.
The overall assessment of Houlihan's was again a positive one. The restaurant's consistency is good and originality great, a characteristic prized by chains everywhere. The eclectic menu ranges from a simple, but delicious soup and salad to rich pot roast. This inventive quality is one of the reasons I enjoy dining at Houlihan's.
So, next time you're in a quandry over where to eat in Savannah, give 'em a whirl... you won't be disappointed.