On a recent early fall afternoon, my partner and I decided to forego our usual downtown lunchtime fare to make the short drive to Sandfly and one of our favorite eateries, Driftaway Café. Fifteen minutes away from almost anywhere in Savannah, Driftaway is a short hop-skip for locals and perfectly situated for visitors of Wormsloe Plantation. No matter what you order, be it lunch or dinner, Driftaway is one of those restaurants where you always know that your food will be excellent. As usual, we were not disappointed.
Casual in décor and atmosphere, we said hello to the bartender as we entered and managed to nab a booth in the rear sunroom overlooking a gurgling creek and thatch of woods. The outdoor area is lighted in the evening, creating an intimate dinner setting when viewed from the candlelit interior, but don’t get the idea that the place is ever stuffy. Fiberglass shark wall mounts lend to the air of laidback fun, making Driftaway the ideal spot for an informal date night or a Saturday afternoon watching SEC football on the front deck.
The staff at Driftaway is always friendly, and a server promptly took our drink order before suggesting the new ‘firecracker shrimp’ appetizer, which is rapidly becoming the latest success. Having enjoyed the spinach and artichoke dip as well as the crispy calamari appetizers on previous visits, we regretfully declined the shrimp in favor of the fried green tomato “Oscar”. The flour dusted green tomatoes, covered with warm crabmeat, were presented over grilled asparagus with a smoky ranch sauce drizzled on top. It tasted as good as it sounds. I couldn’t imagine a better choice for an appetizer, but like I said, everything at Driftaway is exceedingly pleasing to the taste buds.
Having paid homage to my Southern roots with the fried green tomatoes, I perused the salads and noticed that two of my previous selections, the tuna nicoise and blue crab with asparagus salads were still featured on the menu. While Driftaway offers several wonderful ‘turf’ items, being the seafood lover that I am and in the mood to try something new, I honed in on the spicy tuna tacos; spice encrusted Ahi tuna, seared rare and topped with house made pico de gallo and chipotle firecracker sauce.
Anticipating the flavor fest to come, I asked my partner what he was inclined to order and those brown eyes guiltily met mine over his menu. Being the fried food connoisseur that he is, and not merely satisfied with the lightly battered green tomato appetizer, I knew that he was grappling with his recently adopted all-healthy eating regime. He had chosen the house favorite; the “full house” grouper sandwich, available grilled, blackened or fried, served all the way with roasted red pepper remoulade on a freshly toasted hoagie. Years of experience told me which method of cooking he was sold on, but since everything at Driftaway is expertly prepared and never greasy, I knew that I wanted a bite of the sandwich as well.
Our server quickly returned to take our orders, knowledgeably answering any questions that we had and heartily approving our choices. As she departed, Driftaway owner Robyn Quattlebaum stopped by to say hello and chat about the new GaySavannah Online format. We discussed the idea of having a Gay Savannah Takeover Night, where a particular featured restaurant offers specials to our readers one night out of each month, and he was enthusiastic about the concept. Stay tuned for further developments…
When our ‘entrees’ were placed before us, we both knew that we had personally made the right decisions. I looked down at my perfectly seared Ahi tuna, salivary glands working overtime, when I glanced across the table at the enormous display of crispy grouper on my partner’s plate. He looked up with the same expression that a child reserves for Christmas morning, and I knew that we had two new hits on our hands. Every bite was sheer pleasure, and we returned to work happily stupefied in a food coma.