Paula Deen Don't Make Fried Green Tomatoes Good As Mama
My daughter is a big Paula Deen fan and when I planned my vacation to come to visit her in Bluffton, South Carolina I told her I wanted to see the sights. The first thing she suggested was, "Let's eat at Paula Deen's restaurant in Savannah." I don't have cable TV, so I'd only seen this witty Southern lady cook on Oprah and a few other daytime programs, but enjoyed her immensely. I figured it would be fun to come home and tell my friends I ate at the famous Lady & Sons in Savannah, Georgia, so I was all for going. This turned out to be much more an experience than just having lunch while we toured that great Southern city.
Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons
We arrived at 9:25 AM to stand in line for a lunch seating time. The line was already a block and a half long, but they were well organized and the wait wasn't too bad. Our party of six drew 10:45AM. We were instructed to come back a few minutes ahead of time and wait on the opposite side of the street.
That wait seemed longer since we were on the sunny side of the street and it was a warm day in June. Names were called and tickets handed out. Just before letting folks in the restaurant the cook came out with a triangle and rang the dinner bell. "Are you hungry?" she yelled. We all replied yes, but apparently our wait in the sun had weakened our voices, so she asked us again. After a short, entertaining banter she returned presumably to the kitchen to cook our food.
We were seated on the 3rd floor. The capacity is 300, one hundred per floor. Happily, a hostess escorted us to an elevator. She announced there was only one restroom for the whole restaurant, and after some painful groans said, "Just kidding."
The tables carried me back to my school lunchroom days. They were old institution style oak tables and chairs. The chairs scraping on the wood floor further brought back childhood memories.
The service was pure southern hospitality at its finest. Our waitress recommended the Southern buffet and that's what we all had. Our drink orders were taken. Tea was served with lemon and a sprig of mint. We were served complimentary piping hot hoecake and cheesy garlic biscuits. We asked if fried green tomatoes were on the buffet, and since they were not we ordered them as appetizers.
"Are You Ready to Eat?"
Paula Cooks Fried Green Tomatoes
Now, if you are from up north you would have probably given the buffet and fried green tomatoes five stars. But, if you grew up in the south with a mama who raised you on good, traditional southern cooking you might find yourself muttering, "Mama cooked better fried green tomatoes than this - or fried chicken, collard greens, etc."
My opinion is that the tomatoes were not acid enough; in fact they were bland. The breading was crispy and not too greasy. Very good, but I like my mama's recipe best. The fired chicken wasn't good as Mama's either, but then my Mama made the best fried chicken in the world. Just ask anybody who ever ate it.
I did think the baked macaroni and cheese was excellent, and the okra. The buffet also had spaghetti and sauce, lima beans, green beans, collard greens, and salad fixings. My favorite was the dessert: a chocolaty brownie that was just scrumptious.
After we finished lunch we went downstairs to the gift shop. Actually, it wasn't a shop, but a booth where once again we stood in a long line and had to give the clerk our orders across a desk. No browsing around inside. Tee-shirts, cookbooks, seasonings, cups and mugs and hoe cake mix in burlap bags were among the items for sale.
All in all, the experience was fun and the six of us can tell folks we ate at Paula Deen's The Lady and Sons Restaurant. Next time I want to eat at the Pirate House, where they claim to have a resident ghost.
The Lady and Sons is located at 102 West Congress Street, Savannah, Ga. For more information visit their website http://www.ladyandsons.com/ or call 912-233-2600.
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