By far the coolest thing about The Grey, Savannah’s hottest new restaurant, is hearing about its history from the people who lived it. The restaurant is inside a converted Greyhound bus terminal, which the owner has modernized while maintaining the glitz of its original art deco touches. As soon as we sat down, my father began pointing out where he stood in line for the bus he took to BBYO conventions as a teen. Then he pointed to another spot and explained how he remembers the station being segregated. Take away the swanky new bar, and I can picture the bygone era.
The next best thing about The Grey is the food. I should have expected greatness from an owner who lives walking distance from my NYC apartment and a chef who served time at one of my favorite New York restaurants. But in practice, it’s even better than I thought it would be. The Grey brings the big city mixology, hipster moustaches, and elevated approach to Savannah while seamlessly weaving in the touchpoint ingredients of my hometown.
We started with some apps from the raw bar. My Daddy ordered a half dozen oysters that came with the most adorable dropper bottle for the mignonette. It was a très mignon way to serve mignonette. The rest of us split a small but tasty crudo of the day that had a light oil dressing that was pure velvet. Four of us then had the gazpacho and it may have been the best I’ve ever had. The soup was pureed to a smooth consistency with a red onion and squash garnish that gave it the choppy texture you’re accustomed to without feeling like you had to chew too much. It was just enough onion and garlic to add spice, but not so much that you felt like you were breathing fire.
After that, we ordered pretty much the entire menu. Sadly, the clams and dumplings were sold out, but Mom and Allison made do with the country pasta (a take on caccio e pepe) and the salmon with sunflower seed puree. “Made do” is code for licked their plates clean. Mark and Daddy split the ribeye for two with bone marrow butter and I ordered the sizzling smokey pig, which was oh man oh man. Pulled pork gets nice and crispy in a cast iron skillet and is then topped with a fried egg and a little red pepper jelly. Hush puppies are served on the side so you can make a delectible little sandwich. We also ordered the okra and smoked collards as sides to share. Daddy favored the okra, but my heart lies with those smokey collards. When everyone else started getting full I just pulled that dish in front of my place setting and went to town. Finally, we ordered the creme caramel to share. It was just firm enough but still nice and silky. I don’t think I’ve seen the traditional French dessert on a single Savannah dessert menu; that alone would make it special. But the coconut rum sauce and banana fritters that finished off the dish brought the whole meal home for me.
Much like the building it occupies, I think The Grey has true staying power.