The Lady and Sons
102 West Congress Street Savannah, Georgia 31401
Walking down the street in downtown Savannah, hungry and unfamiliar with the surroundings, I was immediately excited to see that I happened to accidentally find myself within blocks of Paula Deen’s southern food restaurant called The Lady and Sons!
This iconic destination is very well known in the south for its down home cooking and charming southern hospitality. I remembered seeing Paula Deen and her sons on television often in years past, as she is known for her Food Network cooking show as well as her many cookbooks. I also recalled her and her family having an incredibly popular restaurant in Savannah, that visitors from near and far would line up down the sidewalks just to get a taste of her food from her restaurant.
I could not believe it, that I could have been so lucky as to stumble upon Paula’s famous restaurant by sheer luck one Wednesday afternoon in February.
Little did Paula and her sons know, but I am such a southern food lover. Something about the south, with its beautiful people and culture, landscape, warm weather, the history, and all of the amazing recipes and food that grew out of all these important things has made me truly love being there. It draws me in so very deeply to want to know more and experience more. I am fascinated with all southern food. Its simplicity and down home flavors combined with minimalistic plating and really pleasing food to the palette and tummy. True soul food at its finest!
I quite literally could not get inside The Lady and Sons restaurant fast enough.
As I entered, I could see lots of large pictures hanging on the walls of Paula, her husband, and her sons. They were big and colorful and inviting to see, for all of us tourists who admire her and her success in the food industry.
The ambiance at The Lady and Sons was a bit diner-like, and not generally one of my favorite styles for a restaurant, but it worked somehow in making guests like me feel right at home there.
The very friendly waitress greeted my guest and me, and she brought us the drinks we ordered and menus promptly with a smile.
I ordered sweet tea for my beverage, as I can never pass up on this delicious sugary tea while visiting the south. Southerners really know how to make this refreshing tea so super well. What a nice surprise it was, when I received my sweet tea from the waitress, and it had been garnished so beautifully. It had not only a piece of thick cut lemon, but also a nice sprig of fresh mint too.
We all know that we drink with our eyes as much as we eat with our eyes.
Well, my sweet tea was lovely to look at, as well as tasted exactly as I had remembered so fondly from my past visits to the south.
I explained to the waitress (with my own level of exuberant enthusiasm) that I was a professional chef, and that I write a food blog. I told her that I also do restaurant and food reviews, and that I could not be any happier to have stumbled upon this restaurant I had always wished to try.
I also explained to her that I am always on a personal quest to find the very BEST shrimp and grits that I can find anywhere, especially when I visit the south.
I told her about my seek and find game that I play, in order to find the ultimate in shrimp and grits everywhere I go in the south. The waitress just smiled and listened, and was so polite throughout all of my talking and edible confessional.
And with this knowledge of my special food quest, eating at The Lady and Sons was no exception to this important need to taste her twist on shrimp and grits. I also wanted to find out if she would win me over with her shrimp and grits secret concoction.
With that, I promptly ordered the shrimp and grits off the regular menu, with an excitement short of that of a child anticipating Santa Claus coming… lol.
My guest ordered a salad with grilled chicken and fresh pineapple that came with a citrus dressing. I admired their refrain from ordering like me, something so obviously off any sane persons diet or New Years resolution weight loss goal.
But to know me is to know that I love food, the science of food, the art of food, and I definitely love to eat!
I love to eat and taste the culture and history of not only the area I am visiting, but also the chef preparing the meals. You see, as a professional chef, I understand that each cook uses their own touch and art with flavor blending, or flavor creating, as well as their ability to carry out proper cooking techniques. You can taste their level of skill in their sauces, or see it visually in their plating.
I take in every single detail, from the plate “canvas” to which I am handed.
I learn about how a chef may substitute a cheaper cut of meat for what I know is supposed to be in a particular recipe, or I may surmise how creative a cook may be by their execution of making an old favorite recipe fresh and brand new.
I also can see when short cuts are taken, when food is rushed, or when it is thrown together without the vital ingredient of heart being involved.
Yes, you actually can taste the Love that is put into food by a cook or a chef.
Conversely, I can absolutely taste and see the lack of knowledge or proper training with cooking techniques, or knife skills, or having lower standards maintained when putting together a plate of food.
While I certainly don’t know everything, my opinion and reviews are meticulous to what I know and enjoy.
They are based on my culinary school hard-core training, and also my direct experience working in restaurants as a professional chef.
I also use my artistic side of me to assess food composition on plates, food styling used, visual balance (or lack there of), and the costs associated with each structural detail seen and tasted. Lastly, I definitely feel and taste heart, soul, and love as very important ingredients in or not in food that I am served.
There are so many amazing chefs and cooks found everywhere, in all price range restaurants, and even in tiny off the beaten track restaurants that aren’t fancy or upscale. Great food and talented chefs are found in many different places, and not just in the highbrow places that leave you eating small medallions of meat for high costs, leave you still hungry as you leave, and give you a dinner bill the size of your car payment!
Back to The Lady and Sons taste testing….
As my guest and I sat patiently for our lunch to arrive, we were served a complimentary savory cheddar cheese biscuit.
Oh my heaven.
It was really super delicious.
I mean I loved it.
It was perfect. It was light and fluffy, and surprisingly very moist. I have had many authentic southern biscuits in my life, and sometimes they can be a bit too dry and crumbly. These at Lady and Sons were moist and abundantly flavorful.
Then my large bowl of shrimp and grits arrived, and the waitress placed it in front of me. It was served in a shallow wide-rimmed bowl, and filled all the way up to the very top. It was plated beautifully, with lots of visible shrimp floating in a creamy amber sauce, loads of creamy yellow grits, a good portion of diced smoked ham, and garnished with tomato and green onion.
Can I tell you that I seriously could not WAIT to try Paula’s recipe! I felt like the luckiest person at that very moment!
I took my fork and quickly sampled the grits and sauce first, since this is the foundation for the overall taste complexities of the dish by the chef. I can assimilate in my mind many of the seasonings that go into sauces and flavors just by sampling them, due to my meticulous detailed knowledge of flavor profiles and components (another fun obsession I have, lol).
The sauce and grits were extremely delicious.
I really loved the sauce flavors and creamy texture throughout.
The balance of flavors was done well, and the combination of just the right amount of shrimp and smoked ham was perfect. I happily ate several bites more just as presented, and thoroughly enjoyed every single mouthful.
But then I just had to adjust the flavors to my own personal preference and need to drown out my southern food with tons of delicious hot sauce!
And I do mean DROWN in hot sauce.
I like to layer lots of hot sauce on my food, and as I eat it, I then keep adding more shakes of hot sauce until I’m completely done my meal.
You have to know me by now, that I am a lover of hot sauces.
They are so much fun, and they add different levels of heat to food.
I really love enhancing food with amazing hot sauces from all around the south, and my refrigerator is stocked with many different brands and yummy types.
I suddenly noticed on our table, Paula Deen’s own signature line of hot sauce for the customers to use while dining there. I was not at all surprised to find that Paula has jumped into the hot sauce market, and created her own brand of hot sauce.
Hot sauces of every type and brand flood restaurants, hot sauce stores, and homes in the south. Hot sauce truly IS the south!
People use hot sauce on absolutely everything there. It’s so much fun to add heat and complexity to any meal just by using hot sauces of various types. These sauces, if you are unfamiliar, can range from mild, to medium, to hot, to even extra extra hot!
I admit that I am a bit of a connoisseur with hot sauces, and I just had to try Paula’s hot sauce brand to see where she wanted her sauce flavors to showcase for her own signature brand. I doused my meal with her sauce, and I was very pleased with Paula’s choice of flavors within it.
It starts off mild in heat, and a bit on the vinegar side of the spectrum, but then it finishes with a bit of a kick of heat that is both enjoyable and pleasant for those who like a little bit of spice to their food.
After tasting Paula Deen’s hot sauce and knowing how it tastes, I then proceeded to add more and more of her hot sauce to my bowl of shrimp and grits. I then began eating with vigor.
I honestly thoroughly enjoyed my shrimp and grits at The Lady and Sons, and I would say that it came very close to my favorite version of all times.
There is only one other time I rated shrimp and grits higher than The Lady and Sons version. That number one favorite dish came from a place in North Carolina.
Sadly, it was so many years ago now that I cannot remember which restaurant it was. I will be going back to North Carolina this week for a visit, and I hope I can actually find that one amazing restaurant that made me first fall in love with the great southern dish, shrimp and grits.
I would say that The Lady and Sons shrimp and grits is now my number two of all time best shrimp and grits I’ve ever had. And I am a really a tough critic when it comes to this particular dish. I make it at home sometimes very authentically, and I literally order it out whenever it is placed on any restaurant menu.
The Lady and Sons shrimp and grits was seriously amazing.
My guest ate his salad with much enjoyment, and he raved at how delicious it was.
It was an arugula salad with chicken and fresh cut pineapple. Sorry, but I was so consumed with my shrimp and grits that I forgot to take any pictures of his salad, lol.
Both of us left The Lady and Sons extremely happy and full, and very satisfied on every level with their food, service, staff, quality of ingredients, plating, cleanliness, speed at which we got served our meal, and reasonable pricing. I would absolutely recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Savannah, and I will definitely go back to try some of their other menu items or their nice buffet the next time.
I give The Lady and Sons 4.5 J’s out of 5. I also highly recommend you visit here if in the south! Deeelicous!!