Review: The Olde Pink House, Savannah

Blackened oysters with green tomato "chaw chow," pear and peach chutney, and tomato relish ($12.95) caught my eye first. The She Crab soup ($8) wasn't really on my radar at all, but it seemed like the right amount of additional food to round out the meal, seeing as the oysters were considered an appetizer.

 More important in the decision-making for the evening was where to dine, as The Olde Pink House in Savannah offers solo diners at least two excellent options.

A waiter showed me downstairs first to what he called his favorite room in the house, the wooden tavern. Dark, happy, but crowded, I asked to see the other choice for bar-side dining. He brought me back upstairs, then down a much smaller set of stairs to the very rear of the building where a bright bar featured a large mirror, giving me a view out the window behind me. A basketball game on TV seemed out of place for this setting, but was on nonetheless.

 Everything about my experience at The Olde Pink felt similar to seeing that flatscreen TV hanging above my head: slightly out of place, but no one is quite paying attention to it. Ask about a dish, any dish, and the servers will answer that it's great without explaining how it's prepared or what "chaw-chow" is. And, worse, of the two dishes I ate, neither impressed me one iota.

 The She Crab soup, so called for the roe supposedly used in it, gave off barely a wisp of ocean flavor. A thick milky broth (yes, milk and not cream, according to the bar staff) masked what little flavor might be coaxed out of the few strands of crab swimming in a wide and shallow bowl. The soup was lukewarm moments after arriving. I looked forward to my blackened oysters next, but decided to ask for bread first (none was provided), and I'm too glad I did because it was the highlight of the meal.

Two rolls, warm and crusted, can easily get pushed aside for the buttermilk biscuits and crumbly corn muffin. And water? When asked for, it arrived, but a detailed and attentive staff should have delivered it from the get-go. And onto the oysters, I forged ahead through the meal. Six bivalves slid around on a plate too large for them with toting to nest them in place. All the chutney, chaw-chow, and relish was dripping and running, their juices mingling with the char skid marks from the oyster shells.

Two bites in, tasting the sauces first, I was again thankful for the bread. I've had ice cream less sweet than those condiments. Each of them would have turned to jelly if I'd let them sit long.

The Olde Pink House 
23 Abercorn St.
Savannah, GA