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Swank attack
Slow-cooked rabbit in rich braising liquid atop a creamy and decadent pool of Chevre grits

I never mind being sardined into tiny Red Door on Wilmington Island. I knew that I’d make a new friend or two – and sample something awesome form the culinary repertoire of Chef Michele Jemison.

It’s been quite a while since Red Door closed, and Chef Michele fans were delighted when she opened Swank Bistro on Diamond Causeway. The first few moths were nearly wall to wall –with several nights selling out of most popular dishes
The menu is French Bistro – which has become the city’s hot trend in the past few months. Chef Michele does a good job marrying in some coastal favorites with the causal, back–country French fare that’s the hallmark of bistro style.

I was happy to land on the Saturday night when the spring menu was launched – braised rabbit was on the menu. And lamb...and chicken...and great fresh seafood.

The rabbit dish was slow–cooked in a wonderfully rich, dark braising liquid – and was topped with a tri–colored collection of fresh carrots. Beneath, a creamy, decadent pool of Ch vre grits added creaminess and a hint of acid to temper the sweet, succulent braising juices.

The rabbit was tender, as well–seasoned as a comfortable pair of jeans and an absolute joy to dissect: Some white meat here, some dark meat there. Crispy skin, fatty skin. Yeah, that’s what well done rabbit is all about.

My banana bread pudding with chocolate sauce was the perfect ending to a splendid meal. Ms. T.J. equally enjoyed her fish dish – and quickly dispatched a piece of light, citrusy cheesecake whipped up by Michele’s mom.

Service is attentive and servers are particularly well–versed in the menu and the wine list. The strip center location (which has been home to several other restaurants) is as nicely appointed as it can be. This is not an over the top plush dining room – but has a wonderful mom–and–pop kind of  feel that is backed up with comforting cuisine that’s as rich in flavor as it is integrity.

Swank Bistro/1 Diamond Causeway/356–3100/

Taste the difference

Kitchenware Outfitters is hosting a Riedel wine glass tasting on May 18, 6 p.m. A company rep will be on hand to explain the difference that varietally correct glassware can make on you wine experience. Class fee is $60 – each participant takes home a four–piece Riedel Vinum ($100 value) glass set. Reservations required, 356–1117.

Cup o’ Joe

Ogeechee River Coffee is officially open in Habersham Village. The store is also a custom roaster – which means the city has at least four custom coffee roasters (Savannah Coffee Roaster, PERC, Cup to Cup, Ogeechee). That’s up three from 10 years ago. No, it’s not Seattle, but progress. Show your support!