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Three bites: Tortugas Grille, Ta Ca Sushi, Sandfly BBQ
A deluxe spread from Tortugas Island Grille

Tortuga's Island Grille

The guys met up with our ladies last Sunday for brunch at this Bluff Drive restaurant in Thunderbolt -- and no one walked away hungry! I was, of course, gonna put the biscuits and gravy to the test, but then I saw that for a measly 45 cents more, I could get the "Big Breakfast." Each category has choices, and I selected scrambled eggs, roasted herb potatoes, bacon, French toast with praline sauce and a biscuit. Wow! "Eggs is eggs," but the savory and perfectly prepared potatoes, rich and filling French toast and thick-sliced bacon were all award winners. A biscuit was on the side, but I hardly noticed. Ms. T.J.'s eggs Benedict were a classic preparation and beautiful under the nicely made Hollandaise sauce.
Service was prompt and courteous, despite the place getting really busy. The coffee was hot and rich with flavor. We especially liked the eclectic china, tables and chairs -- what fun, and great food to boot. Breakfast and lunch. Brunch only on Sunday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

2815 River Drive/201-3630


Ta Ca Sushi and Japanese Fusion

This newcomer to the sushi scene is neat, tidy and and is my new "best sushi" restaurant. Sadly, service and pacing don't measure up: The appetizer came out after the entrée and the server was TOO attentive. I had read postings of slow service, which might be the case, but servers need to learn that on a slow night, languishing diners, especially those drinking beer and having a good time, mean bigger tabs and higher tips. My Green Mussel roll was nicely made with crispy and hot fried green mussel; Eel nigiri was beautifully flavored and nicely presented. There's a nice choice of Japanese beers. I'll keep going back and hope service comes around.

513 E Oglethorpe Ave./232-8222

Sandfly BBQ

Fine dining chef Keith Latture has hit his stride with his smoker -- and my recent meal confirms Sandfly is more than a place to pass through to get to Isle of Hope. The pulled pork was nicely smoked, tender, juicy and piled high on a fresh, toasted bun. I really liked the diced, creamy coleslaw -- it has a nice vinegar tartness and plenty of crunch. I have to admit I blew through the potato salad so quickly I didn't take notes -- and was then dumbstruck with joy. I do recall skin-on potato pieces, great flavors and textures and, oh, yeah, it was as good as any grandma's tater salad I've ever eaten.
Next time, I gotta revisit the ribs. Keith and his wife Laura have really begun to give this place the feel of a legendary barbecue honky-tonk with collections of license plates, crazy signs and pig figures -- and I gotta respect any place that sells Moon Pies off the counter.

8413 Ferguson Ave./356-5464