Sugar Daddy's Wine & Food Bar
I’ve been into this downtown newcomer a half dozen times, scoring a delicious small plate and glass of wine as an appetizer before heading to dinner somewhere else. General Manager Brian Torres and Chef Chris Russell have always made me – and everyone – feel welcome. And they’ve been busy. Over the nearly three months since opening, the menu, the wine list and the concept have evolved – all for the better. Last week, I stayed and tasted more than one plate – a small plate dinner, if you will. I started with Beef Tataki, beef that has been seared on the outside, left very rare inside – then thinly sliced and served with a citrusy soy dressing called Ponzu sauce. It’s a dish that offers rewarding complexity of flavor and texture that belies its sheer simplicity. The chilled beef was butter tender, seasoned just right and a cool, refreshing beef dish to enjoy on a steamy spring evening. Crispy baguette slices accompanied the basil–topped mound of beef ... It went particularly well with a glass of L’Arco Rossa. The two–ounce pour is just right to pair with Sugar Daddy’s small plates – and range in price from a very affordable $2.50 to just under $5. The Scampi Shrimp were big, fresh and perfectly prepared. Still, the highlight of this dish was the loosely structured potato patty flavored with wild mushrooms and a topping of applewood smoked bacon – the drippings added nice porkiness to this decadent little side dish. I stayed with a beef theme for my “main course” of mini Beef Wellington. The 3.5–ounce portion of beef tenderloin was tender, nearly fork tender. The crisply finished puff pastry enveloped a smoky and savory combination of bacon and wild mushroom duxelle. Accompanying dollops of horseradish proved too overwhelming to my taste for this wonderfully seasoned and presented beef course. Horseradish sauce drizzled on three spears of asparagus was equally distracting – as was the flavor of asparagus against my nice, earthy, taste–size glass of Mustiguillo Mestizaje, a Spanish blended wine that is predominantly the musty Bobal grape. I wound down the night sipping espresso and listening to Savannah singer/songwriter Greg Williams croon an acoustic version of Bob Dylan’s classic “All Along the Watchtower.” Right–sized and imaginative dishes, an evolutionary and revolutionary wine list and great value makes the Sugar Daddy’s model one that will likely see imitators. For now it’s a culinary oasis in a dessert of same old, same old. The restaurant is hosting two wine and food tasting events this week. The portfolio of Australian vineyard Torbreck will be featured Wednesday, April 21, and Tuck Beckstoffer’s 75 Wine Co. and The Sum blend will be featured on Friday, April 23. Both events are 6–8 p.m. Call the restaurant for pricing and reservations.
(912) 335–5852/109 Jefferson St.