Review: The Fitzroy
Updated: May 27, 2019
I haven't always been close with my mother. When tragedy strikes a family, you either grow together or grow apart, and for us, it was the latter. I was 13 when my father passed away, and my stay-at-home mom was thrust into the role of caregiver for me and my sister, who was about to leave for college. I was dealing with my own emotions at the time, and paired with my mother's added stress of now working three jobs (not to mention dealing with her own feelings), we fought. A lot.
Since I left for college, our relationship has slowly repaired itself, a positive side effect of time apart and missing home. While I was at school she moved to Florida, and our weekly phone calls became more important as did the few times of year we saw each other.
A lot of my adult life has been spent trying to make her and my father proud, and she has been my biggest fan when it's come to blogging. As someone who is in her late sixties (sorry Mom, but you look great!), she had a hard time using Instagram, let alone understanding what an "influencer" was. Though through her confusion, she has supported me every step of the way, and is so excited to see how Boston Mouthful has grown.
Due to a work trip, I found myself in Savannah for Mother's Day weekend. My mom was ecstatic when she found out, and told me she'd drive up to meet me even before I had the chance to ask her. And when I told her I was going to try to arrange an event, she was even more excited to get a glimpse into my life as a blogger and gain a better understanding of this food world I was living in.
Savannah is full of historic houses and green squares, dotted with bustling restaurants serving delicious dishes. The Fitzroy is a newer addition, though its sister restaurants, like Collins Quarter, have been mainstays in the area. What really grabbed me was their Australian influence, because I didn't really know what Australian food was aside from "shrimp on the barbie." The second draw was their roof deck, which seems like the perfect spring spot for the 85 degree weather.
Though the inside was lined with trendy teal booths and exposed brick, the vibe on the roof was more casual, with wooden tables against lush greenery. I felt immediately comfortable and ready to dive into the impressive menu, starting first with drinks. My mother got the 1 Star Yelp Review, which the server told us is actually very popular. I, on the other hand, opted for the Fitzroy Sour, never being able to resist a namesake. Made with pisco, lemon, egg white, bitters, and Ancho chili, the Fitzroy Sour was refreshing with a little kick, but not overwhelmingly so. I'm also a sucker for an egg white cocktail because of the touch of creaminess it adds to the drink.
We started off with the potato chip nachos, for obvious reasons. This colorful, shareable app is made with ground pork, onion, roasted poblano, bell pepper, and cilantro, but what really took this dish to the next level was the melted brie. I've never had nachos with brie before and I could not. stop. eating. them. With brie, the cheese doesn't compete with the other flavors, but instead complemented the pork and poblanos perfectly. Not to mention, almost every other table was also diving into a bowl.
When the charcuterie and cheese plate was brought out, my mom's eye's grew wide. When I ordered it, I hadn't realized that my mom had no idea what it is, as she was letting me take the reins for my photography. So when the server explained every selection on the board, she hung on his words, ready to pounce on the triangles of cheese. I tried to quickly take my photos as she snapped a few of her own of me in action, and brought the charcuterie back to the table. She tried each slice of meat slowly, really savoring the flavors before adding some natural honey to the cheese. "I usually hate honey," she explained, "but I didn't know I was having the fake stuff this whole time!"
For our entrees she ordered the duck, which wasn't a surprise to me since my mom has been a mission to find the perfect duck for a while. She orders it almost every time we're together, ending up disappointed 70% of the time. Now, when I tell you I looked away for two seconds and my mom's duck was gone, her duck was GONE. I had never seen someone eat as quickly as that, mustering up "this is the best duck I've every had" between her bites. Duck is a hard protein to cook, often coming up dry, but this bird was cooked perfectly, and the blueberry gastrique was the ideal sauce for it (she ended up asking for even more on the side). She loved the duck so much she made a point to tell the server, the General Manager, and the Director of Operations who each stopped by our table. She smiled all through her meal which, in turn, made me smile, and I realized we'd come such a long way from having dinners in our rooms while I was in high school.
For myself, I ordered the seafood fettucine, unable to resist the fruits of a seaside city. The best part was that they did NOT skimp on the seafood, with plenty of shrimp, clams, and calamari to complete the dish. It was so filling I didn't even finish half of it, and it tasted a bit like a scampi with the white wine butter. Though it was loaded with seafood, it didn't feel heavy and would be great choice for sharing.
Now by this point you might be wondering where the Australian influence comes in. Though there have been touches throughout, the most obvious nod to the Land Down Under is with this signature dessert: the pavlova. Pavlova is actually named for a Russian ballet dancer, but has since been a staple of Australian and New Zealand cuisine. In its basic form, it's a hard meringue topped with fruit. And although that may seem simple, the unique way meringue melts in your mouth, paired with the Fitzroy's fresh fruit and strawberry compote, make pavlova both a sweet dessert that's shockingly light. You won't find it on menus often, especially done well, so I definitely recommend getting yourself some here. It was actually so good that I had to convince my mom not to get a second one to-go!
In addition to the pavlova, we got the campfire cake, per the enthusiastic recommendation of our server. This dessert brings you right back to your childhood with a burnt marshmallow fluff, decadent chocolate cake, crunchy graham cracker, and chocolate sauce drizzle. Whereas you could easily eat the pavlova by yourself, I'd definitely suggest splitting the rich campfire cake with a group of your friends.
On my flight home to Boston, I reflected on the time I spent with my mom in Georgia. It's true that food bring people together, but for my mom and I, this dinner was a reminder of how far we've come. When you don't live near your parents, sometimes you forget how fast life moves. As we gathered around a delicious dinner of cheesy chips, savory seafood, and indulgent desserts I realized that it took some moving apart for us to grow closer together. And for my mom, she was comforted by the fact that the little girl she sometimes struggled to raise, is doing just fine.