Underdog and I originally had other, later dinner plans when we hit Savannah on the last leg of our Deep South Chowdown...but being old, hot and travel-weary as we were after exploring this charming city on a horrifically humidriffic afternoon (following a 5-hour drive from Asheville), we blew off our reservations and sort of collapsed into Jazz'd on an exhausted whim. I am pleased to report that it was quite a serendipitous landing.
The cool, dark basement location of Jazz'd gave us a new lease on life in no time, aided in part by its nice selection of wines by the glass. The atmosphere is hip and vibrant, yet soothing...we immediately recognized that this would not be a Paula Deen experience and, quite frankly, we were fine with that having read the online reviews of Lady and Sons...egads! A quiet corner of the venue:
Olivia was our server and I was very impressed by both her attentiveness and knowledge of menu. She made us aware upfront that while the menu at Jazz'd embraced the concept of Spanish tapas, the chef put his own American twist on the small plates. We dove right in and everything we tried was well above average.
Since I had somehow not yet managed to actually wrap my lips around the Southern specialty I had been the most hell-bent on snorting over the course of our Tennessee, North Carolina and Georgia roadtrip, Jazz'd's version of shrimp and grits presented my final opportunity. The Garlic 'n Basil Shrimp and Grits consisted of marinated and grilled shrimp served on a scant bed of better-than-average grits with an unnecessary bouillabaisse-style accoutrement which didn't add much as far as I was concerned (I would've preferred more grits). Not a scrap was left behind, however, so take that last comment as more a statement of personal preference than one of criticism.
I'm an empanada freak and Dogboy absolutely covets chorizo, so the Chorizo Empanadas (spicy chorizo sausage, onions, potato, green olives and golden raisins wrapped in a biscuit-like pastry) called our respective names. These tasty southern twists on a Spanish classic were served with a cilantro-lime creamy dipping sauce and disappeared in short order...leaving a bead of sweat on both our upper lips. Sheer, spicy goodness!
The Prosciutto Wrapped Scallops were huge and sweet, drizzled with cracked peppercorn aoli. There was not a dayum thing wrong with these babies...they may have been the largest scallops I've ever seen. It's possible that I'm a little positively prejudicial towards anything wrapped in prosciutto, however...put a little around your finger and offer it to me, if you dare.
Our Cuban Rubbed Satays (grilled, Cuban marinated beef skewers with sweet jalapeno glaze) were uber-flavorful with a bona fide Havana nuance. The meat was a bit chewy but it was perfectly (rarely) cooked and the sweet-and-heat flavor combo of the marinade ruled. The crispy fried plaintain slices were a clever touch which added traditional flair. We loved these!
Desserts really exceeded expectation. We've experienced a disappointing rash of runnier-than-we-prefer creme brulees lately, but found redemption in the Grand Marnier infused version we tried at Jazz'd! In addition to the perfectly caramelized sugar crust, it had a lovely, semi-firm custard consistency that was ratcheted one more notch heavenward by the introduction of Grand Marnier. Outstanding!
I love bread pudding done right and these guys have it down to an art form. The one I had for dessert was almost gingerbread-like in its spiciness; studded with toasted walnuts and a few golden raisins; baked in a small ramekin or cupcake pan so plenty of crispy edges surrounded the moist, dense decadence; and drizzled with butterscotch sauce. Look up "Bread Pudding" in Webster's and you'll probably see a picture of this. Hellooooo, Dessert of my Dreams!
Jazz'd is a great eclectic dining choice...especially considering its small, tourist-dense area. The chef does a fine job of putting creative Americanized and regional spins on his "tapas" and the restaurant's "chill" atmosphere will take you away from the Georgia heat and maddening crush of the vacationing masses faster than you can say "Calgon".