“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient”, according to Anne Morrow Lindbergh. “One should lie empty, open and choiceless as a beach-waiting for a gift from the sea.”
St. Simons Island Beach
On St. Simons Island, Georgia Sea Grill Proprietor Zack Gowen and Executive Chef Jeff Lewis understand the magic of the sea. Gowen was born and raised in the Golden Isles. Lewis has his own style of using fresh and sustainable ingredients. Patrons can taste the love of the ocean these masters infuse into the dishes they create. While the restaurant offers a full variety of entrée options, there is no better place to eat local seafood than at the beach, and no better preparation of the fresh gifts of the sea than at the Georgia Sea Grill.
Georgia Sea Grill low country crab soup
Wild Georgia shrimp are the pride and joy of the Golden Isles. Guaranteed to be a species indigenous to the clean Atlantic coastal waters and caught by local fisherman, these crustaceans never meet the chemicals, antibiotics, pesticides and residues often used in commercial fishponds. Processed in the State of Georgia and distributed quickly and mostly locally, you really need to take a trip to the Golden Isles of Georgia to taste them for yourself. Sweet, large and firm are all words often used to describe this taste sensation. Who doesn’t love sweet, large and firm?
I found the Georgia Sea Grill, located at 407 Mallory Street on my first trip to the Golden Isles. St. Simons Island is one of the Golden Isles located just east of Brunswick, Georgia. In addition to Brunswick and St. Simons, the other Golden Isles are Sea Island, Jekyll Island, and Little St. Simons Island.
A simple, uncomplicated menu always impresses me. It tells me the chef has confidence in feeding the patrons quality food. At the Georgia Sea Grill, the menu is divided into Solos and Shares. From there, the menu is categorized by source. From the Farm, From the Field, and From the Sea.
While the variety is nice for locals and those allergic to seafood, I will always choose options from the sea when I am at the beach. With a focus on where the food comes from, and how it has been cultivated, you cannot go wrong.
In addition to Georgia Gulf Shrimp, there are other fabulous creatures who find their way from the sea to the table. Think cobia, wahoo, salmon. Then again, don’t think, and just order whatever is being served that day. You are on vacation. Sometimes we think too much. The fresh catch is offered in three preparations: Cajun Spiced, Herb Roasted and Bronzed. The best part about a gift is often the surprise. Let the chef surprise you. You will not be disappointed. There are options to please all palates. A whole red snapper with orange fennel marmalade and pineapple sage garnish was the whole fish preparation during my visit.
Georgia Sea Grill red snapper with orange fennel marmalade and pineapple sage garnish
Since I write for travelers, I am pleased when I find a restaurant where a visitor would want to go back more than once on a trip. This can be frustrating for the traveler on the run, who has many places to go and people to see. A benefit of traveling the world in the slow lane is the ability to take the time to savor a moment, and repeat it just because you can. For those with an annual beach habit, the Georgia Sea Grill should definitely be a part of a St. Simons beach tradition, a moment worth repeating.
A special three to five course meal is certainly the main attraction at a restaurant like this. Trying the fresh catch in a different preparation means a completely different experience each night. However, the “Grilled Cheese”, brie seared in filo, with green tomato bisque and peppadew coulis is a perfect choice on an evening when a simpler meal will do. Trust me, this ain’t your mama’s grilled cheese! Shrimp corndogs with sweet potato, mango mustard and citrus slaw can make you dance without even having to take off your flip-flops!
If the wild Georgia shrimp are not sweet enough or you are able to consume an entire fish and still have room left, then try the key lime pie with raspberry coulis or the red velvet cheesecake for dessert. If you are concerned about fitting into your swimsuit the next day, share one, and go for a bike ride in the morning!
Georgia Sea Grill key lime pie with raspberry coulis
Georgia Sea Grill red velvet cheesecake
The Georgia Sea Grill originally opened in 1997 in the Pier/Village area with seating for 34. At the Mallory Street location, they now seat 150, and reservations are highly recommended. A main dining room, wine bar and regular bar give the patron a choice of three slightly different environments in which to dine. First Call from 5-6:30 pm offers drink and food specials. Follow the restaurant on twitter, and you can learn what the fresh catch of the day will be @georgiaseagrill. You do not have to leave the beach or the golf course, or interrupt your bike ride to find out what’s for dinner!
St. Simons Island Pier
There are 13 golf courses on the Golden Isles. There are beautiful beaches and bike paths on the Golden Isles. Rich in American history and abundant in wildlife, the Golden Isles are a great place to visit for a diverse and interesting vacation. Dining is just one of the many pleasures this Atlantic coast treasure has to offer. Regardless of how you spend your days, you will most definitely eat well at night.
Arrive empty, be open and choiceless, and enjoy these gifts from the sea.