Located inside the Andaz hotel in the very heart of downtown, visitors can find one of the most authentic dining experiences in Savannah. Aptly titled “new South” cuisine, 22 Square offers a refreshing balance of tradition and progress in a city known for its old-fashioned roots.
Chef Lauren Teague takes farm to fork seriously. Nearly everything on 22 Square’s menu is sourced locally, from Hunter Cattle beef to oysters caught just north of the river in Bluffton, South Carolina. 22 Square prides itself in serving housemade preserves and sauces, and fresh vegetables from nearby Walker Farms are pickled at the restaurant. Even some of the charcuterie is made in house.
In a compelling move, the 22 Square menu is organized by ingredient, not by course. If you’re interested in beef, for instance, choose between oxtail, burger, or ribeye. Oysters are served half shelled, fried with root vegetables, or etouffee, Low Country style, with brown rice. Other ingredients include in-house preserves, vegetables, and pork belly.
I recommend ordering the fresh and pickled vegetables, a mix of seasonal local vegetables playfully conceived and plated. When choosing the Hunter Cattle beef tenderloin, expect a surprisingly generous portion, simply prepared, and cooked rare to allow the quality of the meat to show through. The lavender creme brulee is made with lavender grown on the restaurant’s second floor terrace. With a smooth texture and herbal sweetness, the dessert is a subtle close to a great meal.
One of 22 Square’s top strengths is its cocktail menu. The bartenders are skilled and inventive, crafting new drink recipes and making their own ginger beer and tonic. Currently on the menu is the Paper Plane, a refreshing balance of bourbon and citrus, and the Maximilian Affair (skip the tequila and order it with mezcal).
If you’re interested in classic cocktails, you can’t go wrong with a traditional Sazerac, or try the award-winning East of Hudson, a Manhattan-based recipe cooked up by Food and Beverage manager Garron Gore. 22 Square’s take on the Blood and Sand, an off-menu concoction of scotch and orange juice, is also exceptional.
22 Square is located at 14 Barnard Street. Make your reservations in advance by phone at 912.233.2116, or via their website.