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Amelia Islander

29 South Restaurant

Mar 13, 2014 11:04AM
29 South is a chic, neighborhood bistro perfect for dates, a quick bite, or a casual dinner with friends and family. The menu can best be described as extraordinary farm-to-table cuisine, where Chef Scott Schwartz paints a playground for the palette using the freshest ingredients sourced from local fisherman, farms, and their own on-site garden.

I recently joined my two friends, Emily and Joe, for dinner at 29 South. I look forward to their eclectic offerings because I know my favorites will be on the menu—Smokehouse Mussels and Coffee and Doughnuts (yum!)—but Chef Scott always has some new and seasonal items to try. We began our meal with a glass of MacMurray 2012 Pinot Gris, a lovely, fruity wine, served with 29 South’s homemade yeast rolls. The wine was wonderful and the little rolls were perfect to nibble on before our first course.

Chef Scott is very creative, and it shows in all of his food. We ordered Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms, topped with roasted asparagus, arugula, truffles, pecorino cheese, and truffle oil, and it was served in an old fashioned canning jar. The jar was closed up, which allowed for all the ingredients to mingle; when I opened it up, a most delightful aroma radiated out! The polenta was served with grilled Challah bread, a perfect sweet accompaniment to the rich polenta.

For our next course, we ordered Smoked Georgia Brook Trout on Endive and Herb Salad with Pears and Dill Pollen. Joe was especially excited about this dish because he loves smoked fish. This is a new item on the menu with true staying power —it has a wonderful combination of savory and sweet, served with a Champagne vinaigrette. Our server, Kiki, brought us each a glass of White Hall 2012 Viognier, from Virginia, a nice pairing with our salad course. If you’re curious about dill pollen, it is from the dill flower and has a subtler flavor than dill weed; bursting with freshness, it has a gentle, licorice taste.

Kiki then brought us our entrée, Pan Seared Scallops, served atop little potato pancakes with creamed leeks and pinot butter. She also suggested a glass of Paraiso 2010 Pinot Noir, perfect with this dish. Pinot Noir is always a nice choice with seafood because of its soft acidity. The scallops had a nice sear on them, tender and sweet. The leeks boasted a gentle, creamy consistency, cooked with ham made from Benton pork in Callahan, and the crispy potato pancakes added another dimension to this wonderful dish. Pinot butter, a rich wine sauce, brought the whole dish together perfectly!

For dessert, Emily, Joe and I shared a slice of 29 South’s homemade Pecan Pie, served with Captain Morgan’s Rum and Raisin Ice Cream from Working Cow Ice Cream, made in St. Augustine. Kiki brought us yet another glass of astonishing wine: Dead Letter Office 2009 Shiraz from Australia, a perfect ending to a perfect dinner. 29 South has won numerous awards for its innovative and delicious food, and Chef Scott was recently featured in a new cookbook called Cooking with Intuition.

29 South has it all—great ambiance, fantastic food, an extensive wine list, and reasonable prices. There are small plates from around the world for sharing, as well as grilled pizza, sandwiches, creative entrees, and nightly specials. For more information, call (904) 277-7919 or visit