Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Indigo Coastal Shanty - Brunswick GA

You can find Indigo Coastal Shanty at 1402 Reynolds St., Brunswick, GA 31520 - this is a small restaurant with a big deck and plenty of flavors. It's also the one of the best restaurants in Brunswick and the surrounding areas (like nearby St Simons, Sea and Jekyll Islands).

Emerging like a phoenix from the ashes of the popular Cargo Restaurant in downtown Brunswick, chef Kate B. and crew opened this down-sized establishment to thrill locals and visitors with world coastal cuisine. More than a Caribbean restaurant, Indigo Coastal Shanty fuses Asian, Indian, Creole, African and other exotic flavors into a melange of taste sensations at very affordable prices. This small restaurant powers a spice-filled one-two punch of great fresh ingredients with beautiful preparation and presentation, something you rarely see in remote destinations, yet tucked away in this little corner of Georgia.

For full disclosure, I have a bit of a connection with Indigo Coastal Shanty and the chef, Kate B, having originally worked with her at Indigo, her mom Alex' place in Atlanta (Indigo Coastal Grill on N Highland Dr). This was the last restaurant where I worked as a chef before hanging up that hat and taking up software development.

What I love about Indigo Coastal Shanty is that there are many very familiar items on the menu, only subtly different enough that the offer something more, a true improvement and interpretation of what we had at Indigo in Atlanta. The original restaurant is missed to this day by locals, but can be re-experienced down in Brunswick for those both Jones-ing for the original and looking for new vistas. I joined several other previous Indigo employees at a bit of a small reunion that centered around the visit to the Shanty. Besides plenty of rest and relaxation at the local beaches, we all enjoyed our visit at the restaurant and a sampling of what it had to offer.

Curried Mussels - these are pot-cooked mussels in vino and curry for an exotic aroma and flavor - delicious

Crispy Fried Plantains with Avocado Puree - this is an old standby from the Indigo days and a great starter.

Jerk Chicken with black-beans and rice, slaw and pineapple salsa - another very popular Indigo dish and one of my favorites from back-in-the-day. Often copied by other restaurants but always lacking in that certain something - this is the real deal at the Shanty!

Charleston Sauté... Shrimp  with ham, tomatoes, peppers and fried okra served over cheesy grits (the original dish we called the Low Country Saute - this is definitely an improvement!)

Pineapple Upside Down Cake - delicious mix of sweet and sour tangyness!

Cajeta Brownie - not one can resist the power of cajeta!

My other recommendations are any of the Southern favorites like the Fried Green Tomatoes. Also, check out the fantastic deck for a nice dining experience under the perfect blue skies! In all, a fabulous evening with great food, good friends and fantastic memories!

-- John

(shorter version of the review also posted to Yelp)
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