Reel Food

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Fishing for fine dining with a sense of humor?  Andrea Goto makes the catch. 

I have trouble with people who take themselves too seriously—people who spend more time sniffing a glass of wine than it takes me to drink it.

I suppose that’s why I like Daniel Berman, owner of the new downtown fine-dining establishment, A.Lure.  The former operator of The Village Bar and Kasey’s Gourmet Grille greets his patrons as if he’s glad they came, which somehow has become an extraordinary quality in my dining experiences as of late. 

I’ve been to more than handful of elegant restaurants where the waitstaff has raised a judge-y eyebrow at my wine choice (the cheapest glass) and my habitual mispronunciation of “paella,” but A.Lure is not one of them.  Here, the bartender graciously pours me his lowest-priced pinot (which is good) and I laugh along with the server—a girl after my own heart—as she attempts, and fails, to pronounce “coulis.”

This playfulness informs the restaurant’s entire aesthetic.  The name reflects the restaurant’s magnetic quality as well as its specialty: local seafood.  The space, formerly Savannah Bistro, boasts a rustic/modern blend that feels both welcoming and chic—a difficult line to walk.  And the menu’s spirited offerings spark culinary curiosity.  Try the “Peas and Carrots,” tender pan-seared scallops drizzled with a sweet pea coulis (coo-LEE—you’re welcome) and ginger carrot reduction.  I also recommend “Three Little Piggies,” a tasty tripartite of pork belly, loin and osso bucco, and the stacked “Chicken and Waffle” starter dressed in pecan-honey butter—simply because I can’t imagine a better way to begin a meal.

So if you’re looking for confirmation that “Lowcountry gourmet” is not an oxymoron, I assure you that the proof is in the parsnip puree at A.Lure.

Dining room open 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m., bar open 4 p.m.-12 a.m. Monday-Sunday at 309 W. Congress St., 233-2111,