Like a tongue on a flagpole in February, fusion cuisine results from curiosity and a shortage of popsicles. Rein in restless taste buds with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of Asian fusion cuisine and sushi at Ele Fine Fusion on Wilmington Island.
Owner Ele Tran and chef Sean Thongsiri, who accumulated his culinary know-how from his family in Laos, pile the menu at Ele Fine Fusion with innovative entrees and sushi platters, helming a contemporary Asian hotspot that was voted Connect Savannah's Best Islands Restaurant in 2010 and 2011. Send tongues straight to the meat of the experience with a starter of marinated sesame beef jerky ($7.95). Ele strives to blend local and organic ingredients into its vibrant entrees, such as the kangkeowan's savory pork tenderloin with an emerald guard of green beans, zucchini, and lime leaves ($13.95). The spicy sea bass filet ($19.95) flips saucily onto plates pan-seared or battered with red curry, and the exotic sushi roll ($14.95) squeezes tempura lobster and mango slivers into a seaweed sleeping bag that, after the world runs out of paper, can be used to print emails and fishing licenses.
After striding past Ele's verdant garden exterior and modern brick facade, guests find themselves in a stylish zen wonderland replete with intimate booths. The full-service bar dispenses signature cocktails and bathes patrons in back lighting that, like a chameleon on a blinking disco floor, shifts its color every few seconds.
Ele Fine Fusion
Sean Thongsiri learned to cook alongside his mother and grandmother in Vientiane, Laos, but it was a lot of trial and error. Getting the best food for his dishes was easy, though. He frequented the town's market, where he culled relationships with local farmers and fisherman to ensure the best possible product. This is a practice he still clings to as head chef of Ele Fine Fusion restaurant, where his modern fusion style is alive in the food, as well as the decor. There, in the glow of handsome blond sconces and colorful landscape prints, guests sit on banquettes and enjoy sushi rolls, crispy duck, and steaming curry dishes, many fashioned with fresh organic vegetables.