Iguanas, Saint Simons Island GA

Frequently, I am asked – well, okay, never – “How does this whole ‘menu envy’ thing work?” Our visit to Iguanas, the fried seafood palace on Saint Simons Island’s main drag through the village, provided an absolutely perfect example of it. This got a little silly before it finished.

I try to leave all the meal scheduling when we visit Saint Simons to Marie. That way, she can coordinate meals with each of her parents, pick out (at least) one new place for the blog, and also make certain that we get some grub from her mother’s kitchen as well. (This time out, she made those meatballs that everybody likes, and I went ahead to Southern Soul and picked up a bottle of their amazing hot mustard-based sauce, which was heavenly.) The new place this time out was Iguanas, and Marie told me that their menu has a shrimp burger that I should expect to order. Since eating on the island is on Marie’s wallet, I planned to do what I was told. Then the six of us got situated – we were joined by her mother and her brother, Karl – and Marie decided that she wanted the shrimp burger herself. “Howzabout the shrimp salad sandwich for me, then?” I checked. She said that’d be fine. The girlchild had a big salad, and everybody else ordered grouper.

So I started taking photos and everything, noticing that Iguanas serves their fries more heavily battered than usual, similar to the local restaurants The Crab Trap and Twin Oaks BBQ, and Marie asked for a bite of my shrimp salad sandwich before I had a nibble. Don’t let the ugly thing, pictured below, fool you; it’s terrific. Wowza, that is one good, good sandwich.

Marie tried a bite of her shrimp burger and I noticed that tell-tale curl of her nose. Uh-oh. “Did you want to try my burger?” she asked. “Why, sure!” I exclaimed. “I’m afraid,” she said, “that I have menu envy.” I told her that was fine; she should just keep the shrimp salad. She protested a little, but I reminded her that she was the one who wanted me to have the shrimp burger in the first place, and it wasn’t her fault that she didn’t like what I was supposed to be eating. Everything else that came to our table pleased everybody hugely. The shrimp salad is just wonderfully good. I would absolutely love to enjoy that on the beach on a hot summer afternoon with a cup of pasta salad and a bowl of gazpacho from the restaurant across the street, Palm Coast, and a tall glass of sweet tea.

The sun was right above and behind the restaurant when we left, so I stopped by the next morning to get this photo. Not shown, therefore: the huge mob of people waiting for a table. Saint Simons is incredibly crowded in July and August, and there were lines everywhere we went (especially at Southern Soul for Sunday lunch). Iguanas, which opened in 2008 and regularly wins awards from the local paper for having the best or the most popular seafood in Glynn County, is among the best-known fried seafood palaces in the area. It’s a family-friendly madhouse, incredibly noisy and crowded, with servers deserving combat bonuses for grace under pressure. We enjoyed the visit a great deal… although I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I could have had all of the shrimp salad!

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