Geechee (and also Gullah) refers to descendants of Africans who brought their rice-growing skills from
Carolina Gold is the rice once grown on the coast of
Not all menu items at Geechee Girl are purely Southern. Chinese, Thai, and other world cuisines influence the mostly Southern menu at Geechee Girl. The two salad specials we ordered fall into the category of “not Southern,” but were tasty nonetheless.
The Brie, candied pecan, pear, and mixed green salad was quite good. The pecans were perfectly candied, and not bitter from over roasting. The Brie lent heft to the salad, and the pears tasted delicately of roses (they were soaked in something – missed it, though).
The beet and goat cheese salad was also a special, and how can you go wrong with this classic pairing? Rosemary was noticeable, but not overbearing.
Vegetarian items are clearly marked on the menu, although most vegetarian items are sides. Not a problem here, as the classic Southern sides are what I came to get.
There are two Southern sides traditionally served atop rice, though, that I was upset not to find. I’m not sure how they could not include stewed tomatoes and okra, but it’s missing. While they do have the traditional meat-inclusive hoppin’ John, I was hoping for a vegetarian version. Vegetarians will have to settle for black beans. So...I went rice-less.
The buttermilk biscuit is perfect – flaky, tender, a tastes like butter! I don’t think you can improve their biscuit, except by ordering two.
Collard greens come two ways at Geechee Girl – the traditional slow-cooked way, or the more modern blanched and sautéed way. I went with the blanched and sautéed greens, as that’s how I cook mine. These collards rock! The greens are not bitter, and loaded with caramelized onions and garlic. The garlic breath is fierce!
The grits were thick, creamy, and seasoned perfectly with salt. I would have liked to have had black pepper on my grits, but Geechee Girl is one of those restaurants that doesn’t provide salt and pepper shakers on tables. Unfortunately, there were a few distracting lumps in the grits.
The fish-eater ordered the salmon special of the day atop Carolina Gold rice (jasmine, brown, and wehani rice are also an option) with a side of sautéed collards. No complaints from that side of the table.We were too full for dessert. (Knew I shouldn't have ordered a salad!)
I’ve read complaints about the service speed at Geechee Girl, and I will confirm that it is slow. It’s not neglectful or unprofessional, it’s just not the speedy service you’re used to at most restaurants wishing to turn your table for profit. If you’re a water guzzler or have a movie to get to, you’re gonna be a little bothered. Otherwise, it’s best to sit back and take it easy.
My only real complaint with Geechee Girl is the irksome note on the menu that a fee of $3 will be applied to shared plates. No one comes to dining establishments of this level to wheedle their way into a cheap dinner by sharing; they’re sharing for the sake of experiencing all the fine food. (Edit - Please note explanation of charge in comments below.)
Oh, and note that it’s cash only!
Geechee Girl Rice Café
6825 Germantown Pike, Philadelphia, PA 19119
Tues.-Sat., 5:30 p.m.-9 p.m.; Sun.-Mon., closed.