Vic's on the River
With the opening of this beautifully restored building just a handful of years ago, River Street finally had a restaurant that stepped beyond fried seafood and cheap beer to offer upscale cuisine at moderate prices. Owners Dr. Irving Victor and Bill Hall (of Huey’s on the River) hold true to those tenets today — and the formula has made Vic’s as popular with busloads of visitors as it is with locals looking for inventive Southern cuisine and a jaw–dropping view of the Savannah river. I’m partial to the heartwarming and ribsticking dishes like the brown sugar–cured doublecut pork chop or the lunch portion of shrimp and smoked cheddar grits pictured here. The menu offers far more variety. Vic’s salad menu is popular with downtown workers at lunch — and even the pickiest diner is sure to find something among the array of fish, shellfish, steak, chicken and sandwiches. Delicious little Southern–style biscuits accompany every meal and are served with soft, whipped butter and orange marmalade. If I’m dining alone or with just one other, I enjoy sitting at high–top tables in the bar where I can get a great view of passing ships. Founding chef Jay Cantrell set the tone for Vic’s, and that legacy is being carried forward and upward with the recent addition of Chef Dusty Grove, recently of 700 Drayton at The Mansion on Forsyth Park. In fact, Vic’s kitchen boasts a stable of three former executive chefs who combine talents to offer what I predict will emerge as one of the city’s top three restaurants. One necessary element, the wine list, has grown substantially since opening, under the watchful eye of Dr. Victor and General Manager Sean Dylan.
The new Vic’s on the River cookbook treats home cooks to the recipes and secrets behind dozens of dishes that are staples of the restaurant — or favorites of Dr. Victor, Bill Hall and the staff of the restaurant. The collection pays homage to Southern cuisine and particularly emphasizes the fresh, local ingredients that make Savannah a unique culinary destination. Main course,s sides, desserts and more ar outlined in thoroughly tested recipes and the book features photography that accurately illustrates key recipes — and leaves your mouth watering. The 160–page hardcover also highlights the founding of the restaurant and its historical context. $29.95 at the restaurant or Kitchenware Outfitters.
26 E. Bay St. & 15 E. River St./721–1000
I rolled into this southside restaurant more excited about the little bowls of kimchi than I was about diving into a main course. The kimchi did not disappoint: traditional cabbage, cucumber, bean sprout and potato offered lots of textural variety and differing levels of heat. It’s a treat to pick through these dishes with chopsitcks and savor each bite. For my main course, I selected job chae, a stir fried noodle dish — I added chicken. The mountain of savory, dark glass noodles were enough to share. Adding flavors were an assortment of mushrooms, green onion tops, sliced white onions and bits of zucchini. The chicken was tender and nicely flavored. Overall, it was a wonderfully satisfying choice and one that kick–started my taste buds. Servers have always been helpful explaining each dish so I can broaden my appreciation for what turns out to be a great assortment of Korean dishes.
149 E. Montgomery Crossroad/920–7273