Monday, May 20, 2013

Vic's on the River

Vic's on the River in Savannah is quite a local icon. I decided to make reservations a week in advance, so that I would be guaranteed the opportunity to dine at such an historic restaurant. Vic's is located on the Savannah riverfront. We deiced to have dinner at Vic's around 6pm. This ensured we were still early enough to enjoy the amazing view. The entrance from the riverfront is somewhat bizarre. You enter through a coffee shop to get to the elevator, which then takes you to the dining room. Things were very hectic when we arrived, but were seated relatively quickly. We were given a table for two by the window.

For those of you who don't know...before starting my company I worked in several restaurants. I've owned a café division, worked at two local restaurants and was on the original staff that opened a fine dinning establishment in my area. I've worked the "front of the house," "back of the house" and in-between. I wouldn't say that I'm "picky" but I do enjoy good food, clean presentation and warm service. These are a few basic criteria that I like to use when comparing restaurants and their culinary creations.

 Let's started with what I did like about Vic's. Vic's has a gluten free menu that has several options to choose from. This took away any ingredient guess work out of the equation. I appreciate that Vic's has gone to the effort to go through ingredients and prepare this menu for gluten free dietary restrictions.

Lump Crab and Mango Tower
For our appetizer we decided on the Lump Crab and Mango Tower. I'm a huge fan of the somewhat intense, peppery, flavor of arugula. (Actually, I just finished an arugula salad with Raspberry Balsamic arugula.) The natural flavor of this green was a good contrast to the sweet mango.  However, Kevin & I both thought the dish hadn't been seasoned. I decided to season it with pepper and salt at the table. This adjustment made a huge difference in the overall dish. After the dish was seasoned, we enjoyed it quite well.
"As is" Petite Iceburg Wedge Salad
(Yes, it looks like I went crazy on the pepper here as well. )
I appreciate good service. I always try to treat my servers with respect...I was one you know? Strangely enough, our service was not what we expected from Vic's on the River. Honestly, I'm not sure if I didn't look like a big tipper or what the issue was. (Which I am a big tipper, by the way.) Our sever seemed very friendly with other tables in her section, but the level of service we were hoping for, wasn't there. She seemed happy to snap pictures all around, but seemed to neglect the simple detail of a smile to other guests. Also, I think black table cloths are extremely elegant in a dining room. However, let's not forget crumbs are very, visible on black tables. On behalf of Vic's, I saw other servers crumbing their tables throughout the evening. Perhaps it was just an off day for our sever. I could go on about the issue...but I won't.
Wild Georgia Shrimp & Smoked Cheddar Ground Grits
For my entrée I ordered Shrimp & Grits. This is quite a popular dish in Savannah. The shrimp were a nice size and cooked perfectly. They topped the dish with bacon which played off the smokiness of the grits. Our first two courses came very quickly. However, our entrees took longer to arrive. I never complain about the amount of time it takes for excellent food to arrive. I do wish the staff would have noticed the sauce splatters along the plate. Just taking a few seconds to wipe down the edges of the plate, would make a world of difference in the overall presentation of the dishes. (See above photo. Sorry it's a little blurry.)

Pan Seared Jumbo Scallops
Kevin decided on the Jumbo Scallops. This was the second time he had scallops in Savannah. I'll let him make additional notes if he wants later. I sampled his dish and found the scallops were very moist and tender. We both thought the clear winner from the night was the Shrimp & Grits.

After finishing our entrees, our server returned to our table. She asked, "Are you going to have dessert? The "only" thing you can have is the Sweet Potato Crème Brulee." As appetizing as my option sounded...we decided to call it a night.
I had mentioned to a local, Savannah foodie that we had reservations at Vic's. He suggested that we try Noble Fare. He said that in the past he'd enjoyed Vic's, but recently it hasn't been up to par. Since we had reservations at Vic's already we decided to go for it. I'm not sure if Noble Fare will accommodate a gluten free diet, but I'm checking in to this for the future. This wasn't an easy review for me to write, but I'm truthful, and it is...what it is. Thankfully, gluten free dining is getting easier. Long gone are the days of naked chicken and salad. With that comes expectations...especially at the $20-$30 a plate.
If you'd like to learn more about Vic's on the River you can check them online.

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