Savannah whispers stories of layers of lives lived; hoary Spanish moss sways in the breeze as each town square shares some, but not all, of its secrets. Savannah’s charm is also encrusted with a layer of tourist attractions that do a serviceable job of telling her story, but almost, almost leave you feeling you could be in a mall, anywhere.
So where to dine to get a sense of the here and then, the very immediate nature of history filtered through the present? Friends suggested Vic’s on the River, and it did not disappoint. Its dining room perches with one foot on busy, historic East Bay Street and the other poised four stories atop River Street, looking down over the river and its commerce that has always cruised below.
We started with the amusing Pulled Pork Eggroll situated in a drizzling of three sauces: barbeque, hot mustard, and peach chutney, perfect for dipping and sampling. The “Crobb” Salad pictured above was the most visually appealing, but disappointing entree (but then again I did choose a salad). The goat cheese was the commercially available sort that causes people to dislike goat cheese, the crab was just ok, and the creamy citrus vanilla dressing was interesting, but ultimately cloying. Shrimp and grits graced with bacon and rosemary barbeque sauce proved a more interesting choice. We did not try the friend chicken liver sliders, which we’ve heard are fabulous.
But the reason to return, to love this place is the chance to simply sit in the lambent light on a bright spring day, with new green live oak leaves waving on the East Bay Street side windows, and the Savannah River flowing by below on the opposite side. History goes that Sherman’s “lesser” officers camped there during the “War Between the States.” A portion of a map detailing Sherman’s traipse south from Chattanooga drawn by his men on the plaster walls has been restored, complete with local detail (Lookout Mountain, Calhoun…) we’re still familiar with today. The past and the present, the golden light, the river leading to the sea…..the food is fine here, but it’s not the main course.