Tuesday, October 2

Brace yourself -- I'm about to say something nice about Savannah

I've still not gotten over the irrational love/hate/mostly hate thing I have for Savannah, but never did I expect to find something in Savannah I can actually gush about and say that I really, really like.


Uptown is this restaurant on Main Street that's kind of in the tradition of trendy New York bistros, where things are black and glossy and stylish and asymmetrical and that sort of thing. I'd eaten there once before when it was fairly new, and I remember being unimpressed. But that's because I had a stick up my ass and felt ridiculous even being in Savannah.

Said stick has been more or less removed. I'm trying to not be such a jerk about my hometown and sort of drink it in and appreciate it for what it is. (I do not extend this generous line of thought to any time spent in Wal-Mart.)

Anyhoo, yesterday evening, as the sun was setting on the river, mom and I stopped by Uptown for dinner. The weather was beautiful, so we asked to sit on the deck. I asked for the wine list with glee -- only recently did Savannah finally pass a liquor-by-the-drink law that allowed booze in restaurants -- and was relieved that it wasn't all Yellowtail and Sutter Home. And Franzia. Mom ordered the glazed salmon and sweet-potato fries, and I ordered the chunky chicken salad sandwich (with cranberries!).

I almost danced a little jig when they brought out mom's salad. It was a real salad -- you know with romaine and olives and parmesan and all that good stuff. Not just iceberg lettuce, carrot strips and bacon bits.

Seriously, I can't express to you how bad the standard fare is in Savannah. You've got your caste of fast food, of course -- McDonald's, Taco Bell, KFC, Wendy's, Burger King, etc. -- but then just above that are the so-called restaurants that, honestly, don't serve food that's much more sophisticated than a sackful of Krystal burgers. These places pretty much rely on Sysco for their food supplies, so everything tastes like something you probably ate in your middle school cafeteria. Sure, you can probably get some decent soul food-type stuff if you're okay with everything being fried and drenched in cheese and ranch dressing, but it sucks to have to eat chicken-fried chicken or fried chicken strips or fried steak or any of that crap when you want to go out to a nice dinner that includes non-breaded items.

So, enter Uptown, which has been around for at least five years. The menu isn't huge, which probably turns a lot of people off. It's fairly pricey (our tab for two was $40). And the menu offers a lot of items that probably freak the more xenophobic Hardin Countians out (pot stickers, anyone?). Plus, the general aesthetic of the place is very anti-redneck. Shit, it seems very anti-Savannah.

Which -- surprise! -- is why I guess I enjoyed myself so much. It was like a little slice of urbanity in a big fat Southern-fried pie. And Savannah needs that diversity. I mean, I enjoy going to the River Heights Cafe and inhaling the scent of greasy, fried catfish while whooping it up with the family, but I also really like kicking back with my mom and eating fantastic and beautifully prepared food with pretty silverware while drinking wine on the deck of a sidewalk bistro.

It's about freaking time Savannah offered that option.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you ever eat at Savannah Cooks when it was open? They had a rather impressive chicken salad on a croissant. And the chicken salad contained red grapes, walnuts, and all sorts of goodies. Of course, they couldn't serve wine.

In fact, the bistro in which you dined was more than likely in the old Savannah Cooks building.

I'll definitely drop in the next time I'm in town.

Tue Oct 02, 05:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I highly doubt you know enough about Sysco to make broad generalizations as to the quality of their food.

Tue Oct 02, 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

Yep, PT, it's the old Savannah Cooks. And no, I never made it out to eat there when they were open because it seems like they had real abbreviated hours or something.

The chicken salad was indeed on a croissant. I suspect it may be a similar recipe, and it's awesome.

Lolz @anonymous, who's joining us to come to the aid of the poor and oppressed company that is Sysco.

Tue Oct 02, 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger fearlessvk said...

not to be a total moron but...what is sysco??

Tue Oct 02, 08:40:00 PM  
Blogger fearlessvk said...

also i was pretty confused by this post until it dawned on me you were talking about savannah, tn, not savannah, georgia.

Tue Oct 02, 08:41:00 PM  
Blogger theogeo said...

My experience with Sysco – which, as anonymous points out, is cripplingly limited — is that they have been the food supplier for damn near every food outlet I came in contact with in my youth.

From cafeteria food to gas-station food (my family owned a convenience store, anonymous, and we fried up plenty of yucky/yummy Sysco fare) to restaurant food, Sysco is ubiquitous.

Also, you just reminded me that I need to get my ass to Savannah, Ga. I've heard such amazing things about it. I need to see it.

Wed Oct 03, 12:15:00 AM  

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