Feasting at the Bayou in Savannah
The Bayou Café is the most unpretentious neighborhood hangout on River Street at the foot of the Abercorn ramp. With foot thick ancient walls of hand-cut stone and a mix-up of stickers decorating the old wood above the bar, it’s got a feel of thrown-together humility unlike any other place on River Street. Lack of decorating aside, this hangout offers good local food at great prices.
People love the idea of cheap eats in a not-so-cheap environment. In downtown Savannah that’s kind of refreshing.
Because we suggest restaurants to thousands of customers at Cool Savannah monthly, we’re now making it our goal to try every one.
Jordan greeted us as we walked in and got right down to explaining how the Bayou Cafe stands out from the rest of the restaurants on River Street, how much care is taken in everything from their food preparation to their home made hot sauce!
Jordan suggested we start with the Grouper Bites. We had them blackened. The menu explains that these “bites” are actually the cheeks of the grouper, part of the fish with the highest fat content. They were awesome, like a poor man’s scallop, they were rich and light tasting, like chunks of lobster. All that was missing was the butter sauce, we started dipping them in the cocktail sauce they came with and then went for the homemade hot sauce Jordan turned us onto.
The Alligator sausage Po’ Boy was one of the Bayou’s signature dishes. I like the idea of eating an alligator rather than it eating me, so count me in. The Alligator sausage tasted like a good spicy Italian sausage, if I didn’t know a gator gave his life for my meal I’d never have known what was in it. No gamy or fishy taste just a great sandwich, btw, I drizzled more of the homemade hot sauce down the center of the sausage. The deep fried crispy chips were good too, a bit cold though. If you’re in the South and you’re gonna offer me something fried, for the love of Pete, get them to me hot!
Somewhere in the pile of food that I devoured, there was a mug of corn crab chowder. Creamy, chunky with potatoes and corn and heavy on the blue crab, really heavy on the crab. I liked it enough to finish the Boss’s cup because she was going to have it for lunch the next day and we couldn’t have that could we?
As for the Boss’s meal, she had most of the grouper bites, she enjoyed some of her corn crab chowder and she had the Ruben. Unlike the rest of America, the sandwich was topped with dijon mustard. It must be a Southern thing. The menu said there should have been thousand island dressing on the side, make sure you get it and use it. The half sandwich was loaded with sauerkraut, topped with Swiss cheese and according to the Boss, pretty tasty and filling.
Next time we’re there, I’m going to try the Bayou’s Shrimp and Grits. Jordan insists it’s their other signature dish, with deep fried cheesy grits, topped with sautéed Shrimp and fried collard greens. We’ll see how good it really is.
For a link to their website and menu click here.
If you’re looking for beautiful ambiance and décor to the max, this is not your place, but for good food with a Southern slant, at great prices, this place fits the bill. It is a bar, so the service can be kind of slow, but the food and relaxed atmosphere more than make up for it!