The openings are coming at us fast and furious. They have been for what seems like forever around here, including grilled cheeses, desserts, a New York-style bodega and an Italian masterpiece in the Victorian District.
Sometimes I laugh when I get a text from a friend asking about new places because they can't keep up anymore. I feel ya. I have trouble keeping up and I do this for a living.
Not mentioned above on the list of newbies on the Savannah scene is a spot you may have heard a few whispers about, but I'm guessing if someone asked you right now where it was, you couldn't answer that question. The restaurant is called Rhett, and it is inside of the new Alida Hotel, 412 Williamson St., at the intersection of River Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
There's a lot of construction going on over in that corner of our city. The Kessler Plant Riverside project dominates the landscape right now on the river. I'm guessing that unless you follow this type of stuff closely, then you didn't even know a totally separate hotel was built across River Street from that massive Kessler undertaking.
The hotel is beautiful, art deco in design, warm and inviting. One flight down, or down a set of stairs if you are outside, is River Street and the restaurant. Yes, Rhett is tucked away right now. You are going to have to really want to get there to, well, get there. I think you should. I had dinner there last week and it was wonderful.
The menu is a bit on the smallish side, which I wasn't a fan of, frankly. I am told this is just a beginning menu and it will expand down the road. Their mains list a roasted pork with fermented collards and boiled peanuts, a steak au poivre and a half roasted chicken. There's a fried cauliflower appetizer (oh my) and house-made ricotta.
The cocktails and wine program are in excellent hands. Rhett recruited some of the best beverage talent in the city to oversee their effort. That would include Cody Henson, who has been part of the bar programs at The Grey, Collins Quarter and most recently El Coyote on Victory Drive.
The food and drink isn't the issue at Rhett; it's the location. I believe it is a temporary issue, but an issue nonetheless. I was told they regularly see tourists walking up River Street who see the construction and turn back east on the river. Of course, eventually that will all iron itself out when the Kessler project opens its doors sometime next year. That effort will include parking garages, which will allow easier access to everything going on the western end of the river.
But until then, I'm guessing the higher-maintenance folks among us will find it a bit of a challenge to get to Rhett, even if an elevator inside the front door of the hotel will take you right down to the restaurant. We've heard far too many times about people who hate to walk two blocks for dinner downtown. They prefer to be right up front.
The hotel is loaded with meeting and banquet space; it's clear they are targeting business groups. The restaurant even has two beautiful private dining rooms to accommodate groups who are dining with them. I'm guessing numbers-wise, they will be fine until the dust eventually settles across the street.
Rhett is a fine addition to our food scene. Especially on River Street. I look forward to a few nights down there with some light bites and a glass of wine or two. Frankly, I think you should give a damn, as well. I'm looking forward to seeing a more robust menu when they get to it, but in the short term, I am going to be very curious how many locals won't be scared away by its location.
See you on TV,
Where: The Alida Hotel, 412 Williamson St.
Contact: 912-715-7000, firstname.lastname@example.org
Info: diningwithrhett.com, thealidahotel.com