Isaac's on Drayton

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Isaac's on Drayton
By Cima Star








Isaacís on Drayton Ė a restaurant in search of its identity

In the twelve years Iíve lived in Savannah, this is the fourth metamorphosis of a restaurant at this location.

First, there was an English pub, then came the White Horse Tavern, then Churchillís British Pub. Then, about four years ago, came a massive fire, and lots of folks, including the owner, thought the place would never be restored.

Now restored, a nice piano rests off to one side, halfway down the length of the dining room, A woman with ivory-savvy fingers plays some pleasing sounds of jazz. I sit down at the bar to wait for my companion and order a martini. It arrives: icy cold and perfectly dry and delicious.

At the far end of the bar, a television spouts a football game, an odd juxtaposition with the upscale looking room and the music. Disappointingly, the pianist disappears.

The menu, too, seems ambiguous. Centered with an image of a boxer, the appetizers are dubbed Round One; the entrees Round Two, echoing the sports bar suggestion of the television.

The dishes themselves suggest upscale dining. My companion arrives and we move to a table further away from the TV to consider our intriguing dinner choices.

Among the many tempting appetizers, are Grilled Shrimp & Polenta Cake, Plantation Crab Cakes, Grilled Shrimp & Fried Green Tomato Napoleon, Crab Au Gratin and a Beef Roulade. We settle on the Napoleon and the Crab Cakes.

The Napoleon is beautiful! The fried green tomatoes nestled amongst the delicate pastry are perfectly crisp, wonderfully green and delicious. The shrimp on top are nicely flavored, but bit rubbery in texture. I suspect they were previously frozen. They are not wild Georgia shrimp.

The crab cakes prove to be similarly flawed. They are tasty, but with too much filler. The accompanying red pepper sauce is tasty too, what little there is. And the blue cheese and toasted pecan slaw looks pretty but has little flavor of either blue cheese or pecans .

For entrees, my friend opts for the grilled scallops and I for the pork tenderloin. Both are elegantly presented.

The pork tenderloin, sporting a brandied mushroom cream sauce and its garnishes of sweet potato cake and julienne vegetables, looks lovely and tastes good. But although good, it isnít the milk-white pork tenderloin found in a number of good eateries around town, nor as tender.

Glorious looking, my friendís scallops are surrounded with garlic mashed Yukon Gold potatoes and some mighty fine, perfectly cooked asparagus. The scallops themselves donít match up. Both bay scallops and sea scallops grace the generous portion. Both are somewhat watery; both are flawed. The large ones seem undercooked with strangely mushy insides; the tiny ones rubbery.

Overall, I have the impression of a finely trained and highly skilled, upscale chef who is cutting corners on ingredientsí quality. It simply cannot be done.

And I doubt that you can combine a sports bar and an upscale eatery and not end up confusing patrons. I truly hope that Isaacís finds its identity and its path and lasts. Iíll keep you posted. Meantime, theyíve got a terrific bartender and the servers are gracious, attentive and efficient. -- CS

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Isaacís on Drayton
9 Drayton St.
tel: 231-0100
fax: 231-0303
Lunch & Dinner Daily
Mon. Ė Sat. 11 am to 10 pm
Sun. Ė 1 pm to 10 pm
Full Bar
Entrees: $17 to $30











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