By Madoline Markham
Birmingham Restaurant Week makes a good excuse not to cook Aug. 12-21. Pre-fix menus at around 70 local restaurants come with price points as low as $5, but in our book, the best way to take advantage of the offerings is with the $30 menus. When else can you get an appetizer, entrée, and dessert from one of Birmingham’s best-known chefs for what is normally the average price of the entrée alone?
We rounded up the menus for some of our favorites to help you choose your own restaurant week adventure. Trust us, it’s not an easy call to make, so you might need to go to more than one eatery. If you need added incentive, you’re helping boost the local economy; last year participating restaurants saw a 20 percent average increase in restaurant sales compared to other 10-day periods.
Notes: Dishes pictured are from the restaurant but not necessarily those on the restaurant week menu. The descriptions come from the perspective of B-Metro managing editor Madoline Markham.
The word bottega means artisan’s workshop, and indeed here you will find the Italian-inspired work of culinary artisans under the direction of Frank Stitt. The menu boasts local and organic products integrated with artisan products from the Italian countryside like southern heirloom tomatoes in the Italian pastas.
- Roman Salad with Olives or Fritto Misto
- Pappardelle with Braised Duck and Chanterelles or Branzino with Gulf Crabmeat or Bavette Steak with Chickpea Fries
- Blueberry Semifreddo with Candied Sicilian Pistachios
Chef George McMillian III brings the farm to the table with just enough jazz to entertain your taste buds but not distract them. If the weather isn’t too wretched, take your catfish with farmer’s market goodness al fresco in Cahaba Heights.
- Santorini (cucumber, olives, tomato, oregano, feta, e.v.o.o.)
- Pan Fried Catfish with Finley Ave. Succotash
- Warm Lavender Pound Cake
This Five Points historic home mixes the Southern feel of its home with Cali-French-inspired cuisine. If you haven’t been since it transformed from Veranda, Shrimp and Grits make a great excuse to do so.
- Heirloom Tomato Salad or Grilled Heart of Romaine
- Gulf Shrimp & Stone Ground Grits or Hereford Beef au Poivre
- Tahitian Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée or Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding
When Frank Stitt opened it Five Points in 1982, Highlands set the benchmark for Birmingham’s burgeoning culinary scene. This year’s restaurant week menu will no doubt set a similar benchmark.
- Chilled Cucumber Soup or Little Gem Bibb with Green Goddess Dressing
- Gulf Fish with Lady Peas or Hanger Steak with Zucchini & Yellow Squash Gratin
- Lemon Trifle with Chiffon Cake
As of this summer, Chef Clif Holt is back at the helm of the kitchen at this Forest Park establishment. Their menu is sure to taste as local as it can, and it will no doubt be an easy sell for bread pudding fans.
- BLT Wedge Salad or Chilled Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
- Pasta a la Bolognese or Heritage Pork Paillard
- White Chocolate Bread Pudding, Summer Berry Coulis
Restaurateur George Reis does seafood just right from the contemporary interior of this Five Points mainstay. We already know the fried feta makes their Greek Style salad, but this goat cheese ice cream has us super curious.
- Cold Smoked Fried Oysters with Pork Belly and Farm Egg or Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese Ice Cream or Ocean Salad “Greek Style”
- Crispy Skin Gulf Coast Flounder or Pork Roulade
- Bruleed Vanilla Pot De Crème
Take a trip to Spain for tapas-style fare at Chris Hasting’s new-ish, globally inspired concept. The restaurant’s open flame”fire barrow” cooking method was featured on Cooking Channel’s Man Fire Food in July. Patio seating is available in its Pepper Place space.
- Ciabatta Flatbread
- Paella Valenciana
- Dulce de Leche Flan
This Texas-based steak house has opened shop in the Colonnade. Its USDA Prime steaks are Nebraska-bred and aged for 28 days, and here the main event is sandwiched between something green and something sweet.
- Wedge Salad or Caesar Salad or Kale Salad
- 6-ounce Filet Perry or Perry’s Famous Pork Chop or Grilled Salmon
- Dessert Trio: Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée, Chocolate Crunch, and Praline Cheesecake
Our managing editor is still salivating over the just-rare-enough salmon followed by lightly decadent fruit-smothered beignets she had at Satterfield’s in Cahaba Heights for restaurant week a few years ago. Chef and Owner Becky Satterfield clearly remembers, too, and has added Alabama’s favorite fruit to the final course this go-round.
- Artisan Lettuces or Chilled Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho
- Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon or Pan Roasted Joyce Farms Chicken Breast
- Beignets with Sautéed Peaches
This Lakeview newbie is a trendy gastropub that serves up globally influenced, Southern progressive comfort food. We’d like to note that there’s fruit in every course of this meal (the salmon is served with an Israeli couscous with tomatoes, golden raisins, and feta vinaigrette)—a summertime refreshment win.
- Melon and Prosciutto Salad
- Mushroom Swiss Burger or Seared Atlantic Salmon
- Peaches & Cream Cheesecake with Streusel Topping
This is officially the biggest selection for a three-course meal we could find among the restaurant week offerings, including the Veggie Plate with Owls Hollow Farms squash casserole and Trim Tab beer-battered onion rings, among other offerings, we featured in B-Metro this summer.
- Hoppin’ John Hummus, Buffalo Cauliflower Bites, Alabama Caprese, Fried Green Tomatoes, or Smoked Ahi Tuna Dip
- Char Grilled Atlantic Salmon, Alabama-Grown Veggie Plate, Blackened Gulf Coast Fish Filet or Southern Fried Chicken & Biscuits, or 5-ounce Grilled Beef Tenderloin
- French Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee, Peach Turnovers, or Smores Pot de Crème
When Southern summer achieves evening temperature comfort, this English Village patio delivers the Mediterranean-inspired dishes and friendly smiles of restaurateur Al Rabiee.
- Classic Caesar / Lamb Bisque
- Pappardelle Con Fungi with Grilled Chicken, Grouper Farfella, or Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
- Apple Fritters & Ice Cream or Chilton County Peach & Mixed Berry Cobbler