Photography by Beau Gustafson
The Grand Bohemian Hotel recently made its debut in Mountain Brook Village. And inside the hotel is its new restaurant, Habitat Feed and Social. The restaurant is open to hotel guests and the public for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch.
The Grand Bohemian is located at 2655 Lane Park Road in Mountain Brook Village. A Marriott property, this boutique hotel of the Kessler Collection has a garden theme, which pays homage to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. There is a valet for the hotel and restaurant. From here, we take the elevator to the third floor. Once on the third floor, we walk through the wine tasting room, around the corner, and up the hall to the restaurant’s dining room. The dining room has an eclectic ambience with purple velvet banquettes flanking the four “walls.” To the right is the open kitchen where cooks and servers congregate around a row of copper heat lamps keeping plates hot. To the left is the more dimly lit bar that has its opening from the hall, as well as two openings to the restaurant with windows in between. Most everyone is gathered in the bar area tonight. Loud music and a roar of conversations from the bar area spill over into the brightly lit restaurant’s dining room. Overhead are antler chandeliers, and a bright green, pink, and purple floral designed carpet is underneath. The carpet’s design is replicated on the backs of the chairs that dot the center of the space, where they surround tables for four. And on the far wall is a private dining space. On this rainy night we did not tour the Boho-chic outdoor rooftop space complete with fire pits, ottomans, and massive chairs.
Kirk Gilbert serves as executive chef. Gilbert’s professional culinary career began at The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island. He then worked at other Ritz Carlton Hotel Company properties, Sea Island Resorts, a yacht club in the British Virgin Islands, The Ballantyne in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina. And Alex Floyd, formerly of Hot and Hot Fish Club, is the manager of the restaurant. The Kessler Collection of hotels was founded by Richard Kessler, an entrepreneur in hotel development and operations. He has been chairman and CEO of The Kessler Enterprise, Inc., since 1984.
There is a nice wine list from which we order glasses of JCB by Jean Charles Boisset, Brut Cremant de Bourgogne N 21. The dinner menu is seasonal and includes several Alabama and regional products. The French wine pairs well with our bowls of Gulf Shrimp and Shellfish Chowder. The chowder is light in body and it is topped with a crostini. It is scrumptious and full of flavor. For entrees, we order Gulf Coast Shrimp and Diver Scallops and the 1855 Black Angus Ribeye. The succulent shrimp and plump, delicate scallops are cooked to perfection, not overly or under done. And they are served on a plateful of celery root and mashed Yukon gold potatoes, with sliced rainbow carrots in a saffron lemongrass beurre. We also order a side of crispy fingerling potatoes. The tender steak is cooked to order and arrives on a cutting block, which makes for a lovely presentation. After our generous entrees, we do not need dessert. But the menu has some lovely options including a Red Mountain Mud Pie, Warm Hominy Butter Cake, and Pumpkin and Espresso Cheesecake.