Shula’s Steaks: A Perfect Record


by Jan Walsh, Photography by Beau Gustafson

Dining at Shula’s Steak House is consistently a winner. I have dined here, both for restaurant reviews and just for pleasure, for many years. From the ambiance and service to the cuisine, they have a perfect record with me.

The concept of Shula’s Steak House is a tribute to the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins team led by coach Don Shula. Their 17–0 record is the only perfect season in NFL history. Head coach Starla Andrews leads the Birmingham team at Shula’s to continued success.

 

The Beef

The Shulas own and breed registered Angus cattle in Albany, Georgia, at the Graham Angus Farm, one of the top Angus farms in the U.S. They exclusively use the Premium Black Angus Beef® brand. Applying Shula’s aging process to their custom cuts of beef creates The SHULA CUT ®.

 

The Restaurant 

Located inside Hyatt Hotel at the Riverchase Galleria, Shula’s Steak House has its own entrance for locals with complimentary valet parking. There is an additional entrance in the hotel lobby for hotel guests. The upscale steakhouse ambiance contrasts dark-paneled walls with pristine white tablecloths. Football memorabilia adorns the space in a tasteful fashion. Even the menu is presented on a football autographed by Don Shula. For private events, the Wine Room seats up to 32 people.

 

The Lounge

For a “light” night out, we often pop into the No Name Lounge at Shula’s Steak House for drinks and appetizers. This intimate space has bar seating, high tops, and banquette seating with televisions for those who want to catch a game. The Lounge also lends itself to a cocktail before dinner, a luxury of which we partake tonight. Tonight we opt for the Coco-Rita and a Chocolate Martini. On first sip, I have a new favorite cocktail here in the Coco-Rita. Made of 1800 coconut tequila, muddled pineapple, and fresh citrus juices, and garnished with fresh pineapple, this is the drink for me—not too sweet and layered with exotic island flavors. The Chocolate Martini— smooth, dark, and creamy—is just as lovely.

 

Favorite Fare 

While it is difficult to dine at Shula’s and not order a steak, their seafood is also a must. Tonight we start with the blackened sea scallops and the shellfish trio. Two lovely scallops arrive on pineapple-mango salsa with agave nectar, which adds a touch of sweetness to the delicate scallops. The shellfish trio is my favorite appetizer at Shula’s and is what I typically order for my nights in the Lounge. For me, it just doesn’t get better than this chilled seafood dish: a succulent half lobster tail, gorgeous Gulf shrimp, and fresh jumbo lump crab with a lemon and a trio of sauces for dipping. The freshness of the seafood is apparent in the flavors and texture of each bite.

For entrees we are enlightened by the “show and tell” steak cart, as our server displays and informs about each of The SHULA CUT ® steaks. From the cart we select a 24-ounce porterhouse, along with today’s daily fish special, Gulf grouper. For sides, large enough for sharing, we choose grilled asparagus, sautéed spinach, and a twice-baked potato. And we pair Moët and Chandon Brut Impérial Champagne and Domaine Chandon Pinot Noir with our surf and turf meal.

The thick, sizzling steak arrives along with a grouper that fills its plate. The waiter shines a flashlight on the steak to ensure it is cooked to our liking. The steak is perfection—melt-in-the-mouth tender, juicy, and flavorful. The pan-seared grouper is large and lovely, served on a bed of creamy, buttery sauce that accents the fresh flavors of the fish. We help ourselves family-style at the table from our generous bowls of sides. The large asparagus is grilled tender and drizzled with a balsamic glaze. The spinach, which was sautéed with olive oil and fresh garlic, is unlike any other. The deep green leaves arrive without wetness, but with an airy, crisp texture. And the hearty twice-baked potato is loaded with morsels of Applewood bacon and melted white cheddar and Parmesan cheeses in every bite. We go back again and again, scooping a little more of each on our plates. For dessert we enjoy a unique Key lime pie and pair it with coffee for a tasty end to another winning meal at Shula’s.

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