All Time Favorites
Six Years of 50 Favorites brings a tried and true list of All Time Favorites!
By Jan Walsh
Baby Lobster Tails - 26: On Monday evenings the daily special at 26 (Twenty Six) is Baby Lobster Tails. These hickory-wood fired, grilled babies are consistently moist, succulent, sweet—and to die for. I also catch this dish at 26’s partner restaurant, Ocean, on Tuesday through Saturday evenings as a dinner appetizer special.
Ruben Supreme – Another Broken Egg: Ruben Supreme
Fine cuts of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on grilled rye bread—just what a Ruben should be. This classic, hot and delicious sandwich is served with pickle and country potatoes.
Chiang Mai Scallops - Asian Rim: These large scallops are seared to a golden brown outside. Their delicate texture and Chiang Mai flavor are enhanced with their accompaniment of crisp, colorful, tangy mango slaw with crunchy Macadamia Nuts.
Sonoma Sliders - Avo: Chef Ben Kirk’s tasty sliders are true to the style of this California cuisine restaurant and please all. Ground tenderloin with melted foie gras, caramelized onions on house focaccia with port-wine Dijon make this a long time popular dish.
Cheese Ravioli - Bellini’s Ristorante & Bar: The pasta for this dish is fresh and handmade. Each round envelope is generously stuffed with a beautiful combo of white cheeses. A flavorful, brilliant red, tomato sauce and a layer of melted cheese top the ravioli, which is grated fresh at the table.
Rib-eye Steak Sandwich - Billy’s Sports Grills, English Village & Overton: This hearty, marinated and grilled rib-eye is cooked to order and served on a bun with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Tried and true—I have enjoyed this consistently delicious sandwich for many years, at both Billy’s locations.
Eggs Horatio - Billy’s Overton: Two steak tenderloin medallions nestle atop English muffins and topped with poached eggs. The eggs are cooked to order, so the yolk spills over the steak, bread and onto the surrounding buttery grits on first cut. Sides include a bowl of grits and fresh melons.
Eggs Benedict - Bistro V: This Benedict includes a Southern surprise—country ham. It also has a generous helping of Hollandaise sauce over lovely and delicious, McEwen poached farm eggs. This salty, smoky and tender ham, paired with these tasty eggs, brings me back for more.
White Pizza Pie - Bottega Café: I fear that I am addicted to Bottega Café’s White Pie because their servers know it is “my usual.” This perfect balance of fennel sausage, onion, ricotta and provolone integrate into the pizza’s handmade dough that evolves into a divine, light crust in the wood oven. Just can’t help myself!
Gulf Red Snapper & Italian Succotash - Bottega Restaurant: Authentically Bottega—this grouper dish is both Southern and Italian. The snapper is pink on the outside, white and and flaky on the inside. And the succotash is a scrumptious mix of fresh field peas, corn, zucchini along with hints of basil.
Oysters & Okra – Café Dupont
Owner and executive chef, Chris Dupont’s Apalachicola oysters and fried whole pods of okra are irresistible. Paired with Cayenne Butter Sauce with horseradish creme fraiche and soy glaze, each crisp bite of this dish is fried perfection.
Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas - Cantina Tortilla Grill
Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas spark up my day. Warm tortilla envelopes hot, succulent, grilled shrimp with a spicy mix of black beans, yellow corn and roasted bell peppers.
Lobster and Shrimp BLT – Chez Fonfon
Big bites of lobster and shrimp, apple smoked bacon, tiny bites of tomato, red onion and leaves of romaine synthesize into a marvelous medley of flavors accented by fresh chives, parsley and shallots. This magnificent dish is enjoyed as a Wednesday special in the summer months.
Soupa Avgolemono - Dodiyos
Dodiyós’ signature soup of Chicken and Orzo Soup, “Soupa Avgolemono” both comforts my soul and satisfies my appetite. This creamy lemon-and-egg soup includes tasty strips of shredded white chicken meat and bites of orzo. And the last wonderful bite is as piping hot as the first.
Country Ham Sliders - Dram Whiskey Bar
Chef Ben Kirk’s Country Ham Sliders from the “Victuals” list are four small and light buttermilk biscuits, filled with layers of thinly sliced Benton Farms (Tennessee) country ham, and served with apple butter—brings back childhood memories of Granny’s ham and biscuits.
Big Daddy Chicken Sandwich – Dreamland Bar-B-Que
One half pound of hickory barbecue smoked chicken—chopped, sliced or pulled—is piled high on a warm bun, along with Dreamland’s legendary sauce and dill pickle slices. BBQ does not get better than this, unless you pair it with their tasty, toasty cheese fries.
Fried Crab Claws – Dyron’s Lowcountry
I am a huge fan of Dyron’s Crab Claws. They are available fried or marinated. But I like the fried so much that I have yet to order them marinated. Huge meaty claws are fried to a golden brown—served with lemon wedges and Dyron’s old-fashioned cocktail or citrus vinaigrette.
Chilled Seafood Tower - Fleming’s Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Set atop a copper stand, a tall mound of ice is dotted with succulent lobster tails and Alaskan King Crab Legs. Firm, cold jumbo shrimp and snow crab claws encircle this impressive dish. And small bowls of super lump, delicate crabmeat and a divine seafood ceviche—of scallops and squid—are nestled inside.
Fettuccini Alfredo with Gulf Shrimp - GianMarco’s Restaurant
Ribbons of fettuccini, with Old World texture and earthy flavors are lightly tossed in Alfredo. Rich white sauce adheres to each noodle, synthesizing both the structure and flavors of each. And large, beautiful, pink Gulf Shrimp—simply sautéed with butter, salt and pepper—crown the pasta with their succulent goodness.
Friture de la Mer – Highlands Bar and Grill
Frank Stitt’s’ Friture de la Mer makes a delightful appetizer for sharing. But sometimes I make a meal of it by keeping it all to myself. Generous, golden portions of fresh fried grouper, shrimp, and oysters are accented by the acidity of fried lemons and the crunch and heat of the fried peppers. And Highlands’ divine, Sauce Rémoulade adds creaminess to the dish.
Tomato Salad – Hot and Hot Fish Club
Fresh peas, fresh corn, fried okra, and chive aioli intermingle with a stack of colorful fresh Beefsteak, Golden Delight, Rainbow and Sweet 100 tomatoes. A slice of crunchy Apple Wood smoked bacon is atop this tomato tower. Chris and Idie Hastings offer this divine dish during summer, when local tomatoes and other vegetables in the dish are in season.
Root Beer Float - Jackson’s Bar & Bistro
Meatball & Ricotta Pizza - La Dolce Vita:
Three Olives Root Beer Vodka—a blend of imported English vodka with flavors of root beer—is the foundation of this drink. Served in a lowball, it is dark on bottom—mixed with Coke— and white on top with a mountain of creamy vanilla foam.
More than a pizza, this dish is a meal. Meatball & Ricotta Pizza of Grandma’s smashed meatballs, ricotta cheese, Sunday sauce, fresh mozzarella.
Baked Chicken Greek Style - Lloyd’s Restaurant
: The lovely half chicken arrives on a large platter along side the large baked, skinless potato—both in the chicken’s jus. Mild, rich Greek flavors enhance this delicious chicken and tasty potato.
Seafood Tower - MetroPrime Steakhouse:
Think MetroPrime is a great place for a steak? It is. But don’t overlook their seafood offerings includingthe Seafood Tower. Three seafood appetizers combine in this beautiful and succulent dish: Poached Gulf Shrimp Cocktail, Marinated Gulf Crab Claws and Raw Beau Soleil Oysters. And make at home for a party of 20 or a feast for a few. Watch chef Warren Weiss prepare seafood tower.
Power Salad - Mix:
Mix offers a Power Salad that is popular with fitness foodies. Chef Chris Dupont developed the delicious and healthy, chilled dish. A mound of flaky smoked salmon rests on organic greens and is surrounded by a soft poached egg, two avocado halves, heirloom tomatoes, tart marinated cucumbers, juicy strawberries, and French lentils mixed with celery, onions and carrots.
Spaghetti & Sicilian-style Meatballs - Nabeel’s Café & Market
Ribbons of spaghetti are tossed in an Italian sauce, made from a family recipe. The sauce is mild, not spicy. The spaghetti has an old world texture and heartiness. And the Sicilian-style meatballs are medium in size, allowing the sauce’s flavors to incorporate throughout. This divine dish is a bowlful of comfort. This dish is served as a Saturday lunch and dinner special.
Gulf Coast Crab Cakes – Ocean
Owner and executive chef George Reis masterfully prepares the finest of fish and seafood for dinner at Ocean. And his crab cakes are among his masterpieces. Two golden Gulf Coast Crab Cakes filled with luscious lumps of delicate white crabmeat are complemented by yellow kernels of fresh, roasted corn and caramelized shallot relish with lemon dill tartar.
Twenty Dollar Burger - On Tap Sports Café
Here’s the beef! More than a burger, it is a meal. Two, stacked, half pound, handmade Angus beef patties are topped with Swiss and American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, brown potatoes and On Tap’s homemade queso. It is served with fries or chips.
Mega Sampler - Otey’s Tavern
Make a meal or a starter for sharing of this dish, which includes Otey’s Sampler of Mozzarella cheese sticks, Southern style chicken fingers, golden onion rings and fried popcorn shrimp, with dipping sauces. And the “mega” comes from the addition to their Sampler of the Breaded Jalapeno Poppers, stuffed with cheddar cheese.
Hereford Beef Filet - Satterfield’s Restaurant
This hickory grilled, tender and juicy Hereford Beef Filet is perfectly cooked to my order and liking—medium. And executive chef Haller Magee’s talents continue to shine in the creation of the steak’s mix of accompaniments: duck fat poached fingerling potatoes, rattlesnake beans, and baby beets with Chimichurri sauce.
Shrimp Cocktail – Shula’s Steakhouse
Due to the enormous size of the shrimp, the Shrimp Cocktail is served curled into the curve of a plate—rather than hanging over a stemmed glass or small bowl. The firm, delicious shrimp are chilled to perfection and accompanied by Shula’s famous cocktail sauce, which is rich and complex with a touch of a tangy heat. If there is a better Caesar salad or shrimp cocktail anywhere, I have not found them.
The Lakeview Pizza - Slice Stone Pizza and Brew: The old saying, “as easy as pie” does not apply to the making of Slice Stone Pizza and Brew’s signature pie—The Lakeview Pizza. The Lake View Pizza’s depth of flavors come from its layers of ingredients: braised short ribs, caramelized onion, roasted cherry tomatoes, Asiago, finished with arugula, red onion and horseradish sauce. Chef Terrell Brazelton shares the first step to making this pizza—braised short ribs. View Video.
Sampler & Margarita - Sol Y Luna
The basket includes a variety of crisp and colorful, house made chips: chile vinegar, sweet potato chips, and corn chips. And the centerpiece of this sampler is the bowl of refreshing, tasty guacamole, with avocado flavors and textures shining through. The Perfect Margarita makes the perfect pairing for this starter.
The Cuban - Sol's Sandwich Shop and Deli: The Cuban is a pork lovers delight. This delicious sandwich is made of roasted pork, honey ham, Swiss cheese, tasty pickles and spicy mustard.
Prime Rib Sandwich – Tavern on the Summit
This tender, juicy eight-ounce, trimmed prime rib is served on toasted sourdough with accompaniments of au jus and horseradish sauce. Both the sandwich and a pile of their potatoes cut into skinny sliver French fries arrive hot to the table, time after time.
Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe: Whole Roasted Lemon Herb Chicken can be ordered in half or in one-fourth sizes, with white meat only as an option. The top quality, and deep flavors of this moist, slow roasted, beautiful bird made it love at first bite. It is served with a tasty deep, dark reduction of onions, white wine, and fresh oregano. The fragrant, long grained and free flowing basmati rice makes a perfect side to both the chicken and its reduction. This dish comes with a Classic Greek side salad and thin, crisp—so good they are addictive—pita chips.
Peach Cobbler - Ted's Restaurant: The Peach Cobbler is chock full of peach slices and is topped with a crisp, golden and sweet crust. The crust and fruit meld together in each scrumptious bite. Just like your grandmother's cobbler!
Seafood Gumbo – The Bright Star
No wonder The Bright Star’s Seafood Gumbo is so good. Preparing it is a four-hour process. Chef Austin Davis starts with fresh fish stock, chicken stock and a host of seasonings then adds fresh fish that were cut into filets in house. It is available by the cup and the bowl during both lunch and dinner.
Deluxe Egg Sandwich - The Egg and I: Deluxe Egg Sandwich boasts two fried eggs, sliced ham, bacon, tomato, mayo and Havarti dill cheese stacked high on grilled sourdough bread, with a side of ranch potatoes.
Lasagna of the Day - The Silvertron Cafe
Chocolate Fondue – The Melting Pot
The Melting Pot offers many chocolate choices for dipping and swirling. My pick is Disaronno Meltdown with silky white chocolate swirled with Disaronno Originale Amaretto and flambéed tableside. Select among the tray of dippers—fresh strawberries, bananas, pineapple, Rice Krispies Treats, marshmallows, bites of cheesecake, pound cake and brownies.
Seafood Kabob - The Pita Stop, Cahaba Heights & Southside
Grilled shrimp, scallops, grouper, tomatoes, peppers and onions sit atop a platter of their earthy wild rice and a salad with their house vinaigrette. Refreshing slices of fresh cantaloupe, orange, and pineapple fill one end of the platter. Fresh pita and their divine hummus round out this flavor filled dish.
Made with chef Marco Morosini’s handmade pasta, this comforting dish comes with a side salad. It arrives hearty in portion, piping hot with layers of handmade pasta, ground mild and sweet Italian sausage, green peppers and onions with the perfect of ratio of sauce.
Ham & Brie Sandwich - The Wine Loft
Each Wednesday evening The Wine Loft offers a special meal and deal. Recently the ham and brie sandwich was served with fresh arugula, a drizzle of strawberry compote on warm ciabatta bread. Along with the sandwich there were two new wine pairings to choose from—all for only $10.
Veranda on Highland: My entree of P.E.I. Mussels arrives topped with a mound of the best crispy potatoes, which make another reason I will order this dish again next time. Below the potatoes rise lovely aromas of spring garlic, thyme, and their delicious white wine broth. These top quality mussels prepared by chef Jeffrey Hansell are an absolute must—highly recommended.
Beef Tenderloin Tacos - Village Tavern
Executive chef Mary Grace Vaido offers tacos in threes. Three warm, flour tortillas are overfilled with bite sized tips of beef tenderloin. These tasty tacos also include shredded lettuce, a luscious lime crema, hot salsa and fresh guacamole and are served with black beans and rice.
Lobster Bisque - Vino: The Lobster Bisque at Vino is as wonderful a bisque as I have ever tasted. This creamy goodness is filled with bites of lobster and is topped with a bite of crab and a touch of olive oil, highly recommended!