shula's coco rita cocktail You can’t lose with dinner at Shula’s Steakhouse.

By Jan Walsh

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Dining at Shula’s Steakhouse is consistently a winner.  I have dined here for restaurant reviews and at other times just for pleasure for many years. And from the ambiance, service, to the cuisine, they have a perfect record with me.

The concept of Shula’s Steakhouse is a tribute to the 1972 undefeated Miami Dolphins 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.

shula's steakhouse double porterhouse steak 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. For hotel guests there is an entrance in the hotel lobby. 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. And for private events, the Wine Room seats up to 32 people.

Shula's chocolate martini The Lounge

For a “lite” night out, we often pop into the No Name Lounge at Shula’s Steakhouse for drinks and appetizers. This intimate bar has bar seating, high tops, and banquette seating, with televisions for those who want to catch a game here. The Lounge also lends itself to a cocktail before dinner, as we do 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, garnished with fresh pineapple—this is the drink for me—not too sweet, and layered with exotic island flavors. The Chocolate Martini is just as lovely. It is smooth, dark, and creamy—perhaps the best in town.

Favorite Fare
While it is difficult to dine at Shula’s and not order a steak, their seafood is also a must. shula's gulf grouperTonight 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 and delicious scallops. This Shellfish Trio is my favorite app at Shula’s—and is what I typically order for my lite nights in the Lounge. For me, it just doesn’t get better than this chilled seafood dish of 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 appearance, flavors, and texture of each of these three delicacies.

Shula's shellfish appetizer 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 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 also fills its plate. The waiter shines a flashlight on the steak to ensure it is cooked to order and to our liking. The steak is perfection in both the tenderloin side and the strip side—melt in the mouth tender, juicy, and flavorful. The pan-seared grouper is large and lovely, 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 are grilled to fork tender and are drizzled with a tasty acidic balsamic glaze. The shula's steakhouse baked potatofresh spinach, which was sautéed with olive oil and fresh garlic, is unlike any other. 

Shula’s bowl of deep green spinach arrives, without wetness, but with an interesting, airy, crisp texture. And the hearty, scrumptious, twice-baked potato is loaded with bites 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.

shula's key lime pieFor dessert we enjoy a unique Key Lime Pie, with a creamy, rather than gelatin like texture, pair it with coffee for a tasty end to another winning meal at Shula’s.

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