Remember years ago when Chez Fonfon served a Lobster and Leek Bread Pudding special on Fridays? It was wildly popular. People poured in on Fridays just for this dish.
Chez Fonfon's one and one-half pound Maine Lobster with Leek Bread Pudding has reemerged as the Friday special. Kev and I planned our week around being at Fonfon for our fave table and this dish at 11:00 on Friday. Okay, we actually open up the place a little before 11:00. And when we order the lobster, our server asks if we wanted halves or wholes. Silly question. Neither of us had intentions of sharing this meal that we craved all week. We both wanted wholes.
Given our early arrival the bread pudding is still cooking. So the kitchen treats us with a delightful tripletail finished with pears, mustard seeds, EVOO, and Marcona almonds. This beautiful fish kept us content and made a lovely appetizer for our entrees, both of which we pair with a bottle of French rosé bubbly.
Our server proudly carries plates of lobster from the kitchen, one in each hand, to our table. And the eyes of everyone in the dining room follow. It is a “contagious” dish. You see it. You order it. The orange head of the lobster rises high above the mound of golden bread pudding. The pudding is flanked by a glistening lobster tail on each side, encircling two tender and delicate claws at the front and center of the plate—all swimming in a buttery sauce. On first thought, I plan to forgo most of the bread pudding in order to focus on the lobster. But one bite of the bread pudding proves why it is paired with the succulent shellfish. The mild, acidic sweetness of the leeks brings forth the fresh flavors of the lobster—without overpowering it. And its moist and delicate starchiness gently grounds the dish. Each bite of lobster and pudding are a delicious dance, with the luscious lobster playing the lead. Life is too short not to experience this dish—more than once. Glad it is back. Hope it is here to stay.
Chef George Reis’ Fruit de Mer is named Birmingham Restaurants’ first annual, Valentine Food Find 2018!
By Jan Walsh
Chef George Reis’s Loft became a pop-up restaurant for Valentine’s night. Located next door to Reis’ 5 Point Public House and Oyster Bar, Rei’s private dining space, The Loft was transformed into an intimate, romantic, and nostalgic restaurant for this one-night event. It was black, white and red all over. Black tablecloths draped diagonally over white ones, red carnations and candlelight dotted each table, below a red chandelier and individual lamp shades hanging over each table. Reis visited each table during the evening catching up with patrons he knew and introducing himself to those he did not know.
Guests chose among five appetizers, four entrees, and three desserts for only $50 per person.
Our favorite dish of the night was also red, Fruit de MerFrench for plate of fruits of the sea, paired the dish with a lovely, sparkling brut rosé. Ribbons of pappardelle pasta tossed in an heirloom tomato sauce was served piping hot and swimming with lobster, Gulf shrimp, calamari, and PEI mussels. The textures and flavors of succulent seafood, al dente pasta, and a touch of heirloom tomato melded together, melting in the mouth with each luscious bite.
And I am delighted to name Reis’ delicious Fruit de Mer Birmingham Restaurants’ (first annual) Valentine Food Find 2018!
Perfect from the Start
Pizzeria GM's ot Gulf Crab and Spinach Dip is heavenly. By Jan Walsh
Giani, Marco, and their father, Giovanni Respinto open their second Homewood restaurant, Pizzeria GM is located at 600 Oak Grove Road. The family is building on its success as it also owns and operates GianMarco’s Restaurant and GianMarco’s Wine on Broadway.
This week we were hosted for their pre-opening family and friends dinner. On beer menu, we are delighted to see one of our favorite beers, Blackberry Farm Brewery’s Sasion. We pair glasses of this beautiful brew with Hot Gulf Crab and Spinach Dip, from the antipasta selections. The dip is served in a large, black, cast iron skillet accompanied by large garlic toasts. We slather this piping hot, creamy dipfilled with jumbo lump crab and spinach onto the divine garlic bread. It is heavenly and a newfound favorite on first bite. Doubting I will ever be able to come here again without ordering itI declare it this week’s “Food Find” on the spot.
Read Pizzeria GM Restaurant Review
Pair Taziki’s Tomato Basil Soup and Mediterranean Salad.
By Jan Walsh
I love having a Taziki’s Mediterranean Café near my Liberty Park neighborhood. Working from my home office it comes very handy for Kev to pick up take out for lunch for us. And this week I discovered something new, but not available for long. For a limited time Taziki’s Mediterranean Café is offering a Tomato Basil Soup and Mediterranean Salad special.
I am not easy to please when it comes to tomato soup. One of my favorite food memories is my grandfather’s heirloom tomato soup made from made with tomatoes from his garden, which I helped water.
Taziki’s soup carries out well, arriving home piping hot. I add a touch of EVOO to it and crumble the accompanying pita chips into the steaming bowl. The soup is rusty red in color, medium in body, and bursting with tomato goodness and a hint of basil and heat. It meets is match in the Mediterranean Salad that is generous in size and filled textures and flavors galore: tomato, feta, red peppers, purple onion, pecans, and chickpeas.