Satterfield’s serves great fare with good intentions.
By Jan Walsh
Photography by Beau Gustafson
My first meal at Satterfield’s was 10 years ago. I reviewed the restaurant soon after it opened. Most impressed, I interviewed pastry chef and owner, Becky Satterfield and was further impressed by her ambitious aspirations. She foresaw it becoming one of the “best of the best” restaurants in Birmingham, which happened quickly. Reading the review I published in 2005, I see much of what Satterfield’s is today was here from the start. From the seed she planted then, Satterfield’s has evolved through the years to a more mature, better version of its original self. Today it is one of a few Non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) restaurants in the area, and supports the Alabamians for GMO Labeling initiative. The Place
Located in Cahaba Heights, Satterfield’s serves dinner Mondays through Saturdays. Welcomed by a valet and the warm glow copper, gas lanterns we head to The Bar to enjoy a cocktail before dinner here. Soft tones of sage and cinnamon, the bar is anchored by two circular banquettes in each corner of the exterior wall, with tables in between. And an L-shaped bar welcomes us to pull up a stool. Duo Carlos Pino on jazz guitar and Brandon Peeples on upright bass perform, while bartender, Michael Cholewa prepares our luscious cocktails. The signature drink, Oak Aged Manhattan has my name on it and Prosperity, which tastes like apple pie is “made for” Kevin. Afterwards we dine in the main dining room, with the same color schemes and warm, inviting ambiance, which includes an open kitchen and chef’s counter. The restaurant also boasts a private dining room for intimate events or business dinners and patio for al fresco dining.
Since the restaurant’s opening Satterfield has been in a league of her own—a female, sole owner, chef of a locally owned, independent, fine dining restaurant. Her mantra is that good food comes from good intentions. Satterfield ensures quality food products via close relationships with local farmers and purveyors, and her own organic garden. Down to the seeds used to plant the products, Satterfield has kept a watchful eye and control over what comes into her kitchen. But she also credits her solid, committed and cohesive team for making and keeping Satterfield’s successful. General manager, Kevin Moore has been here from the start. Seniority is also found in Barbara Dawson, business manager, servers: Lucky Solis, Ryan Ernst, Barry Graham, and man of many hats, German Perez. Tonight we watch the open kitchen show as Horn, sous chef, Joon Reid and the kitchen staff execute another amazing dinner here
An array of beautiful breads—from raisin, olive, sourdough, to cornbread—arrives with a generous plate of butter. We bow to server Graham’s offer to pair Satterfield’s wine list with our meal. He gets off to a great start with Domaine Auchere Sancerre 2012, pairing it with my long time favorite dish here, Satterfield’s Coddled Egg. And tonight’s egg dish is even better than before as it is lighter with Gulf crabmeat having replaced its Andouille sausage. On first cut the yolk of this beautiful farm egg runs down into the white souffle dish into the cheesy mix of crabmeat, mirepoix and kale. Gently folding in the egg white, with each bite, I savor every morsel.
Next is a beautiful, melt in the mouth, Seared Ahi Tuna Carpaccio, topped with jumbo lump crab salad and accompanied by a gorgeous and colorful Ponzu Gelée. The tender tuna is paired with the lovely effervescence of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Champagne. Grenache Syrah Domaine Coudoulis 2012 is a match for the Duck and Waffle. A large, dark, and delicious duck leg confit rests atop two pungent, sweet onion waffles, which we slater in with caramel butter and cover in maple syrup. Our next course is a luscious Citrus Braised Pork Belly with house made kimchi, encircled by a teriyaki glaze, topped with sesame, and garnished with cilantro—paired with Montinore Estate Borealis 2013. The favorite dish of the evening is a stunning Pan Roasted Gulf Red Snapper—the thickest cut of and best snapper ever. Golden reddish on the outside, white and milky on the inside, and succulent throughout, we savor every bite. It is served atop a warm, crunchy Bok Choy fennel slaw with saffron butter, and Blood Orange reduction. Surprisingly the fish is paired with a red, Jigsaw 2012 Pinot Noir, but opposites work well in this marriage.
For dessert, we are wowed by Chocolate Almond Butter Cake, with a bottom layer of almonds, accompanied by dreamy chocolate ice cream.
magazine, April, 2015