In the Know Pair brand new dishes with a secret rosé at Marre and Allen. By Jan Walsh
Marre and Allen Bar and Kitchen is a destination restaurant. It is located in the Birmingham Marriott. But unlike most hotel restaurants, it boasts an all-star culinary team—Executive Chef, Chad Schofield and Sous Chef, Damon Davis. And Birmingham Marriott’s General Manager, Chris Townsley brings his extensive culinary and wine background to mentor the chefs and assist in product selection.
The lunch/dinner menu includes organic, local, and regional products and changes often. I frequently find new options on the seasonal menu and ever evolving wine list. Today we order among only the new dishes and Townsley hooks me up with a lovely, new rosé that you won’t find in any other Birmingham restaurant and that is not yet on the wine list, Chateau Pesquie. Its peachy, strawberry notes and medium body make it a warm weather and food friendly find. We select apps of Breakfast Fries, Triad of Dips, and Lamb Lollipops, along with entrees of Ratatoullie Ravioli, and today’s fresh dayboat Gulf catch, Snapper. The favorites rise to the top… like cream—ravioli, snapper, and lamb dishes.
The ravioli is a colorful
and delightful vegetarian’s dream of patty pan squash, peppers, eggplant, and dollops of goat cheese balancing the pasta dish. The grouper rivals any served in the city, in both the freshness, quality of the fish, and its masterful preparation, boasting lively, citrusy rather than fishy notes. And the lamb is simply luscious. The tender lamb chops rise above the plate’s concoction of vindaloo curry, local Alecia’s Peach Chutney, mint yogurt, and toasted coconut, which brightens the earthiness of the meat. If you love lamb that is not gamey, order this dish. And pair the lollipops with this secret Chateau Pesquie Rosé. Just ask for it, even though it is not on the wine list. And if you can’t remember or pronounce its name, use my name… “the wine Jan had.”
View Marre and Allen Bar and Kitchen's Menu The Turf Chef Randall Baldwin cooks a mean steak at Dyron’s Lowcountry.By Jan Walsh
Tonight, we celebrate Jordan’s birthday with a family dinner at his choice of restaurant—Dyron’s Lowcountry. And we have a feast of fish and seafood: crab salad, trigger fish with shrimp, red snapper with crawfish, and fried flounder. But when Kev saw Randall’s ribeye on the menu. He could not order anything else. We had this dish for New Year’s Eve one time, and it was one of those memorable meals that you always hope to relive. And tonight, he did.
The 14-ounce Prime Ribeye is cooked in an iron skillet. It arrives sizzling on the plate. And first cut proves it is cooked to order, medium, as Kev likes it. The steak is draped across a mound of scrumptious mashed potatoes, alongside fresh, blistered squash, zucchini and roasted garlic, and crowned with a charred tomato vinaigrette and fried onion rings. We all share bites with Kev, so he must share some steak with us—beefing up our fish plates with turf. The steak is tender and melts in the mouth with layers of deep, rich flavors, just as wonderful as we remembered.
If you want to try cooking a ribeye at home, watch our Chefs’ Secrets
cooking video starring Chef, and get the recipe.
Pair Bistro V’s Crawfish with their Bloody Mary.
By Jan Walsh
Bistro V has been a favorite restaurant of mine since it opened. Chef Jeremy Downey is a native of Bayou La Batre, Alabama. And he knows how to cook some seafood!
Today we happen in for lunch, and he is in the kitchen doing just that. He sees us and comes out for hugs. And he immediately says he has some crawfish he wants us to try. We order two Bloody Marys—spicy for me, and mild for Kev. And Chef comes back with a bowlful of these beautiful, warm crustaceans. Then he proceeds to peel each of them for us, table side. One for me. One for Kev… And so forth until the bowl is empty. They are among the largest I have ever had, and they are the tastiest. No need for potatoes, corn or other accompaniments. The tender, meaty bites are deeply flavored with just enough heat to complement their natural flavor. Crawfish season has never tasted better.