Wide Open

OvenBird reopens patio, indoor dining spaces, and in between.

By Jan Walsh

Tonight, our corner table awaits at OvenBird. Better than a window table, this table has double doors that open onto its own corner nook of the patio.

This restaurant is made for fall. Chef Chris Hastings has the fires roaring—inside and out. And Idie’s touch is evident with the fall pumpkins and Indian corn. The Hastings also treat guests tonight with options of Halloween inspired drinks, such as Witch’s Brew, Ooky Spooky, and my choice of Pumpkin Patch. The cocktail arrives with a frothy egg white top with the silhouette of an orange bat. The delectable drink also includes, rum, lemon, cynar, cardamaro, pumpkin, and sassafras. I asked for a spoon to scoop the last tantalizing tastes that lined the rim of the coupe. Highly recommended for Halloween!

I pair my drink with my usual, Deviled Eggs. These divine eggs are bursting with a marvelous mix of anchovy, romesco, curtido, and espelette, which adds dimension to without overpowering the eggs’ fresh farm flavor.

Next Kev orders the Wagyu Beef Shoulder. I select the Gulf Fish, which tonight is snapper. And we share the Harvest Plate. The beef shoulder is served sliced, cooked to order, rich and beefy in flavor, and melt in the mouth tender. It rests above sensational and savory, ember roasted cipollini onions and fingerling potatoes and is crowned with a herbaceous chimichurri, which adds color, texture, and moisture.

No gas or electric roasting can compare to freshly picked and ember roasted, which is why I always opt for veggies here. And our comforting vegetable plate is a fall harvest in itself, of the same potatoes and onions along with much more: beets, turnips, and carrots encircling a nutty, peppery Romesco sauce. Highly recommended!

What a catch! The quality of the catch shines through in my snapper. It is lean and mild, sweet and bursting with freshness. The fish is topped with a relish of bacon, jalapeno, sherry, cilantro, and delightful candied hazelnuts, which add texture and a touch of whimsy. And I pair with a fizzy Cava by the glass.

For dessert we share a scrumptious skillet of Pumpkin Burnt Cream. It is burnt tableside, which adds a “Wow” factor, and draws the interest and envy of diners at adjoining tables. And to top it off, candied pecans add a sweet, nutty crunch to this creamy, dreamy dessert. Kev and I agree, from cocktails to dessert, this was our best OvenBird dinner ever!


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