Southern Hospitality

Family friendliness is the icing on the fabulous food at Blueprint on 3rd.

By Jan Walsh

Blueprint on 3rd is a Robb family, owned and run restaurant. And you feel it as you walk in the door. The Robb family is a loyal bunch who genuinely cares for their patrons, and treats us all like family. Tonight, as we step away from the valet and inside the restaurant, Brandon Robb greets us at the door. He later treats us to an amazing app and checks on us during each course. Meanwhile his father, Dean Robb is in the kitchen cooking due to Blueprint’s chef de cuisine being away on vacation. Even still, he dashes out to greet us at our table with glasses of French sparkling rosé, and he checks back in on us after our entrees arrive. And Dean's wife, Jenny focuses on the front of the house.

Cheers to two generations of gracious and authentic Southern hospitality, served nightly at Blueprint on 3rd. Navigating the menu here is always fun. The family cares about our health, which is evident in their quality of local and regional food products. And executive Chef, James Huckaby consistently has an array of tempting dishes, from past favorites, such as fried green tomatoes, tomato salad, and one of the best burgers in Birmingham to new finds, which we opt for tonight. For starters Kev selects the Marinated Alabama Crab Claws, I order the Baby Beet Salad, and Brandon generously surprises us with Yellowfin Tuna Carpaccio. The plump, delicate claw meat glides gently off the claw and melts in the mouth, enhanced by a house citrus mayo. My lovely beet salad is a colorful and textural array of celery, walnuts, radish, grapefruit, and goat cheese. Highly recommended! And the gorgeous Yellowfin tuna carpaccio is deep red in color, firm and dense in texture. Its sweet, mild flavor is complimented by a captivating Cajun caviar crème fraîche along with the unexpected delicacy of mullet bottarga, all dotted with fresh arugula.

For entrees Kev has the Espresso Rubbed Pork Tenderloin, and I select the Gulf fish of the day over summer succotash. As it makes its way to the table, we are wowed at the size of this bone in chop! It is inches in thickness and enormous in portion. It is cooked tender to the cut with juices remaining all the way through, not just in the center. Incredible quality and the finest of pork flavors are savored in every bite of this beauty. Dean stops by the table just as we are raving over it. And he shares the story of how he would not put a chop on Blueprint’s menu until he found the source for this pork that rivals his decades ago meat memories. I won’t share his secret source, but we all agree that it was well worth the wait. Finishing this Southern plate is a whoppingly fulfilling portion of Hoppin’ John, all topped off with Alabama’s own Alicia’s Tomato Chutney. My fish dish is also fabulous. No suffering here, this comforting succotash of corn, okra, and limas picked at their peak makes a colorful and amazingly delicious bed for the bright, moist, and succulent filet of fish. I pair it with an aromatic, supple, round, and tangy Franck Millet Sancerre 2020 from their impressive wine list.

For dessert Kev and I share Peach and Blueberry Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream, another homage to family meals in the South. The ice cream melts into the center of the warm cobbler where the peaches are situated, making for a peaches and cream delight. And it only gets better as we spoon in the blueberry parts of the cobbler, from each end, making a Southern synthesis of fruity cobbler. I pair the dessert with Carmes de Rieussec Sauternes. One sip, and I am in love with this dessert wine. Not cloying sweet but has a nice acidity with juicy notes of apricot and honey.

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