Trusted Taste

Let’s gather around the table, again, at Bistro V.

By Jan Walsh

Bistro V is one of our favorite restaurants. Chef Jeremy Downey and partner, Emily Tuttle Shell keep the stove hot and the doors open Tuesday through Saturday for both lunch and dinner. And when it opens at 11:00, there are always people lined up. Today, as the clock ticks towards opening time, a large, family reunion begins outside in the parking lot, a proud graduate and her family taking photos in front of the restaurant, and two couples meet for lunch. These people trust they will make sweet memories here because they know Bistro V’s kitchen is a lot like their grandmother’s. The veggies were not picked far from the table. The seafood is Gulf. And all products are a curation of the best, in season. Tried and true, time after time.

Seated at “our table” in the far corner window table of the bar, we order second round worthy cocktails: a balanced Bloody Mary for Kev and bright, vibrant Margarita for me. Kev is undecided between surf and turf, Fried Shrimp and Open-faced Roast Beef Sandwich. Yet the Saturday fish of the day, Snapper over Succotash, is calling my name. Where else can you plan on a Gulf fish, lunch special five days a week? I have come to count on it and expect it to be snapper or grouper, and sometimes scallops. This obvious choice always makes it difficult for me to order anything else.

I knew before Kev did, he would order the sandwich when I saw it comes with mashed potatoes. Wow! Atop white bread, a mountain of melt in the mouth tender, savory roast beef is accompanied by a heap of mashed skin on, red potatoes, which did not get mashed down with other ingredients, but are instead loaded with fresh potato flavor. Fried onions finish off this hearty meal, with their crunchy texture and sharp, sweet flavors. This is how to handle a hungry man!

My generous portion of fish arrives steaming with aromatic aromas. I pair it with a lovely glass of Domaine Andre Neveu Sancerre, in an overgenerous pour. The succulent snapper is golden on the outside and pristine white and shiny on the inside and brimming with day boat freshness throughout. The delicate, sweet snapper floats on a medley of spring field peas, fresh okra, grape tomatoes, yellow corn cut straight off the cob, and crooked neck squash. As I dive in it continues to steam. One of my favorite foods, okra always excites me, especially my first bite of the season. Each dice of its crisp, sweet grassy flavor takes me back to my grandmother’s summer garden where we picked these fuzzy pods from the okra plants that scratched my small hands. But when the big bowl of golden fried okra was passed, it was so worth it. The plump peas explode with a just picked, earthy freshness, also bringing memories of shelling peas on her front porch until our hands were purple. Individual kernels of corn are not among this succotash, but instead freshly cut rows of kernels burst with juicy, corniness. Tomatoes and squash round out the succotash with their fleshiness. Every veggie in this dish is cooked just enough to keep its lively colors and flavors shining, also bringing peak nutritional value. Highly recommended!

We would never miss strawberry season at Bistro V. Again, with the memories… of my grandmother and I walking to the strawberry patch wearing our bonnets to pick wild berries. Emily’s Strawberry Shortcake is an annual celebration of the season. Neither of us are willing to share, so we order two. I like the shortcake best when the muffins are served warm, right out of the oven. A generous helping of fresh, sliced macerated strawberries and freshly whipped cream tower over the cakes. Strawberry juice seeps into the muffins turning their tops pink, soaking them with the berries fruity, sweet flavor and moisture. And the cream melts and melds onto both the berries and the cakes. Simply divine!

Download Birmingham Restaurants App



Copyright ©2023 Reviews

Categories: Casually Upscale, Reviews
Location: Blogs Parent Separator Reviews