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My Huntsville, Alabama Chow Log

Bomberman760 Nov 25, 2008 06:49 PM

Hi all. I just got a new job and a new house in Huntsville, and went through the boards yesterday to figure out where to eat today. I'll be moving December 1st (from Pittsburgh, PA), and wanted to go nuts on barbecue to see what's what. I saw a lot of posts scattered throughout regarding Huntsville, and I'm going to consolidate all my posts here because it's a smaller area that doesn't have it's own category like some cities and states. I'm going to sample the hell out of this place and share my experience and opinions here. Dissenting opinions are welcome and valued, as this will be decidedly one-sided. SORRY if I smack-down you favorite place! I will gladly revisit if you insist it's normally good. I'm not a food critic, I just love food, and am critical.

Two names that kept coming up for local BBQ were David Gibson's on Bob Wallace Ave, and Dreamland on University Drive, so I tried them both today. Separate reviews follow, as will future reviews as long as I live here. I'm going to hit everything that many of you have suggested.

I hope I enjoy.

  1. Davwud Aug 2, 2011 05:06 AM

    The best burger in the area can be found at Taters 'n Dawgs on 231/431 in Meridianville. They do a loosely packed flat top burger that's excellent.

    They also do their spin on the Canadian dish poutine. They call it a Tater Melt. It's fresh cut fries, mozza. cheese and brown gravy. Very good.

    DT

    6 Replies
    1. re: Davwud
      yummyummeatemup Feb 18, 2012 09:52 AM

      First, I want to thank all my Chow brethren and sistren for taking the time to post all the info here. I've recently begun periodic trips to Hsv for work, and needed to find good places to eat. My favorite so far, in the dinner department, is Cotton Row, which is consistently delightful, particularly when you throw in a well-made cocktail for starters. Last time out, I started with an Old Fashioned, which was well-made and interesting. Then their pear (?) salad. Perfectly dressed, and well-mated ingredients. I continued with the foie gras, which I've had all three times I've been there. It is that good, with a dandy accompaniment of unctuous candied vegetables. Lamentably, they don't have a good wine pairing for it, so I had to make do with a Riesling. :-( For my main plate, I had the Muscovy duck breast, which was perfectly cooked (not too done; I like a little blood with me birds!). The sauce was perfect as well.
      I also followed the BBQ thread here a bit, as I LOVE me some good BBQ. I'm blessed up here in Oella, Maryland, to not be too far (1/2 hour) from Andy Nelson's, who is our local real-deal bbq spot. We had 'em do our wedding, with a whole-hog pig-pull). I started with the pulled pork at Dreamland, which was very good, but not good enough to rave about. You know you can't be too far off when there's a stack of green hickory outside. The meat was tasty and not dry; the sides not memorable at all, literally. I then had the extreme good fortune to check out Thomas BBQ Pit. Now, THAT is some real-deal bbq. As mentioned above, the smoke house out back positively billows smoky goodness, and the proof is in the eats. The first time I went, I had the two-meat plate, with ribs and pulled pork. It was nothing short of sublime, with both the ribs and pulled pork demonstrating that lovely variation in flavors that comes from different parts of the pig; with that lovely sweet taste that only comes from meat living in glorious proximity to the fatty bits. I am also a big fan of their sides. As someone mentioned above, the potato salad is somewhat unusual (at least to a Yankee like me) in that it's a kind of slurry of potato salad ingredients. The potatoes are in little teeny pieces, like 1mm dice, and amazingly not overcooked. I liked it very much. I also got the slaw, which is of the crisp vinegar, not creamy, variety. Very fresh and tasty. Lastly, I should point out that the folks in that restaurant are just delightfully friendly. I had to go back two days later for a repeat of the pulled pork. I was so stuffed after the two-meat plate that I had to scale back a meat. This is the first place I ever had the white bbq sauce, and while I think you're spozed to use that on chicken (?), it was a nice cooler-offer after the spicy sauce, which I loved BTW. I'd have a few bites of the spicy, then a bite with the white, etc.. Mmmmmm.
      OK, next it was off to The Greenbriar; the one further from the road. Again, I had the pulled pork. Nothing like a horizontal tasting to get your bearings. I'd put the meat here just below Dreamland. I also had the slaw, and a baked sweet potato(!). I've never encountered the sweet potato before, and it was a nice surprise. It came with little containers of cinnamon, brown sugar, and margarine. (Margarine is one of those things I just don't get. Why waste your fat consumption on something phony that doesn't taste good? Butter, please!)
      For my second dinner, I had worked a bit too late, and wound up going to Grill 29 as a quick bail-out as the town started closing around me. I was headed to Surin, but my GPS decided to steer me to Phuket, which I wanted to avoid, thanks to the posts here. I just happened to notice the sign for Grill 29, and headed in. I knew I was perhaps in the wrong place for my taste when I saw the size of the place. I've almost never found an exceptional restaurant that was very big, and this was another statistic for the book. Being a growing fan of the cocktail, I started with a Manhattan. Bad idea. For a drink that can be a wonder of scrumptious simplicity, this was at the other end of the spectrum. Thankfully, I landed on my feet by ordering a Straight to Ale IPA, which was a fabulous, hoppy delight, as well as locally-brewed. I started in foodwise with the gazpacho, which was OK. When done to my liking, gazpacho is aromatic and subtle. Theirs, while quite good, was a bit too acidic and loudly tomatoey. For my main plate, I had the George's Bank diver scallops. Unfortunately for me, as a big fan of raw or at least not-overcooked seafood, the chef seemed to have tried to sear the scallops on a surface that wasn't all that hot; the result being a scallop that was almost as tough on the inside as it was on the outside. And again, the sauce was overpowering. The overall effect, while not quite bad, was not quite good, either.
      On my last night, I decided to try Surin of Huntsville. I was still feeling a bit stuffed from lunch, so thought Thai would be a good solution. I started with a martini, which was pretty good. My only complaint was the little tiny pieces of ice floating in it. I like my booze strong, so prefer a quick shake with big cubes, to keep the water content to a minimum. But I digress... I love me some duck, so opted for the duck in red curry. The waiter warned me that it might have some SKIN in it. Horrors! I guess someone must have ordered the duck, not knowing what duck was. I've never heard of skinless duck breast. Anyway, I assured him he could bring be the feet and beak, and that I'd happily eat them, too. Apart from the canned pineapple, the dish was as good as my favorite Thai place at home; lovely creamy sauce, not too hot, not too bland, and good quality rice to go with. Overall, good enough for a return trip.
      Thanks again for y'all's help. Any new suggestions would be much welcome!

      1. re: yummyummeatemup
        Davwud Feb 18, 2012 03:32 PM

        I tried Tomas BBQ once and really was underwhelmed.

        DT

        1. re: Davwud
          yummyummeatemup Feb 19, 2012 01:03 PM

          I guess we must have different BBQ tastes. I'm going back tomorrow! ;-)

          1. re: yummyummeatemup
            Davwud Feb 20, 2012 07:26 AM

            Check out Big Bob's in Decatur or Chuck Wagon in Fayetteville. Chuck Wagon only does BBQ, Th, Fr, Sa. Some of the best I've had.

            DT

            1. re: Davwud
              yummyummeatemup Feb 20, 2012 09:45 AM

              I'm at HSV now, and will go check out Big Bob's since I'm half-way already. I fly back on wed, so I guess I'll miss Chuck Wagon :-( Thanks for the tip; I'll try to get it next time. BTW, which Big Bob's? It seems there are two. I guess I'll just hope they're both good.

              1. re: yummyummeatemup
                Davwud Feb 20, 2012 11:17 AM

                Both tell you they're better than the other but the 6th Ave one seems to be better.

                DT

    2. Davwud Jan 5, 2011 09:44 AM

      Finally got to try a taco truck and loved it.

      I only sampled a steak and a chicken taco but the best word I can use to describe the taste is "Fresh." They also left a very pleasing, lingering taste for a couple of hours after.

      Jordan Lane just a little north of University on the west side.

      DT

       
       
      1 Reply
      1. re: Davwud
        Davwud Aug 2, 2011 05:03 AM

        FYI this truck has now moved to Decatur.

        They still have two more in town. We ate at the one on Governors at 9th and it was great. It's in a bus.

        DT

      2. t
        tompaxkur Aug 22, 2010 07:05 PM

        I am new to Huntsville and boy am I sorry. This is maybe the worst food venue in America. Lived in many cities and this one is just horrible unless you have a need to be fed by concept restaurants. The chains live large here, but the food, the knowlege of the public and the demand that diners demand from the restaurants is nil. If you looking for anything head north to Nashville or south to Birmingham. Qualtiy is poor and folks just look for cheap. I give thumbs up to Dreamland on University or Tortora's for pizza. Everything else just BAD!

        -----
        Tortoras
        182 Old Highway 431 Ste B, Owens Cross Roads, AL 35763

        6 Replies
        1. re: tompaxkur
          decolady Aug 22, 2010 08:36 PM

          Tom, I'm sorry you've had bad experiences here so far. Have you been to Mezza Luna, Pauli's Bar and Grill, 814 Franklin, The Po'Boy Factory, Cafe Berlin, Wild Flour Bistro, The Chophouse or Ol Heidleburg? And if you like meat/n/3, the Blue Plate Cafe? Or have you tried any of the places downtown on the Square: Cotton Row, Papou's, Wild Rose Cafe or Sam & Gregs? If so, I'm curious as to what you don't like about them. I do agree that we seem to be overrun with a number of chains. It's depressing.

          -----
          Pauli's Bar and Grill
          , Huntsville, AL 35801

          Wild Rose Cafe
          121 Northside Sq, Huntsville, AL 35801

          Papou's
          110 Southside Sq, Huntsville, AL 35801

          Mezza Luna
          2724 Carl T Jones Dr SE, Huntsville, AL 35802

          Cotton Row Restaurant
          100 Southside Sq, Huntsville, AL 35801

          1. re: decolady
            Davwud Aug 23, 2010 08:19 AM

            I have to agree with both of you. HSV is a bit of a wasteland. You're much better off a couple hours north or south on 65.
            That said, to say that only Dreamland and Tortoras are good is just plain incorrect.

            Have you tried G Country Kitchen?? I'm dying to try it.
            http://www.gscountrykitchen.com/
            Also, there's some Taco Trucks that seem to park near Univ. and Jordan or Oakwood.
            Little Rosie's is American Mexican. It's pretty good for what it is.
            http://www.littlerosiestaqueria.com/
            Little Paul's BBQ. Amazing BBQ Turkey.
            ttp://tinyurl.com/33apg85

            DT

            -----
            Tortoras
            182 Old Highway 431 Ste B, Owens Cross Roads, AL 35763

            1. re: Davwud
              decolady Aug 23, 2010 09:02 PM

              Little Rosie's is about the only drive-thru that I drive through. LOL. Though most people seem to go inside to eat. I agree, it is good for what it is.

              I've been hearing some good things lately about D&L Bistro. Planning to go to lunch there tomorrow with my Mom, sister and daughter to find out. For some reason I have never been.

              Haven't been to G Country Kitchen.

              1. re: decolady
                s
                scrumptiouschef Dec 7, 2010 09:15 AM

                Bumping the thread back up. A good friend is spending next week in Huntsville and is going to need some grits and country ham.

                I read that Eunice passed so I'm curious about who is soldiering on in her stead?

                Mainly looking for Deep South cooking.

                Tim's is a must as is Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur.

                What's the name of the ancient meat n 3 in Madison?

                How is Dale's Steakhouse in Florence these days?

                Thanks y'all

                1. re: scrumptiouschef
                  l
                  Littleman Dec 7, 2010 11:44 AM

                  Jackson's is a good southern food joint. They serve grits and ham.

                  Jackson's Family Restaurant @ 234 Lime Quarry Rd., Madison, AL 256 - 772 - 0191.
                  http://www.hollyeats.com/JacksonsFami...

                  1. re: scrumptiouschef
                    deepfriedkudzu Dec 8, 2010 08:59 AM

                    Honestly it's been a couple of years since I was last at Dale's, but it was the same as always, which I think is the key to their success.

                    I think Littleman answered you correctly about the meat & three in Madison - Jackson's.

          2. Davwud Feb 11, 2010 03:59 PM

            Has anyone tried Alabama Crawfish Company and Restaurant??

            DT

            3 Replies
            1. re: Davwud
              Ima Wurdibitsch Feb 12, 2010 06:27 AM

              No. I haven't even heard of it until now. Where is it?

              1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                decolady Feb 12, 2010 10:52 AM

                I never heard of it before either. Googled and it appears to be out 72 East, past Ryla,nd Pike and before Dug Hill Road. I wonder if they use Louisiana crawfish or if they import from Asia.

                1. re: decolady
                  Davwud Feb 12, 2010 11:08 AM

                  You're right.

                  3158 Hwy 72 East.

                  DT

            2. a
              autiger94 Jan 9, 2010 01:01 PM

              Just moved back to the Huntsville area myself and stumbled across this post. Thought I would give it a fresh bump and see if there is anything new to report since the last post from summer of '09.

              2 Replies
              1. re: autiger94
                Davwud Jan 9, 2010 07:30 PM

                Nope

                DT

                1. re: autiger94
                  Shrinkrap Jan 16, 2010 03:40 PM

                  I went back for thanksgiving and learned Poboy factory is closed on Sunday. : (

                2. Shrinkrap Jul 27, 2009 08:25 PM

                  On my way out of town tomorrow, and would love to consider Tim's Cajun, Wild Rose, or Blue Plate for a lunch to take on the plane. My first stop tommorow will be the main Huntstville Hospital (not Crestview, or wheatev....) Any thoughts about these, or other options?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Shrinkrap
                    Davwud Jul 28, 2009 04:35 AM

                    Little Paul's BBQ is right across the street. It's good. Paul is a Gibson. As in Big Bob's.

                    I really like Tim's but haven't been in a while. It's not close to the hospital either.

                    DT

                    1. re: Davwud
                      lambretta76 Jul 28, 2009 06:53 AM

                      I think closer to the hospital is the Po Boy Factory, which to me has the best cajun in Huntspatch. Though don't bring the bread pudding - there's more than 3 ounces of bourbon on that bad boy. ;)

                      1. re: lambretta76
                        Davwud Jul 28, 2009 08:47 AM

                        Good call on PBF. We haven't been there in so long I forgot about it.

                        DT

                        1. re: lambretta76
                          Shrinkrap Jul 28, 2009 12:20 PM

                          Sitting in the airport (Yay! free wireless!), munching on a shrimp and crawfish po boy with "hot damn" sauce. Ditched the bread. I have a grouper po boy for travel. VERY busy (even for lunchtime) on a Tuesday! Never could find the Duke's though. Neither the target, nor an upscale grocery in 5 points had it. Oh well. My daughter will be returning to school in Durham soon. Mabye I can get her to send me some in exchange for her contact leses. I did bring home some White Lilly flour and corn bread mix though.

                    2. lambretta76 Jul 24, 2009 05:13 AM

                      I haven't been yet, but a friend has commented on the high level of food coming out of the kitchen at Cotton Row, which is helmed by a former Le Cirque chef.

                      http://www.cottonrowrestaurant.com/Co...

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: lambretta76
                        g
                        glecroy Aug 14, 2009 07:38 PM

                        Had lunch at Cotton Row this week, it was great! The dinner menu looked pretty expensive. I think Phoenix Bistro is closed. If you want Korean try the little place on Jordan Lane at the strip mall on the left when you are going from I-565 towards the Arsenal gate at Patton Rd (just south of Bob Wallace). I don't know much about Korean food but went with my son for lunch. For Japanese try Mikawa, on a little side street sort of across from Madison Square, behind Casa Blanca. The best BBQ we've had is Mr. Crites, on Snake Road near Brown's Ferry Nuclear Plant, like Tuscaloosa Dreamland used to be 20 years ago before they started talking about it on the football games and it bacame a franchise. Also try Chuckwagon, which is a little bitty place in front of Old Time Pottery in Madison on Madison Blvd going west from Wall Triana towards Decatur. They specialize in beef brisket, but also have pork and some interesting sides. I like Greenbrier for hush puppies and fried catfish. We've had good luck at Grille 29. Pauli's is consistently good. My son loves ethnic food and is a fan of Charm Thai and also Spice of India at the hotel on Madison Blvd in Madison (they have a lunch buffet). We've only been about twice to each place. Son also wants to try Soul Burger. He's just graduated from college but is home going to grad school at UAH.

                        1. re: glecroy
                          Sid Post Aug 28, 2010 06:45 AM

                          I had the Grouper Oscar at Grill 29 a couple of days ago. The grouper itself was excellant and the crab was nice but, there wasn't much of it with this plate. The grits were okay but, nothing to write home about.

                          The atmosphere was really nice but, the food seemed a tad expensive for what it was.

                        2. re: lambretta76
                          Shrinkrap Jun 1, 2013 09:07 AM

                          Back in Huntsville hoping to make "breakfast" at Blueplate by noon, and Cotton Row for dinner.Wish places stayed open
                          later so I'd have time for the relatives I'm supposed to be visiting.

                          1. re: Shrinkrap
                            Davwud Jun 1, 2013 10:12 AM

                            The "Cheesy Browns" at BPC are fantastic. Really good hash browns with cheese on top.

                            DT

                            1. re: Davwud
                              Shrinkrap Jun 1, 2013 11:44 AM

                              Missed breakfast but bad the hash brown casserole as one of my '' veg''. :-)

                              1. re: Shrinkrap
                                Davwud Jun 1, 2013 12:11 PM

                                My overall impression of BPC is good mains with very good sides.

                                DT

                                1. re: Davwud
                                  Shrinkrap Jun 1, 2013 10:02 PM

                                  Did Big Bob's in Decatur again too. It was right, but I passed that '' drive through'' twice, with a line both times, and I might check that out instead next time.

                            2. re: Shrinkrap
                              Shrinkrap Jun 1, 2013 09:53 PM

                              Just back from Cotton Row and a good experience. Finally got my wagyu in the form of a salad. Sis got baked oysters that were very good too. They did sub the duck with favas to duck with English peas, but my sis wasn't having it. (Love scallops but we couldn't wrap our heads around the diver scallops with rigatoni with chipotle.) They miraculously found some favas back there, in just the amount of time it would take me to shuck, blanch, peel and briefly cook some...... and they were good!

                              I did wonder about the name, and knew some kin that would probably have an opinion about it. But VERY nice. And I had an $18/day rental car.

                          2. Shrinkrap Jul 23, 2009 08:51 PM

                            Yay! Heading to Huntsville on Saturday (Unfortunately, my 99 year old aunt is not well.) I can't believe I almost didn't bother checking here!

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: Shrinkrap
                              Davwud Jul 24, 2009 04:15 AM

                              If you get a chance, check out Dreamland.

                              http://davwudsfoodcourt.blogspot.com/...

                              DT

                              1. re: Davwud
                                Shrinkrap Jul 24, 2009 09:59 AM

                                I go to dreamland just about every time I visit!

                                1. re: Shrinkrap
                                  Davwud Jul 24, 2009 10:26 AM

                                  So do we. In the 6 or so years it's been open we've only missed going once. That time we went to Big Bobs in Decatur. We make 4 trips a year.

                                  DT

                                  1. re: Davwud
                                    Shrinkrap Jul 24, 2009 11:24 AM

                                    Is Big Bobs mentioned elsewhere in this thread?

                                    NVM. I see it. I've always wanted to try white BBQ sauce. Saw it on some Pals Dean show.Anyplace in Husnstville have it? How far is Decatur from the airport? Also, any updates on the Jamaican places?

                                    1. re: Shrinkrap
                                      Davwud Jul 24, 2009 06:28 PM

                                      The airport is like 60/40 in favour of HSV.

                                      I don't think Bob's is mentioned but if you're interested, it's a destination. It's famous. They have won several awards in major competitions. It's also the place that invented the white sauce. The last time I went, I went to the Danville location but I'd suggest going to the 6th Ave. location. It's sorta the original.
                                      http://www.bigbobgibson.com/main.htm

                                      DT

                                      1. re: Davwud
                                        Shrinkrap Jul 26, 2009 07:40 PM

                                        Did Bob''s in Decatur after a tortured moment in front of Greenbriers. Ribs where great. Staying at a hotel in Providence near "cheeseburger cheeseburger" etc, so if I don't have to do family meals, maybe I'll try it. Thanks all!

                                        1. re: Shrinkrap
                                          Davwud Jul 27, 2009 04:35 AM

                                          Glad you liked it.

                                          I prefer 5 Guys to CbCb but it's good as well.

                                          DT

                                          1. re: Davwud
                                            Shrinkrap Jul 27, 2009 01:22 PM

                                            Just did CbCb.; pretty good... off to find some Duke's mayo.

                                            1. re: Shrinkrap
                                              lambretta76 Jul 27, 2009 01:25 PM

                                              They have (or have had) it at the Target on University, not too far from CbCb.

                            2. Davwud Jul 7, 2009 12:10 PM

                              Bomber I don't know if you still read this board but we tried 5 Guys Burgers just off University in the west end. It was fantastic.

                              DT

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: Davwud
                                lambretta76 Jul 8, 2009 04:08 AM

                                I've been hearing reports about a Jamaican place in town with pretty good jerk chicken. Anyone been?

                                1. re: lambretta76
                                  Davwud Jul 8, 2009 04:18 AM

                                  I bumped into a Jamaican guy at Garden Cove (I think that's the name) and he said that there are two places and both are good.

                                  DT

                                  1. re: Davwud
                                    s
                                    sgcaver24 Jul 9, 2009 09:34 PM

                                    We ate at a few Huntsville restaurants about 3 weeks ago with mixed results- the new Mellow Mushroom- not quite as good as the one in Asheville, but they are still new and working out a few kinks, Ketchup- not impressed at all. The chef wouldn't allow any substitutions on any of the dishes- skip it, and Charm Thai- keep driving and don't look back- the absolute worst Thai food we have ever had. When they bring the Pad Thai to the table and the noodles & meat are grey because all they did was boil them you know it's going to be bad! Bringing the condiments to the table to "season" the Pad Thai is just not the way I want to enjoy that dish. My husbands duck was equally as bad. There was only 1 other table occupied in the entire place- we should have known by that. The one true highlight was a place called Another broken egg cafe. The waitress at the Mellow Mushroom recommended it and all I can say is the bananas foster french toast is out of this world. It's a bit on the expensive side- but well worth every penny.

                                    1. re: sgcaver24
                                      decolady Jan 18, 2010 08:23 PM

                                      We love Another Broken Egg Cafe. I'm partial to the Eggs Sardou and the Crabcakes Cavallo,

                              2. lambretta76 Mar 30, 2009 07:11 AM

                                Thanks for the reviews. I visit Huntsville several times a year on business (I'm in NYC, but originally from the Pittsburgh area) and am always looking for new places. (I've never heard of Charm Thai, but will be sure to check it out.)

                                Anything new to recommend since December?

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: lambretta76
                                  Bomberman760 Apr 8, 2009 11:21 AM

                                  I need to get my ass back in gear. You know how you put off replying to a friend's e-mail and then it gets easier an easier to put off? Well I have more to write here and will have it updated this weekend: Blue Plate Cafe, O'Connor's, Ketchup, and some second-visits.

                                  Sorry for the time off!

                                  1. re: Bomberman760
                                    Davwud Apr 8, 2009 11:27 AM

                                    We looked at Ketchup by the interior I found to be a huge turn off.

                                    DT

                                    1. re: Davwud
                                      Ima Wurdibitsch Apr 8, 2009 01:45 PM

                                      I'm behind on updates, too. We recently ate at Dolce. I was, mostly, unimpressed.

                                      Looking forward to other area CH reports!

                                      1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                                        lambretta76 Apr 8, 2009 06:02 PM

                                        Just a quick blurb - had an amazing meal at Phoenix Bistro (in the old Chef Green's place). It was a private event but the fried catfish with jalapeno cheese grits and grilled shrimp was simply amazing. It appears on the lunch menu with just the catfish and grits, but I'm sure you could have them throw some shrimp on it as well.

                                        Didn't get to eat out much this trip, had an OK meal at Grille29 (good scallops, but the asparagus were unwashed and full of grit), and two good meals at Po Boy Factory (awesome: fried crawfish po boy with Hot Damn! sauce; very good: etouffe; good: gumbo and fried crab claws; terrible: fried pickles (wayyyyyy too salty).

                                        What's the word on the German spot on University? And I really wanted to try Charm Thai, but my coworkers said that they used soy milk in their curries and soups? (If this is true, that's just terrible.)

                                        1. re: lambretta76
                                          decolady May 28, 2009 04:41 AM

                                          Phoenix Bistro is a favourite spot of ours, too. Service is always friendly and good. Food is excellent.

                                          Do you mean Ol' Heidelberg? It used to be right on University, east of Jordan Lane but moved a number of years ago to a shopping centre farther out (just west of Rideout Road), which is anchored by the Burlington Coat Factory. That was one of the first places we ate when we moved to Huntsville in 1982, and it remains consistently good. There is a sister place, Cafe Berlin on Airport Road. We tend to go there more often now, as it is closer to where we live. Both have a nice selection of German beers and wines and the food is authentic.

                                          1. re: decolady
                                            lambretta76 May 31, 2009 04:09 PM

                                            I should have said "new" German spot on University. If my horrible spatial memory serves me, it was down near the Books-A-Million. It had a name something like Schnitzel Haus, but that's actually a Kosher Israeli joint up here in Brooklyn, NY.

                                            Anyways, it seemed like it had taken over an old fast food restaurant but also looked somewhat inviting.

                                            1. re: lambretta76
                                              r
                                              RetiredPowerGuy May 31, 2009 05:16 PM

                                              We have tried a couple German restaurants in Huntsville and the best was Hildegards (2357 Whitesburg Dr S). It's authentic when outstanding food and service! Definitely worth a try.......!

                                2. Bomberman760 Dec 18, 2008 07:08 AM

                                  Thomas Pit Bar-B-Q
                                  Hwy 72 W, Madison

                                  This is an old one I forgot to post. Back when I was house hunting and on a BBQ hunt, I saw smoke billowing from down the street and had to check it out. The smokehouse behind the kitchen/dining area was in full gear, and enveloping all businesses down wind (I think one was a fitness club) in white hickory goodness. The drivethrough had a line doing it's best to keep off the highway, and the dining room only had two open tables at that time.

                                  I had a combo plate of beef and ribs with potato salad and coleslaw. Absolute heaven, especially since I still had Gibson's (see above) on my mind from the day before. All the meats were full of flavor and tender as could be. The sauce is the best I've had so far here, and in the top three ever for me. The ribs had a lot of meat, and the portions were big.

                                  I was well-advised earlier to ignore the sides, but it's not possible at Thomas. In my opinion, the best ever. vinegar slaw that is chipped fine. Not just shredded, but finely chopped. Same with the potato salad. Chopped finely, and so good I ordered a second side.

                                  I went the next day as well to try the catfish, and it was not bad - moist, not too much cornmeal breading, but the meat was by far the star of the show. I doused it in the barbecue sauce because it's taht damn good, but didn't try it with the white sauce. The hushpuppies were hard as ever, but I don't mind anymore as I don't see the point of them anyway. The catfish was good, but the best part of this day's lunch was the potato salad and coleslaw.

                                  I strongly recommend Thomas Pit Bar-B-Q. If I have a catered party, this is the place I'm calling.

                                  Side note: I'm not going to Smokey's down the street because not only is there no evidence of actual barbecue going on, the parking lot is always empty. Unless someone has a good reason to try it, I'm probably not going to.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Bomberman760
                                    Ima Wurdibitsch Dec 19, 2008 06:53 AM

                                    I was going to recommend this (Thomas Pit) but it had been so long since I'd been there that I was hesitant. It's good to hear that they're still making awesome BBQ. Seriously, though, if you want a good hushpuppy, Greenbriar (either of them) is the place to go.

                                    Smokey's has been all over the place in terms of food and service. I've probably been there a half-dozen times. The chicken has always been good but the sides are a crapshoot. Sometimes good, sometimes not. After some less than stellar service several months ago, I haven't been back. There are too many other places with more consistency and less teenage attitude. It's pretty much fast-food BBQ. However, I noticed yesterday that they had a sign up advertising their new ribs. I must admit, I'm tempted.

                                    1. re: Bomberman760
                                      Ima Wurdibitsch Dec 19, 2008 07:07 AM

                                      You know, it sounds like we have a similar tastes in food and such. After the holiday madness is over (or if we get a break during), we should try to get together for a meal. The fellow and I hang out with a great group of folks who really like their food ~grin~ and we're always picking up strays.

                                      Don't worry. Meeting strangers from the Internet is perfectly safe... I wrote about it on my blog. http://wordybitch.blogspot.com/2007/0...

                                      1. re: Bomberman760
                                        Davwud Dec 29, 2008 07:05 PM

                                        Okay so based on these reco's and others we tried Thomas Pit today. I gotta tell ya, we weren't nearly as impressed as you two. I had the ribs which were good but far from great. The tater salad tasted really good but I couldn't get around the texture. Made from a salad shooter or something. The slaw was pretty good but I'm not much on slaw.

                                        As for the sauce I figure it must be outstanding. I like sweet smokey sauces. My favourite is Sweet Baby Ray's Hickory Brown Sugar. So the fact that this is vinegary (not my preference), spicy (not my preference), and salty (not my preference) but I still liked it must mean something.

                                        Overall, I was glad I went but I won't be going back. We were on our way to Decatur so I'd rather hold out for Big Bob's or stay in HSV for Dreamland.

                                        DT

                                        1. re: Bomberman760
                                          decolady May 28, 2009 04:44 AM

                                          We used to go to Thomas' several times a month when we lived in Madison, but I haven't been for several years. Ribs, chicken and slaw were our favourites, which I would normally pick up in the drive-thru and take home to eat. The pork sandwiches were always good, too.

                                        2. Bomberman760 Dec 17, 2008 07:32 PM

                                          Surin

                                          As per another of Ima's suggestions, I had dinner at Surin in Madison, and as always, on 72 because after work I do not feel like exploring side streets. There is also one on Airport Road in Huntsville.

                                          First off, loved it. The food is not fusion, but I think I'd describe the restaurant as such. A little from Japan, China, Thailand, etc. While I didn't even scratch the surface of the menu, it looks like they avoided going fusion, which I don't really like.

                                          At 17:00 the place was a ghost town, but a beautifully decorated, dimly lit ghost town. By 18:00 the front parking lot was full. The staff was professional and well-synced. No waiting for something to be picked up from the window if my waiter was busy. Very helpful with the recommendations, and polite.

                                          No other way to start out a meal like this (for me) than with a dry martini, and they know how to do them well. A bit on the pricey side, but good enough that I thought about a second. I had mainly sushi, but had an appetizer and I cannot for the life of me remember what it was called. It was finely chopped and stir fried pork with chillies, red onion, lemon grass, and plenty of other seasoning, with a wedge of cabbage that is more for just spooning it onto or pushing the mixture onto a spoon. It was very tender, spicy and somehow light, if that makes any sense. No oil remaining from the stir fry, and while it should serve two, it didn't make a dent in my hunger.

                                          I chose their Rock n' Roll (Dragon roll reconfigured, without cucumber: freshwater eel, avocado, eel sauce), the standard Rainbow Roll, and a Spicy Tuna Roll. Those three are what I usually get first at a new place for me. The eel absolutely melted in my mouth and was thankfully not served chilled. The eel sauce was not overly thick and salty like some bargain sushi places. The rainbow roll was put together very well, fresh, and delicious. It was pretty straightforward. The spicy tuna really impressed me. It was not minced and blended with a little chili sauce, it was a nice cut that was marinaded, actually SPICY, and not overly chilled. The eel and tuna stood out the most, and are actually the best priced as well.

                                          My normal desert with such a meal would be two pieces of salmon roe, but the chef was out. So I had two pieces of sea eel, and it too was pretty good, but not as good as salmon roe, or even the freshwater eel.

                                          For sushi, I'm with Ima - this is the go-to place. The only place that could be better is the one on Airport road, if the chef is more experienced. Something for me to investigate another time. I'll be back after the holidays to try other dishes as well, because I'm the curious and hungry type.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Bomberman760
                                            Ima Wurdibitsch Dec 19, 2008 06:45 AM

                                            I actually grinned with joy when I saw your review! I'm so glad Surin was a good experience for you.

                                            I agree on the best way to start out is with a good martini. Yes, their prices are a little steep on them but they're HUGE. In fact, I like to say, "I'm going to Surin so that I can have a martini as big as my head."

                                            The appetizer you had was Larb. The chicken version is also really good. It's a favorite of mine and I've modified a recipe I found at epicurious (I think that's where I found it) and I make it at home frequently. It works with turkey, pork or chicken. The Rock n' Roll is my daughter's favorite and I like the way they do their spicy tuna better than anywhere else in town. I haven't yet tried the Rainbow Roll but will probably check it out soon. The Unagi is pretty darned tasty. One of the things I absolutely love is that the sushi chef there not only makes drool-worthy sushi, he's also an artist. The plates are stunningly beautiful.

                                            As for which is better, Madison or Airport Rd., I couldn't tell you. I love them both. This is a consistently great restaurant. I'd like to recommend something for you to try the next time you go but that's a hard task. Everything I've ever had there has been wonderful. In the mood for something spicy but light? The spicy beef salad is a wonderful combination of cool and crisp with warm and spicy. Want beef with more substance? The Tiger Cry (I think that's what it's called - it comes with sticky rice) has all the wonderful flavor but is more filling. Seafood? All good. The BBQ chicken? Even someone who claims to not like Thai will eat this and want to come back. I could go on but I won't except for one more category. Dessert. Unless it's changed, they make their own ice cream. Coconut, mango, vanilla bean? All good. However, they also make a kick-ass creme brulee. Save room for it one time. It's ~almost~ as good as mine. ;-) (It's my grandmother's favorite dessert and I wanted to perfect it to make it for her.)

                                            1. re: Bomberman760
                                              k
                                              keensheen Feb 22, 2009 09:09 AM

                                              Surin is fantastic. Everything I had there is fantastic. The Surin Baskets (Appetizer) are to die for. One of the best places in Huntsville/Madison hands down. The succulent cat fish is fantastic, especially the first few bites but my enjoyment did start to wan towards the end. My favorite in the thai curry duck.

                                              I haven't ordered any sushi from them though.

                                            2. Bomberman760 Dec 15, 2008 10:20 AM

                                              Charm Thai Restaraunt

                                              Sits in a strip mall in Madison on 72. Just the opposite of Phuket in every way. I see a lot of people look in the windo and keep walking, which is a shame because the food is excellent. The family also owns the asian grocery store adjoining it.

                                              Everything is fresh and fragrant. The tom kah is perfect with plenty of mushrooms and tender chicken.

                                              The lemongrass sausage was something new for me, and I'll have it every time I go. The sausage is slightly spicy with threads of lemon grass mixed in. No idea what other spices were part of the grind, but I love it.

                                              The phad Thai is as good as I've ever had. I got it with shrimp only, and there was a huge amount for only another two bucks. Crushed peanuts, lime, the works. The old woman brought a small carousel of condiments to the table - more crushed peanuts, chilli flakes, soy sauce, a wonderfully pungeunt fish sauce, and Sriracha. I went to town on the fish sauce and chilli flakes and loved it. Didn't plan on kissing anyone or riding a bus. The portions are big, and really inexpensive.

                                              The family is so friendly, and the small boys who "watch" the shop while dad has to run an errand in the kitchen are a comic sideshow all by themselves. They loved that I knew some polite pasha thai and have been recommending what's best or new that day. I've been back a couple times and will probably make it my Sunday place to eat. I really need to get off the phad thai and try their other dishes, but it's tough for me.

                                              I can't recommend this place enough. It really is the opposite of Phuket in every aspect.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Bomberman760
                                                Ima Wurdibitsch Dec 15, 2008 02:01 PM

                                                Excellent review! I'd seen Charm Thai and even shopped in the little grocery store near it but had never been in the restaurant. I'll make sure to go there, now. I can't wait!

                                                Another great (non-chain) Thai restaurant is down in 5 Points. It's called Thai Garden and, when I used to live in that area, was one of my favorite regular places. I'm not sure how familiar you're becoming with the Huntsville area and the directions would be kind of weird... Google "Thai Garden Huntsville" it should be the first item on the page. The restaurant is on Wellman and is in a little strip mall near a costume place called The Enchanted Masquerade. Absolutely delicious food (unless it's changed a lot in the past couple of years and then I'm really going to feel like an ass for recommending it)!

                                                Now for beer. If you go to Thai Garden, you are in luck because you are within a block of one of best selections of beer in the area. When you walk out of Thai Garden, California St will be the main road to your left. If you walk to the the edge of that road and look to your right, you'll see a gas station (yes, a gas station - BP, I think) to your right. Inside that gas station is one of the most varied selections of beer I've seen in this town. Their wine selection isn't too shabby, either.

                                                If you're into Vietnamese food, I highly recommend Viet Huong. It's near the Madison Square Mall (the strip mall just to the east of it). I have had dreams about their pho. ~wipes drool~

                                                What is it about strip malls and great food?

                                                Oh, another tip - the best grocery store for specialty/ethnic foods that I've found is Kroger in Madison. It's at the intersection of Old Madison Pike and Hughes Rd. Publix (any of them) is pretty good for everything else.

                                                1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                                                  Bomberman760 Dec 17, 2008 06:39 PM

                                                  Ha! - If you hadn't said that about Kroger I would have never, for any reason, gone there.

                                                  I actually have driven past Thai Garden, but something about that strip mall turned me off, whereas the Charm Thai strip mall somehow appealed. Must have been the blue neon of the bar at the end. A colleague tried to tell me where that beer store was, but I could not put it together - this did it - thanks!

                                                  I love Vietnamese also, and have really been missing it since leaving NJ/NY. Keep the suggestions rolling, and don't worry if it has changed - no blame here!

                                                2. re: Bomberman760
                                                  t
                                                  TBoneLady May 31, 2009 09:00 PM

                                                  I want to thank you for your review of this place. We went there yesterday and was very plesantly surprised! Phuket lost me a few months back...after one trip!!! Surin is good too and the sushi is awesome! BUT...Charm Thai has beat them all out...just amazing! I must say, if you are a sushi guy...I would HIGHLY recommend Mikawa!!! It sits behind the old Driving 2000 on University Drive near the Old Monrovia Rd/Madison Sq Mall intersection. You will NOT be disappointed!

                                                  Thanks for the recommendation once again! Do you mind if I give you a shout-out on my foodie blog???

                                                  Let me know!

                                                3. Bomberman760 Dec 15, 2008 09:53 AM

                                                  Phuket

                                                  Ok, here it is. I base my stateside Thai dining opinions based on what I had in Thailand, which was amazing. Even that aside, the nicest I can say is: if you like bad food at a high price, you will love Phuket in Providence Village.

                                                  The decor is beautiful - perfect for getting your hopes way, way up so they have further to crash.

                                                  I always have a standard tom kah gai anywhere I go. This somehow was void of any coconut milk and lemon grass flavor. I have no idea how they made the broth. The chicken was bone dry, and it was in liquid! No other vegetables except for green onion - a lot of it. If you went to a produce aisle and ate an entire bunch of green onion, I think it would be less than what was in my bowl. A child could Google "tom kah gai recipe" and make a better soup.

                                                  The lettuce wraps were appalling, and the only thing I complained about (went nowhere, no compensation). The lettuce was iceberg, and the wedge was cut so small that they were as useless as they were tasteless. The chicken itself was so dry that it took an entire glass of tea to wash down three bites of it.

                                                  Phad Thai is another standard if it's a new place I'm at. Granted teh US version isn't the same as the traditional Thai style, but they do serve that style there. Mess this up, and it's all over. When a kitchen puts something out that is worse than Thai Kitchen phad-thai-in-a-box, someone needs firing. I'm not even sure how to describe the noodles. Almost like they were cooked, cooled, then recooked. Might work well for cheap Italian joints pushing spaghetti to the lunch crowd, but not for rice noodles. Guess how the chicken was. Yes - bone dry. The shrimp was surprisingly plump and cooked very well. The rest of the dish is loaded with dry bean sprouts, with a little crushed peanuts on the side. No oil or anything served with it.

                                                  Because I am a glutton for punishment I also ordered a specialty roll from their sushi bar. It was big for sure, but the combination of different fishes and vegetables, topped with their "special spicy sauce" (store-bought Sriracha) did not go together at all. I should have known better at that point, but hey, a real sushi chef wouldn't put out something that embarrassing, right???

                                                  Finally, the service. I was one of four people in the restaurant for dinner, and there were three waiters. When I called it quits on a plate, or finished, I would set it out at the edge of my table. The other two waiters could not be bothered with it in the least. The glasses are so small, and the meat so dry, that my waiter was at my table, and I'm not exaggerating here, every 2-3 minutes to refill my glass. Really annoying. Attention is good, but saying thank you every 2-3 minutes was getting to me.

                                                  Just a horrible experience in every way. Unless that is your thing, then it's awesome.

                                                  1. Bomberman760 Dec 14, 2008 04:01 PM

                                                    Cheeseburger Cheeseburger

                                                    Well, I went to try some of the recommendations - Blue Plate, Soul Burger or Bandito Burrito, but they were all closed today (Sunday). So it was back to Providence Village, which I love because it looks like you teleported to another city altogether - Like somewhere in Virginia - looks quite a bit more upscale.

                                                    No way I could ignore a nod to the late great John Belushi with a name like Cheeseburger Cheeseburger. I just found out it is a franchise and there is another on Whitesburg Dr. It's like a '50s soda shop, but none of the kitchy decor that nostalgic places clutter the place with. It was outstanding. I'm bringing visitors and friends here. Good date place, but beware that the eye candy is also very, very nice. Maybe it's only on weekends, because they did look a bit jail-bait-ish. So I really didn't look too long. But the waitresses are quite fit. I digress...

                                                    The portions are huge, so a half-order of fries, onion rings, or mix, is enough for 2-3 people. I saw a full order go to one table and it was oh-my-god big. They have a 20 oz. cheeseburger that gets a snapshot of your mug on the wall if you finish it. I just started with a 10 oz patty tonight to see how it was. Awesome. Cooked exactly as ordered, black Angus. There's a menu online, but they update the in-store cards, as there were many more cheeses available.

                                                    I get a little frustrated sometimes with having to select my own toppings, because I'm always afraid I'll try to be creative and pick a combination that sucks. I did alright this time, but I hate too many choices. I also have an issue using utensils for a burger - like it's a dare or something. The bottom bun was soaked, so I turned the thing upside down, went around the edges to even-up the meat and bun, and one-handed it the rest of the way. That will show the burger who is in charge.

                                                    The onion rings are thin and very much like a Bloomin' Onion or whatever other onion appetizer with southwestern horseradish dip you've had. My fries were a little on the cool side, and a bit soggy, but I could tell they have real potential when fresh out of the fryer. A dash of their multi-season is a must on the fries and rings, and the burger too because the meat is not pre-seasoned, so your left to what ever you put on it.

                                                    I ended it with shake for the ride home, but you kind of need a spoon for those. Delicious. I can't wait to try their made-at-the-table sodas.

                                                    Excellent food, value, and service staff!

                                                    -----
                                                    Cheeseburger Cheeseburger
                                                    7 Town Center Dr, Providence, AL

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: Bomberman760
                                                      Ima Wurdibitsch Dec 15, 2008 06:24 AM

                                                      I love Cheeburger Cheeburger (no "s")! Unfortunately, my metabolism (and dislike of exercise) mean that I don't eat there often. I'm glad you had a good experience.

                                                      I'm sorry your Phuket experience wasn't good but, selfishly, I'm glad I didn't go back myself. They used to be absolutely wonderful. You'll find the decor and menu at Surin to be very similar but the food and services is so very much better at Surin.

                                                      Dining in the Huntsville-Madison County area is going to be different for you. Some restaurants (as you found) are closed on Sunday and many close earlier than you'd expect.

                                                      If you're a wine drinker, Pauli's [from Hwy. 72 (aka University Drive) turn left on Slaughter Rd., and just west of Huntsville] and it's sister restaurant, Vinotini, do half-price bottles of wine on Monday night. Pauli's is fine dining while Vinotini is tapas. Both are fantastic.

                                                      I look forward to seeing your continued reviews of restaurants in the area. If you have any questions about anything, let me know. I check in here at CH pretty regularly.

                                                      Since you seem to like the Providence area:
                                                      -Grille 29 has been hit and miss. We've had a few great experiences, a couple not so great experiences. The food has always been good to fantastic but the service has been spotty. If you sit by the bar, you have a tv in view (not my preference unless I'm in a sports bar); the larger dining room seems to bring out the inappropriately loud side of people. The smallish dining area between the two others is my favorite.
                                                      -Main St. Cafe. I've only been there for breakfast but it's a good, slightly upscale diner type place. I'd definitely go back.
                                                      -Tony's Little Italy. It's been a while but it was really good both in service and food.
                                                      -Mellow Mushroom. I don't know if they're open yet but I've been to other Mellow Mushrooms and they are one of my favorite places to get a pizza. They also have a fantastic selection of beers* that usually contains a few local brews as well as some national favorites. I love getting the sampler and trying 4-6 before deciding on which one is ordered in a full serving.
                                                      -Sweet Dream. It's been a while but they have some great desserts and coffee. Perfect if you want to walk around Providence after dinner and then go have dessert.

                                                      *Alabama has some of the most restrictive beer laws in the country. Freethehops.org is trying to change that but isn't having that much success. Some really excellent beers aren't allowed in the state. According to Freethehops, "Beverages defined as beer under Alabama law can contain no more than 6% alcohol by volume (ABV) and can be sold in containers no larger than 16 ounces." Wine and other alcoholic beverages are not restricted in this manner.

                                                      1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                                                        Bomberman760 Dec 15, 2008 09:56 AM

                                                        I'm excited about all those place after seeing them 3 times now. I had some soldiers here highly recommend Pauli's as well, so I'm waiting for my girlfriend to move here so we can go together. I look forward to stuffing my face and reviewing them all. I have to figure out how to get paid for this.

                                                        I ate at a Mellow Mushroom in Destin, Florida. I remember it being quite good, so I'm excited to see one here. Glad you mentioned that about the beer - I had no idea and was getting frustrated with the lack of imports.

                                                        I would have never seen the missing 's' from Cheeburger! Thanks for the correction! I won't fix it to save face, because then your post will look out of place.

                                                        Thanks for all the recommendations so far - everyone!

                                                        1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                                                          Davwud Dec 16, 2008 04:09 AM

                                                          Is one Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger better than the other??

                                                          DT

                                                          1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                                                            k
                                                            keensheen Feb 22, 2009 09:12 AM

                                                            I did not know we had a mellow mushroom in Huntsville. I <3 that place. The only place I've ate at in the providence area is Tony Little's Italy and I did not enjoy it that much though I've been looking for a genuine Italian restaurant and this one came off very American and mediocre to me.

                                                            1. re: keensheen
                                                              Ima Wurdibitsch Feb 24, 2009 09:55 AM

                                                              I'm beginning to wonder if Mellow Mushroom is ever going to open. For a while, it looked like it was going to be any day. The last time I drove by there, it looked completely empty - no furniture or anything. I hope they didn't go out of business before they even started.

                                                              1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                                                                Davwud Feb 25, 2009 03:31 AM

                                                                There's are businesses near my MIL/FIL that have never opened. One of them is completely ready. Just need to stock the shelves and hire a staff.
                                                                Also, our favourite Mexican place put a sign on the door saying "Closed for renovations" a year ago.

                                                                DT

                                                          2. re: Bomberman760
                                                            Davwud Jan 2, 2009 01:42 PM

                                                            Good call on Cb Cb Bomber.

                                                            We had lunch there today and I loved it. I'm a beer batter rings fan myself but had no qualms with these thinner ones. I've seen other places do this and the breading falls right off. Not these. I had the creamy jalapeno dip. It was excellent too.

                                                            I went with the half pounder and it was cooked perfectly. Nice beef flavour and great that you can select your own toppings.

                                                            A winner.

                                                            DT

                                                          3. f
                                                            fluffernutter Dec 8, 2008 07:00 AM

                                                            Went to Gibson's on BW for a family gathering two weeks ago. The meat was pretty good. I prefer dry ribs, but these were fine. Sides so-so. I've had worse, but I've also had better.

                                                            1. s
                                                              scrumptiouschef Dec 4, 2008 04:59 PM

                                                              bomberman:When eating Alabama barbecue it's best if you ignore the sides and concentrate on the meat.Most of the good places are concentrating all their estimable energy on getting the meat right and the sides are an afterthought.Big Bob's is rightfully famous.The white sauce and smoked chicken are generally spot on.If you get the chance the ultimate temple in the state is a short drive:Archibalds in Northport.http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/136844
                                                              http://www.friedbrainsandwich.com/2007/07/tuscaloosa_joural_archibalds_b.html
                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/532248

                                                              1. Ima Wurdibitsch Dec 3, 2008 08:19 AM

                                                                I have been unimpressed with the Gibson's on Bob Wallace and I'll second Davwud's suggestion to go to Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur. Different owner - much different experience. On the way there, you'll see (at Exit 3 on I-565) Greenbrier restaurant. There are two of them - one visible from the highway, the other down the road a bit. The visible one is run by the original owners of the place down the road. Each place has its fans. At both, the hushpuppies are fresh and delicious. I recommend squirting just a little bit of the white sauce on the hushpuppy. If I ate as many of those as I'd like and as often as I'd like, I'd be as big as a house.

                                                                I've only been to the Huntsville Dreamland once. It was right after it opened and I think that either I'd been spoiled by the Birmingham/Tuscaloosa experience or they just hadn't worked out the kinks. Based on your review, I may have to give them another chance.

                                                                As for Tim's... I'm salivating just thinking about it. Definitely go back and have the boudin. They do really nice plate lunches (meat and three) and their bread pudding is pretty tasty, although not as good as mine. ;-) Mine is cranberry bread pudding with an amaretto sauce (instead of the traditional raisin/whiskey or rum).

                                                                When you get finished immersing yourself in smokey, saucy BBQ's deliciousness, there are several other great restaurants in town. My favorites: 801 Franklin, Jazz Factory, Pauli's, and Vinotini (tapas). For sushi, Phuket used to be fantastic but went so far downhill I haven't been back. Surin (a smallish chain) is now my go-to place for sushi.

                                                                I used to whine about living in a culinary wasteland but Huntsville (and Madison) have really come a long way in the past several years.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                                                                  Davwud Dec 3, 2008 08:56 AM

                                                                  We also live Tim's. I forgot to mention that one.

                                                                  Give Wild Rose Cafe a try. It's on the square.

                                                                  Blue Plate Cafe is pretty good too.

                                                                  DT

                                                                  1. re: Davwud
                                                                    Ima Wurdibitsch Dec 3, 2008 09:07 AM

                                                                    I haven't been to Wild Rose yet but will definitely give it a try.

                                                                    I've been to Blue Plate Cafe once and really enjoyed it. Getting a parking spot is quite difficult if you get there after 11:00.

                                                                    Just down the road from Blue Plate (at that weird intersection of Governor's, Clinton, and some other odd street is The Bandito Burrito Co. I love that place. I've been going there for years and the food is consistently good. The picadillo, green bean burrito, and chicken chile verde are among my favorites. They also have a decent beer selection (for a hole in the wall place in a sketchy neighborhood).

                                                                    1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                                                                      Davwud Dec 3, 2008 09:10 AM

                                                                      The first time I came to that intersection I went right through.

                                                                      Wild rose is one of those breakfast/lunch type places that frequently runs out of stuff if you don't get there early enough. I think she closes at 2.

                                                                      Very good home made type comfort food.

                                                                      DT

                                                                      1. re: Davwud
                                                                        Ima Wurdibitsch Dec 3, 2008 09:20 AM

                                                                        Thanks for the tip! I'll be sure to check it out.

                                                                        Oh, and Bomberman... I forgot to mention Soul Burger. One of the best burgers in town. If you're leaving the Patton Rd. gate on RSA, go down to Bob Wallace and take a right. As you approach Triana Blvd, it will be on your right in a tiny strip mall - I think they're next to Little Caesar's Pizza. If you miss it, you can turn right on Triana and access it through the parking lot on your right. Be sure to tell them it's your first time...

                                                                  2. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                                                                    Bomberman760 Dec 14, 2008 08:06 AM

                                                                    Glad you mentioned Surin - been driving past it every day for 2 weeks now, and could not figure out what it was exactly. Been putting it off, but now I'll go. As for my Phuket experience, well, I'm behind in posts because I just got cable installed today. Not good. Giving Dreamland another shot at lunch to be fair.

                                                                    1. re: Ima Wurdibitsch
                                                                      k
                                                                      keensheen Feb 22, 2009 09:20 AM

                                                                      The BBQ we like the best since we've been here (3 years) is Greenbrier's and the one at 27028 Old Highway 20 (further away from the highway).

                                                                    2. Davwud Dec 3, 2008 05:27 AM

                                                                      I've never been to that Gibsons on BW but I've been to a few other Gibsons places.
                                                                      Big Bob's in Decatur is very good. Great ribs and pork and the chicken is dipped in their white bbq sauce. White bbq sauce is native to that area of the country only. Pretty much only Madison County.
                                                                      Little Paul's (Gibson) across from the hospital is a favourite of my wifes. I like it but I usually get the Brunswick Stew.

                                                                      It's too bad you didn't like your Dreamland experience that much. I love the ribs. We were there last weekend and I had an excellent rack. Everyone's meals were great.

                                                                      DT

                                                                      1. Bomberman760 Dec 2, 2008 08:07 PM

                                                                        Tim's Cajun Kitchen

                                                                        On my way back home to pack my belongings, I stopped my Tim's Cajun Kitchen because coming from Redstone Arsenal (Gate 10) to 565 it was right there at the interstate entrance, convenient, and I vaguely remember eating there when I was stationed in Huntsville years ago, and I didn't dislike it.

                                                                        The first thing to noticed was the huge selection of good import and micro brew beers. I got there right after the lunch rush, so they were out of over half their homemade appetizers and ala carte items. I ordered an all-appetizer lunch because I wanted to sample a little of everything: chicken/sausage gumbo, chicken/sausage jambalaya, shrimp etouffee, and breaded alligator bites.

                                                                        Overall I was pleased, and most everything is, or seems to be, homemade (no way to know without checking out the kitchen, but that isn't going to happen).

                                                                        At first, the etouffee and gumbo seemed way too salty, but once I mixed it up with the rice it was better. The gumbo was not the absolute best I've ever had, but quite good. The jambalaya has moist sausage and shredded chicken, and was not too dry at all. A little of their outstanding pepper sauce, and it is a great lunch.

                                                                        Alligator is my favorite all-time meat., so I had to order the appetizer bites. Definitely big enough for two or three people to share. As served, there is way too much breading, which traps way too much fryer grease. No reason it couldn't just be a light dusting rather than a thick batter. As the breading is pretty much tasteless, even with the good dipping sauce, it ruins the experience. The good news is that it peels off quite easily. Stick a fork in one end and scrape it all off with a knife, and your left with a tender, juicy chunk of alligator tail. Delicious even without condiment.

                                                                        I really wish I could have tried the green bean casserole or boudin, but they were out. The place is busy for lunch so get there 11-ish with a crowd, or later when they have better seating, but less menu items. In their defense, when i asked why they were out of so many things, the waitress said there was an unusually busy lunch - otherwise the kitchen is normally prepared.

                                                                        Friendly wait staff - just wish mine were attractive as the once painted on the wall in caricature. I jest - they are quick , attentive, and have a great sense of humor. For those asking where to go for lunch while passing through, consider Tim's.

                                                                        1. Bomberman760 Nov 25, 2008 06:50 PM

                                                                          For dinner this evening I went to Dreamland on University. With a picture of someone like “Big Daddy” Bishop on the sign, I figured it had to be good. The first thing that hit me was the smell of the smokers – like memories of my grandparents' wood burning stove – I love that smell. Anyway, I got there around 7:30 PM, so the smokers had been shut down by then. I was disappointed that there was no sample platter, or half and half of anything, but I saw right away that the portion size allowed someone with a healthy appetite to order two at a decent value still.

                                                                          I started with a pork sandwich, a side of baked beans, and a side of coleslaw. The sides were pre-made crap from a bucket or bag – awful. The slaw is mayo-based. Homemade slaw is so easy too – that's what's disappointing. But I guess being a chain establishment, you'll have that.
                                                                          The pork was excellent. A full half-pound mixed with just a little of their sauce, and an extra ring of sauce around the sandwich that would make it tough or at least extremely messy to eat with your hands. So I discarded the bun top and dug in. Moist, smokey, and delicious. The sauce is an excellent vinegar-based sauce, and I'd consider buying some if I don't try one better.

                                                                          Because of their motto aimed at the ribs: “Ain't nothing like 'em – nowhere,” I had to try some. I got the rib sandwich, which is just four ribs and not really a sandwich. Lots of meat and smothered in the delicious sauce, but unfortunately I do not agree with the motto. I've tasted many ribs like these that were dry and tough. The taste was there – smokey and tangy – but the texture of the meat just didn't live up to its history. I've had marinaded and grilled ribs that were juicier and more tender.

                                                                          But the overall experience does warrant a return trip. I'm hoping that if I go earlier the ribs may be fresher out of the smoker and more tender. Overall, friendly service (another language barrier, but friendly...do I really have that much of a Yank dialect?), good food, and a good value. I just noticed that my shirt still smells like the smoke. I will revisit this one in the coming weeks.

                                                                          1. Bomberman760 Nov 25, 2008 06:50 PM

                                                                            For lunch I went to Dave Gibson's on Bob Wallace Ave, and probably will not return. I ordered the half pork, half beef plate with hush puppies instead of fries. Because she asked me which I wanted with it, and there was no mention of included sides on the board, I ordered a side of coleslaw. I saw immediately that it comes with potato salad, baked beans, and of course, coleslaw. Maybe she thought I just really like coleslaw, or maybe it was the fact that we had to ask each other to repeat what was said every sentence, but I think she could have mentioned that it came with slaw.

                                                                            There was no separation of the little meat there was, and it all was the same gray color, and same dryness and chewiness. So I have no idea if I got what I asked for, but it was not worth going back to ask. I am a fan of vinegar-based BBQ sauce, so it's not like this was just not my preferred style. The vinegar at the table was delicious and spicy, but the separate sauce was nothing special. Like a molasses or corn syrup base. Any sauce recipe I've made myself has tasted much better, and that's wrong for a place with so much history and supposed pride.

                                                                            There was a BIG PLUS to the meal, and that was the coleslaw. It was the vinegar-based kind that I love, and it was the same great vinegar that was on the table. It could very well have been homemade. But rest of the sides were definitely not.

                                                                            The hush puppies were rock-hard and flew everywhere when I tried to cut one (stabbing with the plastic fork would have broken the fork). The potato salad was the usual yellow, 5-pound grocery store tub kind, and tasteless. The beans were as good as any canned baked beans I had camping in Boy Scouts - no homemade flair at all.

                                                                            If this is the best of all the Gibsons' barbecues, then I can't see how the others are in business. I was the only patron under 70, I think, so maybe it used to be really good and the old faithfuls keep coming back. Not a smoker to be detected in the kitchen, nor in the meat. It appeared through the window that there was some sort of wood-fired grill.

                                                                            Overall, poor food at a poor value.

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