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Birmingham - new, or new to you?

  • Dax Jan 16, 2010 11:01 AM

I'm getting in a rut from going to all of the same old places. Have you heard of any new places opening or even found a place new to you that you love? Any types of food. Help a brother out.

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  1. Sorry, dude. I only go to places you tell me to.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bovinekid

      Amen to Nabeel's, which in my limited experience has had excellent fresh fish among the daily specials.

      Have you tried Cafe de Paris (on the Southside)? We had a lovely meal there, adn they were practically giving away the wine.

    2. Been to Saigon Noodle House yet? Decent Vietnamese food on U.S. 280 in the Target plaza. For Mexican, check out Taqueria Mexico on Lorna Road. Limited taco/torta menu, but all very good fillings in house-made tortillas. But they also do a very good cabrito and quail.
      We've enjoyed the Mediterranean food at Nabeel's in Homewood. They've expanded the menu recently, although I've yet to try some of those items. Haven't had a bad meal there yet, though.
      Some of the food at Rogue Tavern downtown intrigues me; again yet to try it, though.

      16 Replies
      1. re: Big Daddy

        I've been to all of those places multiple times, except for Taqueria Mexico.

        Saigon let me down last time.

        Haven't been to Nabeel's in ages.

        Rogue's food is fine, nothing amazing but those bleu sliders are good,

        1. re: Dax

          I think we've discussed this one in the past, but don't recall if you've been: Chez Lu Lu in English Village? Good Sunday brunch; funky nighttime place, too.
          I don't see this place discussed much, but on the higher end, have you tried Cafe Dupont downtown?
          Tried Sol y Luna?
          I know none of these are new. But with this economy, little new that's not safe and tried and true is opening these days.

          1. re: Big Daddy

            Coincidentally I went to dinner at Chez Lulu last night. The warm goat cheese with tomato sauce was perfect with toasted baguette spears on a rainy night. The italian sausage and mushroom pizza was good, with a mostly perfect crust, but the sauce was a little bland.

            I like Sol y Luna and need to get back there soon. Basically, I don't tend to think it's worth the price tag of all of the smaller dishes but find it interesting. Their chicken tortilla soup is delicious (and greasy).

            Still have not been to Dupont yet.

            1. re: Dax

              Went to Sol Y Luna Friday.

              The food is fine but nothing special and their "tapas" prices are starting to border on the ridiculous - $14 for 3 empanadas? Yes I realize they are quality ingredients but still ...

              The starter with chips and good guac is good for $6 and the mussels are good and almost a deal for $12 but better values can be found at many other places in the city.

              -----
              Sol Y Luna
              2811 7th Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233

        2. re: Big Daddy

          Been to Saigon Noodle House and it was good but prefer Pho Que Huong. Been there several times now and the food's very consistent. Not blow your socks off Vietnamese but solid. Still looking for someplace that serves Beef 7 ways.

          -----
          Saigon Noodle House
          4606 Highway 280, Birmingham, AL 35242

          1. re: mahalan

            Interesting, what exactly do you prefer at PQH over SNH? The pho and banh mi?

            1. re: Dax

              I prefer both the pho and banh mi @ SNH. PQH has the best bo kho and bun bo hue though.

              1. re: johnnystiletto

                This is exactly what I needed to hear

              2. re: Dax

                I've had the pho at both. Both had a clear broth but it was more flavorful at Pho Que Huong. I also prefer the summer rolls and noodle dishes there. I'm not much of a sandwich person so I haven't tried the banh mi at either.

                1. re: mahalan

                  Wow I like the summer (labeled spring) rolls more at SNH but admit not having tried them at PQH lately. Maybe I will investigate over some bo kho. Viet is not my strong suit.

                  1. re: Dax

                    I'm a big fan of what generally is the pho labeled No. 1, with well-done beef brisket, raw round steak, tripe and tendon. I prefer the version served by SNH. I like the broth better (although there's less of an star anise touch than at PQH), but they also add these funky sausage meatballs to the above ingredients. They also don't wimp on the portions of tripe and tendon (one of my favorite funky cuts).
                    As for the fresh rolls, both make good versions. But SNH has a better variety (I like both the shrimp and pork and the version with the charbroiled pork). SNH also has two vegetarian options, which is important in my family (although I noticed that PQH recently added a tofu roll).
                    I give PQH the nod on the cha gio, which are nice and meaty. SNH has made considerable improvements in that area since it opened.
                    SNH also gets the edge in my book on banh mi, especially for the variety of its offerings. And it's finally expanded its menu to rival the variety of dishes offered at PQH.
                    But with the recent price increases at SNH, PQH has the best prices by far.

                    1. re: Big Daddy

                      I was out on Greensprings today and grabbed two banh mi combos (not dac biet and they don't have pate) and two orders of the fresh summer rolls and SNH blows them both away. The rolls at PQH come two to an order for $4, which I believe is the same price as at SNH where you get 3 giant flavorful rolls. As I note on the banh mi, the meat is fine but no pate and the sandwiches seem smaller. That might be the last time I order either at PQH.

                      1. re: Dax

                        Once upon a time in the not so distant past, PQH sold its meaty spring rolls for a mere dollar, slightly more for the fresh rolls. I'd make a meal out of them.
                        Prices go up. But even after Saigon Noodle House opened, Pho Que Houng kept an advantage as a less-expensive alternative to SNH. Now I see that is fading as well.
                        Had the banh mi prices gone up at PQH, as well? They always were less than the $4.95 that SNH now charges. Even so, I've always preferred the SNH version; more interesting composition and more variety of choices. Very very nice people there, too.
                        Still, PQH has its charms, so I hope you don't totally abandon them.
                        By the way, Saigon Noodle House now offers vegearian versions of their soups -- faux pho, Hue style and coconut-curry.

                        -----
                        Saigon Noodle House
                        4606 Highway 280, Birmingham, AL 35242

                        1. re: Big Daddy

                          $4.50 for the banh mi and $3.95 for two tiny summer rolls. I'll stick with SNH.

                          1. re: Dax

                            No, I agree, especially when it comes to the rolls. And the SNH banh mi is more substantial for just pennies more.

                            1. re: Big Daddy

                              Plus the double meat for $2.50 at SNH makes the sandwich enough to split.

          2. You may not want to drive to Helena, but there is a pretty good buzz about Bellyfiller's in the Jet-Pep station. I stopped by today, although I wasn't hungry(it was 3:30). I got a paper menu to bring home and everything looks very good. Kinda long way to drive for a sandwich, but I will definitely give it a try.

            4 Replies
            1. re: scootyb

              Some places that have opened in the past year:

              Do Di Yos
              Dyron's Lowcountry
              Chuck's Fish
              Avo/Dram
              Za Za Trattoria

              1. re: pinotboy

                Thanks, I need to try Chuck's I guess. I have tried the others and like them, although have not been to or heard great things about Avo/Dram. Thoughts?

                I went to Ranelli's Deli in Southside yesterday as they take the Weekly card. That may be my last trip there, nothing special. Does anyone have any suggestions for Ranelli's?

                1. re: Dax

                  Regarding Avo/Dram, I have only been to Avo once and had a not-so-great steak that set me back the better part of $35. So, I am in no hurry to go back there.

                  Dram is not bad; basically, it is a place to get a burger (or other sandwich) and fries. The burger is pretty good, but certainly not on the level of Chez Fonfon. If you find yourself in Mtn. Brook Village and want a burger it is a good option, but I would certainly not call it "destination dining."

                  I have heard good things about Chuck's Fish, but have yet to make it there.

                  1. re: Dax

                    I'm new and reading back posts about Bham - really enjoying seeing other perspectives.

                    I love ranelli's, but tend to get the same thing each time. They have something with roast beef and cheese, roasted peppers and onions, and garlic butter sauce. You don't want to stand too close to people the rest of the day when you talk, but it is so yummy.

              2. I have been told that Carpenetti's in Moody is excellent, but haven't had a chance to try it. Maybe you can go and give us a report. It's supposed to be New York style pizza.
                http://carpenettis.com/

                1 Reply
                1. re: Ms. Finiky

                  If you like upscale Mexican food, try Zona Rosa near Liberty Park (on River Run, near the Piggly Wiggly). I thought about you, Dax, when we went there for dinner last night. It's in our family rotation, which is why I was wishing I'd mentioned it before. They have the standards, but their specials are not run-of-the-mill Tex-Mex. I like the various pork dishes (adobo, pibul, etc.). The paella is passable. They do a decent chicken in mole.

                2. Anyone been here yet? I was hoping for a new place serving regionalized Taiwanese but this review suggests that the menu is all over the place (unfortunately?).

                  http://blog.al.com/scenesource/2010/0...

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Dax

                    I've tried TaiPei 101 three times to make sure. Hit and miss each time with the last visit being the deciding one that I'll continue to look elsewhere for my Asian fix. The option of brown rice is a good one, but if you aren't offered the choice they bring a floral and dry jasmine rice that is a strange and off-putting addition in a bento box. People seem to rave about the gyoza, but they are textbook frozen and deep fried while I prefer mine silky on top and crisped on the bottom or simply steamed. The tempura was so oily that it left a pool at the bottom of the dish. We asked for hot Chinese mustard and they brought out the oily manufactured stuff that comes in take out packages. I give up.

                    1. re: Dax

                      Here's my take on Taipeu 101: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/678188

                      1. re: Big Daddy

                        Yikes, neither reviews bode well. One of my favorite restaurants in Chinatown in Boston was Taiwanese, I had high(er) hopes for Taipei. I might still give it a shot. The anchovies app sounds good.

                        1. re: Dax

                          It's like the one we ordered at the Chen's Chowdown. It does strike me, though, as good bar food, kind of like pretzels or bar mix, to accompany a beer.

                    2. Anybody been to that new place next to Lou's in Lakeview?

                      1. Dax,
                        Not in Bham, but worth the trip....Two places. First, Kozy's in Tuscaloosa. My wife and I really enjoyed dinner there last weekend. Nice atmosphere, very good food. Second, Black Rock Bistro in Jasper (yeah, you heard me right). We go there just about every time we head to Smith Lake for the weekend and have never been disappointed.

                        1. http://blog.al.com/scenesource/2010/0...

                          Anyone else been to Urban Cookhouse yet? Or has this already been discussed? I had a very good wrap there about a month ago but I can't recall what it was. It was good, albeit maybe slightly spendy. My two friends' salads with shrimp looked great and were huge. The place was super packed.

                          http://blog.al.com/bob-carlton/2010/0...

                          What about the Bayou Deli?

                          I liked my one trip to Brick and Tin although the empanada left a little to be desired for $3.50 each.

                          Additionally. has anyone been to Bernetti's diner in Pelham for breakfast? Someone on yelp loved it.

                          Finally, what about Green Top Cafe in Dora for its 'cue? (Another great yelp review).

                          Thoughts appreciated.

                          -----
                          Green Top Cafe
                          7530 Highway 78, Dora, AL 35062

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: Dax

                            I ate at Green Top about 3 months ago and I really liked it. I had a pulled pork plate with salad, potato and bread. I think it was about $8.00. The sauce is smoky and spicy and the bark was nice. The bread is fried and they make their own ranch dressing. The only downside is they have butter spread for their baked potatoes, not butter. Other than that I really enjoyed it.

                            -----
                            Green Top Cafe
                            7530 Highway 78, Dora, AL 35062

                            1. re: Dax

                              We went to Bernetti's...nothing too special, IMO.

                              1. re: Dax

                                I don't know that you can get worse BBQ than what I had at Green Top a couple of months back---meat was cooked poorly and the sauce is basically just ketchup--I added some hot sauce just to get a little flavor. Bayou Deli was pretty good the one time I've been: andouille stuffed pork chop was done OK, good b-e peas, terrible bread pudding though.

                                -----
                                Green Top Cafe
                                7530 Highway 78, Dora, AL 35062

                                1. re: Lugnut

                                  I've been to Green Top a few times (not too many options on that road) and have had more poor experiences than good.

                                  -----
                                  Green Top Cafe
                                  7530 Highway 78, Dora, AL 35062

                                  1. re: deepfriedkudzu

                                    Ever tried Slick Lizard in Jasper? We drive by it all the time and haven't stopped yet, but I wonder.....

                                    1. re: curej

                                      Haven't been there yet, but the sign makes me want to stop every time.

                                      "Fill Your Gizzard At Slick Lizard"

                                       
                                      1. re: deepfriedkudzu

                                        Maybe this weekend!

                                        @DFK, if you haven't eaten at Black Rock Bistro in Jasper, give it a shot. Very good food at very reasonable prices. They are only open on Thursday and Friday nights. They do catering the rest of the week. They are from Louisiana and do some good dishes from those parts.

                                        1. re: deepfriedkudzu

                                          Slick Lizard has now been taken over by the folks from Green Top BBQ.

                                2. The husband and I stopped in at Genghis Grill on HWY 31 in Hoover, in the same shopping plaza as 5 Guys Burgers.

                                  Very much like the old Fire & Ice and Zyng that we liked on occasion.

                                  Basically it's a buffet of raw food: various meats, veggies, seasoning, and sauces. You pick your selections, as much or as little as you wish, then take it over to the grill. They cook the food, add it to your choice of rice (brown, steamed, or fried) or pasta, and then bring it to you.

                                  The hubby had a mixture of chicken, beef, scallop, shrimp, and squid along with his veggies and some kind of sweet and sour sauce. He had this over fried rice.

                                  I selected chicken, shrimp, and squid, various vegges I thought would compliment the seafood, added garlic and ginger, and topped it off with their soy/honey sauce. This was then added over steamed rice.

                                  We had barely sat back down at our table when the waitress brought our two meals over to the table.

                                  The food was cooked very well, and I guess seasoned well for what we had. Next time, I'll add more garlic and ginger. But overall it was a good, somewhat healthy, alternative to the usual fare one finds as fast food in the area.

                                  The one thing I like is you can go to their website and customize your bowl so you have an idea of the nutrients in your meal. I'm trying to be mindful of the carbs, so I knew going into my meal pretty much what I would be eating.

                                  We liked it for the virtue that we can customize our meal without ticking off the kitchen, and the price was quite good. Lunch bowls are around $8 for a one time trip through the bar. Endless bowls run just over $10.

                                  1. Thanks to Birmingham's Best Lunch, I finally tried Sammy's Sandwich Show on Messer Airport Highway. Wow. It was a giant (at least 1/4 lb) griddled grease bomb of deliciousness. The grilled burger was well seasoned and I asked for it topped with cheese (american) and grilled onions, plus I squirted on some ketchup and mustard. They have limited hours (not sure I would visit there at night anyway) and they only take cash or check. The ATM in the store next door charges a $2.25 fee but it was worth it to try. I'd say their burger beats my other favorite grease bomb burger place Becky's (gas station, not university ave). I also had some regular crinkle cut fries with the ubiquitous seasoning which were fine.

                                    http://birminghamsbestlunch.com/?p=42

                                    Has anyone tried the taco truck in Tarrant?

                                    http://wadeonbirmingham.com/2010/08/1...

                                    -----
                                    Sammy's Sandwich Shop
                                    4921 Messer Airport Hwy, Birmingham, AL 35212

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: Dax

                                      We stopped into El Girasol last weekend and were a little intimidated by the surroundings. We didn't stay. Do you guys frequent this place? I've read that it's good.....

                                      1. re: curej

                                        Frequent may be too strong of a word. I've eaten there 3 times and enjoyed everything so far. However, I doubt I would be headed to that area with family in tow very far after dark.

                                        1. re: curej

                                          Since reading Dax's review of the place, I've been there a half dozen times. I've really enjoyed everything I've had.

                                          The neighborhood's not great but it doesn't hit me as being dangerous either. I'd wager the odds of getting mugged are higher in Five Points than there.

                                          1. re: mahalan

                                            Both Dax and Mahalan put it right. I wouldn't go to that area of First Avenue North after dark, but it's fine by day and no more dangerous than any other commercial part of town.
                                            It's worth the trip, if your taste buds lead you substantially south of the Mexican border. A little more atmosphere than Gordo's, with a more extensive menu but similar approach to food.
                                            Jannae, if you liked the Genghis Grill, you might want to try Kai Go on U.S. 280, tucked in the middle of Brook-Highland shopping center. Nice selection of items to be griddle-cooked, and they make their own sauces in-house. Very nice people. Just wish they'd get their liquor license (at least they hadn't as of a couple weeks ago). The sushi is pretty good, too.

                                            1. re: Big Daddy

                                              Thanks for the tip BD. We'll have to give it a go next weekend.

                                              1. re: Jannae

                                                Bad news: Kai Go has closed. it was in a location where restaurants die.

                                                1. re: Big Daddy

                                                  Damn, that was quick. I was planning to go try it. That is a terrible, terrible location, though.

                                      2. Have you tried Franklin's Homewood Gourmet yet? We lunched there today and it was quite good. I had a chicken salad sandwich (huge). The chicken salad was delicious, with an unusual texture of tiny chicken cubes and not a ton of mayo, more crumbly than pasty. Different and quite good. I didn't eat the whole thing as the roll the salad was served on was very large (shaped like a large burger roll, but soft and tender like a croissant). I should know what kind of bread that was, but I'm not so smart. The sandwich was served with a chunky potato salad that was also delicious. I found the potato chunks kinda huge, but I still really enjoyed the salad. They had a lot of other interesting options (including a large variety of very interesting-sounding wraps and lasagna) and I will certainly go back.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: curej

                                          Hasn't been "Franklin's" Homewood Gourmet in quite some time. :)

                                          -----
                                          Homewood Gourmet
                                          1919 28th Ave S Ste 113, Birmingham, AL 35209

                                          1. re: bovinekid

                                            Well, whatever. I went there yesterday thanks to a writeup on the web under "Franklin's Homewood Gourmet". Same place. Sorry.

                                          2. re: curej

                                            I was there for lunch yesterday. Got the salad sampler with the chicken salad you're describing, the pasta salad, and the tomato cucumber salad. All were very good. Need to get there more often.

                                          3. Well, I have no idea where you've been, so I apologize if some of the suggestions are obvious, but here it goes:

                                            Saw's - Great BBQ restaurant in Homewood. They're smoked chicken is excellent (they serve it with a white sauce). I have not had their pork/red sauce, but I've heard good things. They do BBQ right.

                                            Brannon's Public House - Irish gastropub downtown. I haven't been, but have heard good things.

                                            MIX - Gourmet sandwiches/bakery downtown. Partially owned by Chris Dupont (from Cafe DuPont). The MIX BLT is the best sandwich I have ever eaten. Ever. Essentially, it's slabs of succulent pork belly stuffed inside fluffy, freshly baked foccacia. With of course tomato, romaine, etc.

                                            Camp Taco - Taco joint in Five Points. The interior's pretty shabby (I think it was an old Subway), but the tacos are great. The ingredients are advertised as fresh, and they certainly taste like it. My favorite has chicken, corn, and white BBQ sauce on it. Not a traditional taco, but very good.

                                            Trattoria Centrale - I think it was mentioned in this thread, but have you been for their Friday dinner or Sunday brunch? They're both phenomenal.

                                            GianMarco's - Great Italian place in Homewood. It's been around for a while, but I just found out about it.

                                            Urban Standard - They started doing dinner, but I haven't been. Judging from their other stuff, it's probably pretty good.

                                            Hart and Soul - Sandwich shop that just opened in Edgewood. Got a good review in the paper--I haven't been.

                                            Slice - Gourmet pizza place in Lakeview. The atmosphere is the best part, in my opinion. The porch has a view of Lakeview with the skyline in the background. They have only AL beers on tap, which is a good thing in my book. Food is good, too.

                                            Bettola - Upscale Italian/pizza place in Lakeview. Food + Wine just named it the best new restaurant in the South.

                                            -----
                                            Urban Standard
                                            Birmingham, AL, Birmingham, AL

                                            Bettola
                                            2901 2nd Ave S, Birmingham, AL 35233

                                            8 Replies
                                            1. re: magiccityfoodie

                                              I've been to all of those except Hart and Soul and I like them all.

                                              I think Branon's is closed now. It was ok the one time I went for lunch but absolutely horrible (except the cheese and chutney tray) the one time I went for dinner.

                                              1. re: Dax

                                                Have you been to ORE in Crestline Park? It used to be Open Door Cafe, but they have a new menu.

                                                What about that new Frio en La Paz place in Vestavia?

                                                There's also that relatively new breakfast/brunch place near Mountain Brook Village, Over Easy. I haven't heard any reviews, but it's probably worth checking out. If you've been, I'm curious--how was it?

                                                1. re: magiccityfoodie

                                                  Over Easy is very good, kinda like a diner with fairly high-end products like Benton's bacon. I had an egg dish there that was tasty and filling for a decent price. The folks were nice; we got there right at closing (2 p.m., if I recall) and they seated and served us as if we were the first customers of the day.

                                                  1. re: magiccityfoodie

                                                    I've been to Ore twice now - once for lunch and once for Sunday brunch - and loved it both times. It's completely changed since Open Door - much more pleasant, cleaner, more like a restaurant and less like a fraternity party. The service was also really great, and I've been dreaming about those sweet potato fries since.

                                                    Frio en la paz is good, but nothing spectacular. I actually prefer the original la paz in crestline. however, it has been really busy both times i've been, which is a good sign as businesses rarely survive in that location.

                                                    also have really enjoyed the food at over easy (one of the best waffles i've ever had), but the service, although really friendly, is slooooow. i'm talking, i waited over an hour for a waffle slow. they are always busy, but have some definite tweaking to do if they're going to hang around. love the selection of local ingredients, though.

                                                    -----
                                                    Open Door Cafe
                                                    1115 Dunston Ave, Birmingham, AL 35213

                                                  2. re: Dax

                                                    I was at Hart and Soul a couple of weeks ago. Had a glass of wine and the salad sampler. The three salads were all very good - comparable to what I'd get at Homewood Gourmet. Need to get back.

                                                    -----
                                                    Homewood Gourmet
                                                    1919 28th Ave S Ste 113, Birmingham, AL 35209

                                                  3. re: magiccityfoodie

                                                    re: Bettola
                                                    I guess we need to try their other offerings, then, because we went there for pizza recently and it was VERY disappointing. The bottom was like a big limp wet lasagna noodle.

                                                    1. re: curej

                                                      I really enjoyed the flatbread sandwich with fresh mozzarella, basil, chicken & roasted pepeprs.

                                                      1. re: curej

                                                        Bettola--I can't comment yet as I have not been, but it's on the top of my list of places to try. I'm mostly intrigued by the housemade salames, the imported cheeses, handmade pastas, etc.

                                                    2. I went to TJ's on Fourth this week, the new BBQ place by the hospital. The pork is mostly chopped into cubes, and the bread is like ciabatta (instead of a regular bun). Sides are extra (and no mac 'n' cheese?). The bread seemed to hold up reasonably well to the sauce, but since the meat was in pieces it mostly fell out the bottom of the sandwich...so, I ended up eating it loosely with a fork. The sauce and bread were good, but I much prefer pulled pork BBQ, so I wouldn't say I loved this place. It is, however, walking distance from UAB, so I will definitely be back.

                                                      5 Replies
                                                      1. re: teemo

                                                        Pulled vs. chopped aside . . . how was the sauce and smoke level? Was the meat moist? Do they include any bark?

                                                        1. re: sheilal

                                                          I found the meat to be flavorless and the sauce to be too sweet.

                                                          1. re: sheilal

                                                            I thought the sauce wasn't bad, but not great. Meat was okay, not exceptionally smoky or moist. There may have been some bark in there, but not very much at all.

                                                          2. re: teemo

                                                            That is my major issue with Full Moon - it is so chopped it falls out of the bun.

                                                            1. re: teemo

                                                              I want to like TJ's on Fourth; I really do. I bought the $7 for $15 Groupon some time ago intending to get two orders of their smoked wings. However, they are not cheap at like $7 for 3 (whole) wings. I stopped by on a Saturday and it was closed, contrary to their website. Finally, I stopped by last week after work to use up the groupon before it expired and to try some different things for dinner.

                                                              Well, they were mostly out of everything when I stopped by at 5 PM. Considering the items are smoked on premises and they close around 6:30 or 7, this was not a big deal (more my fault). The person before me got the last of the wings.

                                                              I asked him about his beef and if it was brisket and he said yes. I asked him if it was sliced and if not too much of the cap had been trimmed, could he cut me some not too lean slices. He said he cubes but he could slice. Ultimately, when I left, he had cubed it and it was not like any brisket I have ever had. It was not bad, just did not taste anywhere like good Texas brisket.

                                                              Unfortunately we had agreed on the last of it (3/4 of a lb) and a 1/2 slab for $20ish (I paid the difference from the groupon). With that said, I told him I like bark so he gave me some extra rib ends. The ribs were actually pretty good and un-sauced, as they should be. They did not have a giant smoke ring but they could have been in a warmer all day.

                                                              Since we had agreed on a pound of “brisket” without getting that much, he threw in some leftover smoked chicken breast (sliced). It was probably the best smoked chicken I have had in some time.

                                                              The sauce was too sweet for me but I prefer vinegar, a dash of some type of tomato binder (ketchup, stubbs, etc) and black and red pepper.

                                                              The guy (owner) who was there was super nice and I may be back to try the ribs and definitely the smoked chicken.

                                                              Beans were fine but nothing special. I agree no mac and cheese at a 'cue join in crazy.

                                                            2. Went to Sweet Tea restaurant this week. We had dinner off the line, which was pretty good. I had fried chicken (good), roasted potatoes (kind of salty, which I liked), sweet potatoes (I thought these were good, my native-AL friend thought they could be sweeter), corn bread (dry). I also tried their sweet tea (I thought it was good, I read they have some kind of crazy method where they add honey and brown sugar to it. My friend again thought it could be sweeter).
                                                              My friend and bf both had the turkey and dressing. They both thought it was very good, also said they liked the turnip greens. They did not like the buns.

                                                              We did see several people order off the menu (southern style and Greek dishes). We were all surprised how good it looked, so next time I think we will have to try the table service for dinner. Also, their breakfast menu has chicken and waffles, and several styles of french toast--so, I'm pretty sure our next trip will be for breakfast. They mention "maple syrup" on the menu...I'm really hoping it's actual maple syrup.

                                                              1. Mughal is a new Indian place on 280 next to Chuck's Fish. I've been for dinner and it's excellent. And the menu is large and has some great standards on it, for instance goat curry. I think they have a buffet lunch. And they are open on Sunday.

                                                                -----
                                                                Chuck's Fish
                                                                508 Greensboro Ave, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401

                                                                7 Replies
                                                                1. re: chrystan

                                                                  Have been to Mughal twice. On each occasion, the chicken in the dishes seemed to have been boiled or cooked ahead of time and then just tossed into the sauce right before serving. No flavor (or color) had cooked into the chicken at all. The first time it was Chicken Tikka Masala. The second was Chicken Sagwala (they may call it saag at Mughal, I can't remember). (An Indian colleague of mine noted the same thing on an independent visit). I was actually pretty disappointed by this place. I still like Silver Coin best, followed by Sitar, followed by Taj India. My last visit to Taj was just last week. They're still hanging in there....I thought Sitar might put them out of business.

                                                                  1. re: curej

                                                                    curej what do you recommend at Silver Coin? I've been there but it's been quite a while. I love spicy Indian food.

                                                                    1. re: Ms. Finiky

                                                                      Well, we are creatures of habit, and tend to get chicken tikka masala, chicken saag, lamb rogan josh, mutter paneer, chicken 65, chili pakoras (mirchi), chicken biryani, and of course onion kulcha and garlic nan. I think those are our favorites, but everything is good.

                                                                      1. re: Ms. Finiky

                                                                        The goat curry rocks. The puri appetizer is very fun. I think their naan is the best in town. They make a very good and rich korma sauce, so any of the dishes with that are good. They serve dosas there, those huge tubes of chickpea crepe and the version with the cooked spicy potatoes is very good. This appetizer will be enough for a whole table.
                                                                        It's not spicy, but I also like the chicken methi.
                                                                        I have not tried their vindaloo, but they tend to make their hot dishes Indian hot.

                                                                        1. re: Big Daddy

                                                                          Thanks for the beta on Silver Coin. I went to Taj recently for take-out and wondered if they had simply forgotten to spice the food. And I went to Sitar and had the buffet and it was OK but just not spicy at all. I don't want my head to explode from spice/heat, but come on...

                                                                          1. re: Ms. Finiky

                                                                            "beta"....are you in finance Ms. Finiky?

                                                                            1. re: Ms. Finiky

                                                                              Indian buffet in general is going to be lower quality, less spiced, and less spicy than direct order. Buffet is great for a quick convenient lunch, but never go to one thinking it'll be the best a place has to offer.
                                                                              I used to love Silver Coin, but they've gone downhill. Now Sitar is not only the most convenient, but my favorite choice around as well.

                                                                    2. We went to El Barrio today. We really loved it. I had the chorizo (and beef) meatloaf served on mashed potatoes with spinach. The better half had chicken tacos and tacos al carbon. All were good. We opened with tortilla chips and a good chunky guacamole. The tortilla chips were a little off....some were chewy/rubbery. All in all, though, a great experience, and we will return. This is a nice addition to the Ham. I am surprised that the purveyors of Trattoria Centrale didn't use the space to expand the tiny space at TC, though...Maybe that will come.

                                                                      I couldn't upload photos from my mobile (is that something new???). I will do it from my PC in a few....

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: curej

                                                                        Here are the plates we had at El Barrio. Sorry about the blur. I'm getting old and shaky.

                                                                         
                                                                         
                                                                      2. Anyone been to the food truck by where 7th Ave South deadends into maybe 31st? It's a big red truck parked out there the last few weeks? I think it's called like Mobile Meats Kitchen or something like that.