Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Central South >
Nov 11, 2010 11:12 AM

Bistro V - Vestavia, AL

Stopped by this place in Vestavia for lunch today and had an opened faced pot roast sandwich with with a side of mashed potatoes, both topped with gravy then further topped with thinly fried onion rings. I thought everything was excellent with the potaoes being thick but not lumpy, the shredded roast was very tender and beefs, and the rings with gravy were redonkulously good. I can't wait to return for the po-boys on Gambino’s Bread shrimp and grits. etc. What are your thoughts?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Same location as City Hall Diner?

    2 Replies
    1. re: curej

      It's in the same little strip as snapper grabbers.

      1. re: Dax

        Uh.....Guess I'll Google it.

      1. re: mahalan

        It is the former City Hall Diner.

        City Hall Diner
        521 Montgomery Hwy Ste 113, Birmingham, AL 35216

        1. re: Big Daddy

          My husband and I wound up here for lunch yesterday. We had originally planned to be at New Orleans Food & Spirits in Vestavia City Center, but they are temporarily closed for renovations.

          Big Daddy is right, Bistro V is in the former location of City Hall Diner. My husband (big meat eater) chose the pot roast which I see is exactly what Dax had on his visit. He was pretty happy with it - those skinny onion rings were great, and I loved that his potatoes were the right amount of fluffy and lumpy with, of course, *real* potato pieces.

          I had the oyster po boy. The menu stated that it's on Gambino's bread. Now, I love Gambino's (you can't have a birthday in my family without a doberge from Gambino's, either picked up in person in Metairie or via FedEx to my front door) but my preference is Leidenheimer's bread because it has that great soul-satisfying crust crunch. Gambino's bread is more chewy overall.

          I asked the server how they got their bread and she said there is a weekly delivery. I guess this means they freeze it all and defrost enough for each day's service? In my experience, you really have to use po boy bread the day it's made, otherwise the next day you're dealing with a bready baseball bat.

          My po boy was nice enough, with gorgeous red tomatoes which I was thankful for in November, and an ample serving of fried oysters, but the remoulade was a little light for me, and much too thin. I chose sweet potato fries for my side, and those were fantastic after I gave them a good salt application.

          It seemed as though none of the food served - from my husband's dishes (pot roast, mashed potatoes) to my oysters and sweet potato fries - had been salted. At all. Weird. What a simple thing for the kitchen to have taken care of.

          I do have a question - the little onion rings - those were listed on the menu as being Vidalias. Vidalia season is...what...from mid-April through the middle of the summer, right? So unless you have a dark back room crammed with knotted pantyhose legs full of vidalias (if you're not familiar with that trick, let me know and I'll explain. I know it sounds weird but it works) how are you serving Vidalias in mid-November?

          I'm not calling anybody out necessarily, just trying to understand. Are they *really* serving Vidalias?

          City Hall Diner
          521 Montgomery Hwy Ste 113, Birmingham, AL 35216

          1. re: deepfriedkudzu

            Suppliers seems to have extended the storage range as I have seen them in the early fall. This site suggests until December.


            I did not think the pot roast was unsalted but that could have been because the salted onion rings negated the meat's lack of salting.

            1. re: Dax

              I had thought (pretty sure I read it somewhere long ago) that the problem wasn't only the difficulty of storage (see hose comment above) but also the fact that the sweetness of the onion fades and a Vidalia starts tasting like a normal onion after a period of time.

            2. re: deepfriedkudzu

              Vidalias are available into November. They're kept under gas to keep them fresh longer. I used to live in same the region of Georgia as Vidalia, which the locals call Middle Georgia.

        2. Had lunch there yesterday. From the look of the menu, it's a place where they care about the quality of the ingredients. Based upon that and my lunch, I plan on returning.

          Due to the comments regarding the open faced roast beef sandwich, I tried it. The sandwich was very good as were the fried onions on top. This is a HUGE compliment from me since I'm not usually the open face sandwich kind of guy.

          4 Replies
          1. re: mahalan

            I usually never go for open-faced sandwiches either but thought it worked. And I typically prefer thicker-cut onion rings with a thicker beer batter but the thinly battered rings worked great and did not get soggy with the gravy. Everything was good and the price was reasonable, but they could have cut the portion by a third to increase their return.

            1. re: Dax

              Haven't heard any more about this place....Still liking it? I think we're going to check it out.

              1. re: curej

                I'm still going there for lunch about once a week. I'm in a rut getting their salad with the poached egg and fried oysters. Love it!

                1. re: mahalan

                  Haven't been in a while but I need to get back to try it.