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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Dining Out Southeast: Bistro 218, Birmingham, Alabama

One of our favorite places to dine in Birmingham is Bistro 218. The restaurant is located within an easy walking distance of the historic Lyric Theatre and the Alabama Theater. The exposed brick walls and intimate setting make for a wonderful dining experience. 

We started our meal with a few cocktails. I appreciate the attention to details such as the LARGE single cube of ice in these drinks. The bourbon selection covered all the bases.

Woodford Reserve $13

Sazerac $12 Bulleit Rye Whiskey, Peychaud's Bitters, Demerara Simple Syrup, Absinthe

These two drinks were excellent.  They also have an extensive wine selection.

French Martini $9 Vodka, Pineapple Juice, Chambord, Twist

French 76 $10
Sparkling Wine, Gin, St. Germain, Lemon

Then we moved on to appetizers and ordered a selection so we could all share.

House Cured Pork Belly $12
Barbwire Farms Duck Egg, McEwen's Grits, Gastrique
If you've ever been intrigued by pork belly on the menu, wait and order it at Bistro 218. The grits were cooked perfectly, the pork belly was tender and flavorful and the over easy duck egg was perfection.

Maryland Style Crab Cakes with white wine butter sauce $15
I've eaten crab cakes in Maryland. I've never had any that were better than these little bites of heaven. They were very delicate and lightly seasoned. The white wine butter sauce could be a beverage for me. Just kidding.  I think.

Half Dozen Cedar Key, Florida Oysters served with mignonette and cocktail sauce $18
Freshly shucked, served on a bed of ice, with a wonderful briny flavor. You almost didn't need the accompanying condiments. But I'm glad they were served. I favored the mignonette over the cocktail.

Now on to the entrees!

Pan Seared Gulf Snapper, fettuccine alfredo, basil oil, oven roast tomato $32
Our server recommended this dish for Sweet Harold. The snapper was perfectly cooked. The alfredo was rich and cheesy. I snuck a bite and loved the basil oil. Everything worked in perfect balance on this place with textures and flavors. A gorgeous plate, isn't it? 

Char Grilled Colorado Lamb Chop, spring peas, baby carrots, fingerling potato, button mushrooms $32
Once again, a perfectly cooked, well-seasoned meal. This diner noted that even though he doesn't care for mushrooms, this meal won him over. 

Butter Basted Sea Scallops, oven roast tomato, wilted baby spinach, baby red potato $29
Another diner and I both ordered the butter basted sea scallops. I mean, think about it.  Butter Basted Scallops. There is an art form in learning how to sear scallops to obtain that gorgeous color and taking them off the heat at the exact moment before they become tough. The chef knows this art form. Another gorgeous meal that tasted even better than it looked.

And believe it or not.....we all ordered dessert! Again, choose different options and share with the group! Or not.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart with raspberry coulis $8
If Sweet Harold sees dark chocolate on the menu, he will order that option in a heartbeat. He gave two thumbs up to this selection.

Trio of Mousse: Godiva Chocolate, Vanilla, Orange, served with Madeleine $8
I was intrigued by the Trio of Mousse selection especially when I noted the mousse was served with madeleines.  The trio offered a nice counterbalance to each other and the madeleines were delicate and flavorful.

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée $8
We all listened carefully and the CRACK of the spoon breaking through the hard sugar shell was loud and clear. The custard underneath was creamy and smooth.

Mignardise (small bites) Pot de Crème, Chocolate Sable, Lemon Truffle, Macaroons, Pistachio $8
And when you honestly can't decide which dessert to order, Bistro 218 helpfully provides a sampler option. Each bite on this plate was better than the last. The addition of the pistachios was a nice surprise.

If you're looking for a new place to try in downtown Birmingham, I hope you'll give Bistro 218 a try. The entire evening was perfect from the ambiance, service, and most definitely the food.  

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