Friday, October 19, 2012

A Lunch to Remember-Birmingham, Ala.


I had the opportunity to go to Chez Fonfon the other day. It has been on my list of restaurants to try for a while so when asked to go as a work luncheon I gladly accepted.

What a delectable treat! From the time I walked through the door I was smitten with Chez Fonfon–a beautiful setting within a relaxed atmosphere filled with wonderful savory and sweet aromas floating in the air. It is one of those places where you know from the moment you sit down you are about to experience a memorable dining moment.

What is even more impressive is that owner and well-known chef Frank Stitt is present in his restaurant. Even after the fame he still wants to be there working and talking to customers. I was a little star struck when I met him. I will admit it. But you see I view chefs as my celebrities. I am sure others would love to meet actors, singers and athletes, but for me it is those in the culinary world that make me awestruck. (I am sure I would not turn down meeting other celebrities, but to meet Eric Ripert, Marcus Samuelson, Rick Bayless, Gordan Ramsey–to name a few– would be a really cool experience for this girl.)

Everything sounded great on the menu. There were many options that I would have been extremely pleased with having, but when the server came over and said the soup of the day was cauliflower soup it was settled. I had to have it. My husband and I were treated to a wonderful roasted cauliflower soup at a beautiful B&B (Carter’s Rest) on the Isle of Skye during our Scotland honeymoon. I have tried to recreate the soup, but haven't exactly figured it out. I suspected that if any establishment could do it, it would be one of Frank Stitt's restaurants. His version was divinely good. I was pleased with my choice to the point that if I were not in a restaurant I would have turned it up cupping the bowl until the last drop was spent. I tried my best to empty it though and was pretty successful getting to almost the last drop with my spoon. I also had the Chez Fonfon salad because a friend of mine said she always got that and pommes frites (French fries). Again, delicious. It had a myriad of greens, walnuts, beets and  blue cheese. No dressing needed for this simple fusion of fresh ingredients. The beets were tender, almost sweet in the salad. The combination was delightfully surprising.

There are several choices that would appeal to many taste buds. You can find anything from pheasant to crab cakes to a juicy hamburger. The food is not pretentious; it is just solidly great using fresh ingredients in classic ways. There is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes doing simple food is harder than preparing something complicated with numerous components on the plate.

I haven’t mentioned dessert yet, and I probably should have led with that. As we walked in we were taunted by a buffet that held the desserts of the day so my table decided we couldn't leave without trying one of those beautiful creations. Four forks and a pear tart were brought to our table. I didn't care how full I was, I was going to indulge in such a wonderful confection. It was delicate with just enough sweetness. I have thought more and more about that pear tart since leaving, wondering if I could attempt it. I didn't have coffee because I am a hot tea drinker but my fellow lunch mates bragged on its flavor. I think the lesson here is–don't leave Chez Fonfon without trying a dessert and maybe a cup of coffee.

Will I be going back? Absolutely. I am thinking a lunch or dinner date there with my husband in the immediate future may be in order. Pear tart, I will see you soon. XXOO

Visit Chez Fonfon for more info on how to get there and what they serve. Chef Stitt also has two other restaurants you may be interested in–Highlands Bar & Grill and Bottega. 
Chez Fonfon on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I love Chez Fonfon. A good friend of mine took me there for doing some work for her. What a treat! I not only had the coffee after dinner, but I had a (gulp) Irish coffee... AND dessert. Thanks for posting. I always enjoy.

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