Hard, And Easy To LikeMonday, September 29, 2014
Suzanne and I had supper one night at Vittoria at Pepper Place in Birmingham:
We started with one of the 'bar snacks' -- which really could have been shared by us as our entrees rather than an app -- hand-cut fries with serrano ham, pimenton aioli, Parmesan, and fried egg (is the egg atop ___ so overdone now? Probably, but this was good.). Yummy. Welcome to the carb zone. You can't eat just one of those fries.
I had one of the specials that evening, which was described as "raviolo with duck" (not meaning that the dish was garnished with duck meat, but rather it was made with a duck egg).
Av and I have been here once before, but the experience is as though there's something missing. Know when you want to really like something but there's something keeping you from it? It's almost like...oh good grief, I could think of a dozen things here but they'd all sound like lost verses from 'Ironic' (which turns out to be Kierkegaardian). It's not especially clever or unique, and at this price point there needs to be some differentiating piece. There's an element here that's not met. In any case, it's worth a try to see if it hits all the right notes for you -- but I'd go at lunch rather than supper next time so the experiment isn't quite as costly.
What's incredibly likable is Carrigan's Public House, also in Birmingham. We went here for lunch and the atmosphere is really enjoyable. There's a bar made from a Land Rover shell, big RH-type leather couches for lounging (after we were done eating, we took our drinks and sat and talked for a while), the edge of the bar counter is made of railroad track, there's a freight elevator that's been made into a booth for eating -- there are many other tables spaced around plus a roof deck, and many more really great industrial touches. Not overwrought, which can be distracting. It's just clever enough to feel right without trying too hard.
Av remembered that their hamburger, a dish which he always orders in its simplest form so there's no way to hide behind an onion or kicky aioli, is on Garden and Gun's guide to best hamburgers. It was really, really good although he still gives the #1 spot to Chez FonFon's burger. The fries were crazy-good. What else was really terrific was my order, the Bibb lettuce cups: grilled chicken, avocado, bacon, tomato, cucumber, egg, and blue cheese. *Wonderful*