Cajun food has always played an important role in Michael and Melissa Lee’s life, from their childhood upbringing in Louisiana to their 15 years spent working at a southern seafood restaurant. The brother and sister teamed up to open Mikey’s Grill, pulling from their combined talents and years of experience to craft a menu filled with contemporary takes on classic Cajun dishes that have been lauded by reporters from Birmingham Weekly. Chef Michael “Mikey” Lee commands the kitchen, slicing steaks and grating cheese himself while ensuring only the finest seafood is used in his innovative pastas and specialties, turning away catches that aren’t fresh enough. Michael’s mother Donna can also be spotted in the kitchen, whipping up the restaurant’s freshly baked desserts from scratch and pinching any exposed cheeks in her visual range. Out in the dining hall, Melissa takes the lead, cheerfully greeting guests and captaining a team of friendly servers, who place plates of gourmet dishes, baskets of rolls, and glasses of colorful cocktails on red-clothed tables.
Nestled in Homewood, Meat and Three Cafeteria keeps American culinary traditions alive with home-cooked comfort food for customers either dining in or just passing through. Just as a dining-room table hosts different portions for all tastes, the menu features an array of country-style meats and vegetarian-friendly sides from which patrons can customize their own platters. Dishes such as beef tips, chicken and dumplings, and fried catfish join steaming servings of sautéed squash, fried okra, or yams, and desserts such as fresh pecan pie keep sweet teeth from storming out of their gums in envy.
Chuck’s Fish shells out fresh seafood from the Gulf Coast and hand-cut steaks from local markets. Chuck's procures all its succulent seafood from a wholesale market in Destin, Florida, using hook and line catching methods rather than luring fish to patrons' plates with the promise of a Hawaiian timeshare. The Tuscaloosa location’s extensive dinner menu showcases entrees such as surf 'n’ turf with an 8-ounce filet mignon and stuffed shrimp or jumbo lump crab cakes ($32), hickory-oven pizzas ($10–15), and sushi.
George Sarris likes to know where his food comes from. In the case of his olive oil brand, named after his hometown of Tsitalia, he personally knows the Greek families who grow the olives. As for his seafood, much of it is "caught" inside his restaurant?lobsters and even rainbow trout are all kept live in Fish Market's advanced tank system. Anything that he can't pluck from the water himself gets fetched from the coast by the restaurant's own trucks, dispatched twice weekly for maximum freshness. There's shrimp from the gulf and oysters from Louisiana, among others.
All of these ingredients come together on a menu of Mediterranean and Southern specialties. It's an unusual but tasty merger: po' boys share tables with Sicilian mussels, and crawfish etouffee sits beside Athenian-style grouper. Some dishes, like the fried snapper throats, are Fish Market signatures that are hard to find elsewhere in or around Birmingham. Others still are limited to the restaurant's Sunday menu, such as pork chops drizzled in a citrus marinade.
Niki's West Steak and Seafood Restaurant has been in business since 1957 serving the folks in Birmingham, Alabama. The family owned restaurant offers up a generous cafeteria style steam table filled with amazing entrees, side dishes and desserts. Each day Monday thru Saturday, the choices change but their website does list the daily menu in case there’s a favorite you’d like to try. Niki’s specializes in serving fresh fruits, vegetables and meats and they have an extensive a la carte menu for those who don’t care for the cafeteria line. The prices are very reasonable and the atmosphere is casual, friendly and fun. Both the steam table and a la carte menu feature fresh seafood and home-cooked dishes such as chicken fried steak and Cajun catfish. You will even find several traditional Greek items on the menu. They’re open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily and do serve breakfast.
At Capt’n Morgan’s Fish & Chop House, chefs pillage tackle boxes teeming with fresh ingredients to forge a menu that pairs succulent steaks with Atlantic-style seafood. Red snapper fillets ($15.99) surf onto plates in one of six different preparations such as grilled, blackened, fried, or director's cut, sinking deep-sea cravings alongside a flotilla of fresh snow-crab legs ($18.99). Guests take up steak knives to admire the light pink center of a chopped sirloin ($11.99) or opt for a surf n’ turf dish by nuzzling a flame-grilled new york strip ($21.99) up to a fresh fillet of tilapia (an additional $4.99) or a succulent smattering of scallops (an additional $6.99). Midday diners get to peruse a number of lunch specials, such as a cut of Canadian flounder ($5.99) or an ocean-fresh octet of fried oysters ($8.99). Pintsize foodies can juggle fried nuggets of popcorn shrimp ($4.99), impressing parents and jaded circus scouts alike, before rewarding patient palates with rich slices of house-made key lime pie ($5.49).