The culinary landscape in Mountain Brook is changing. With the exit of eateries in the area comes a new school of exciting chefs and restaurateurs. Whether you want sushi, a spicy margarita with a lobster taco, old-school Southern cuisine or elevated pub fare – these new Mountain Brook restaurants are bringing their A-game.
We spoke to some of the chefs behind these new eateries, and they all share a common passion for their craft and customers. They are excited to be cooking up delicious eats, creating inviting atmospheres and showing you an all-around good time. Let’s take a peek at these five new Mountain Brook restaurants.
Best New Restaurants in Mountain Brook
Bobby Carl’s Table
2031 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook, AL 35223 • (205) 202-4760
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. & 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. & 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Closed Sunday & Monday
On an exposed brick wall peppered with family memories, art and heirlooms, there’s a framed recipe card of Chef Trey McLemore’s grandmother’s: her tuna fish casserole recipe typed with an old-fashioned typewriter on a yellowed index card. This is the heart of what Bobby Carl’s Table is about, the dishes that stir nostalgia, taking us back to our childhood or reminding us of our grandmas – but reimagined through a more modern pair of bifocals if you will.
“I like church lady social food like the lime-sherbet ginger ale punches and the little benedictine cucumber sandwiches. I love that stuff,” says chef and owner Trey McLemore, pointing out the tuna casserole recipe and its “one 10-cent package of potato chips” ingredient with a grin. “So, we are doing things like that but with everything made from scratch – a real cream of mushroom soup with sherry and mushrooms made with hearty, quality tuna grilled really hard with a nice char on it, a lot of fresh dill, my own potato chips made in the fryer – so it’s still tuna casserole, not ‘chef-y,’ just real ingredients versus canned stuff.”
The menu is constantly evolving based on seasonal ingredients and what the customer wants. “Everybody will tell you what they want, so you just listen,” says Trey. “We kind of tailor-made the restaurant for the neighborhood.” And what the food locals want just happens to be simple Southern classics. Salmon croquettes with dill-lemon mayo, meatloaf with brown gravy or fried chicken served with your favorite meat-and-three-style sides (choose from a whopping 12). There’s also creative salads, sandwiches, and appetizers like the black-eyed pea tamale or the devilled eggs served with hot sauce, pork dust and Cajun sparkle chicharron. And a crowd favorite is the buttermilk cornbread soup topped with fried leeks and cornbread croutons. “It’s like a riff on your granddad eating leftover cornbread dipped in buttermilk,” says Trey. “It’s just simple and warm.”
Watkins Branch Bourbon & Brasserie
2708 Culver Rd., Mountain Brook, AL 35223 • (205) 593-4403
Hours: Sunday & Monday, 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 3:30 p.m. to midnight; Friday & Saturday, 3:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Jon “JP” Holland, owner and chef of Fig Tree in Cahaba Heights, was looking for the perfect spot to open a second eatery where he could do something a little different. He found it on Culver Road in Watkins Branch Bourbon & Brasserie, a micro restaurant-and-bar space where he wouldn’t have to worry about getting loads of diners in seats. Instead, he could focus his energies in the kitchen, using it as a conduit for culinary creativity. “What attracted me to this spot is that we could make it funky,” says JP. “It’s a chef-driven bar with international influence. It’s meant to attract people who it vibes with.”
The constantly evolving menu is small, but it packs a big punch. There are pan-seared crab cakes with arugula and a charred shallot-and-caper aioli. The Japanese tuna tartare is out of this world: cubes of seared rare #1 tuna and housemade nori crackers atop wasabi aioli with wasabi and squid ink tobiko – jewel-like dots of flying fish roe – in green, orange and black. The Watkin Branch Farm Burger (Red Angus and Wagyu) and Elk Burger “keep it real,” and JP suggests enjoying either burger with a glass of bourbon. He also encourages diners to try the steak frites, a Snake River Farms Wagyu chuck eye topped with Béarnaise and served with truffle fries.
Spring will bring a Spanish influence to the menu with dishes like octopus and abalone, tailor-made for the adventurous epicure. “If you see something from outside this country on the menu, get it. We do lots of research to find some really great stuff,” says JP. “The food is eccentric but with a familiar home base. You can always expect something cool.”
Sol Y Luna
920 Lane Parke Ct., Mountain Brook, AL 35223 • (205) 407-4797
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
To the unbridled delight of original Sol Y Luna fans, the beloved Mexican restaurant is back! Owner and operator, Jorge Castro, opened the original restaurant with his late brother Guillermo in Lakeview in 1998. Jorge closed it in 2013 with plans to re-open once they found the perfect spot. Fast-forward to 2020, and this Mountain Brook restaurant is nestled in the heart of Lane Parke.
“Tapas are a concept that originated in Spain. They are small plates made to be shared with your friends, your loved ones,” says Jorge. “We took the tapas concept and gave it a Mexican twist … Mexican flavor.” The tomatillo lobster soft taco is the most popular dish, followed closely by sábana Mexicana – thin-sliced beef tenderloin medallions topped with melted Chihuahua cheese and sun-dried chipotle chile tomato chutney and served with refried beans and chips. Others love the red snapper al mojo de ajo, sautéed red snapper with jumbo shrimp in a reduction of chile de árbol, garlic, yellow onion and Chardonnay.
And you must enjoy your dish with a tequila libation. “Tequila is a uniquely Mexican spirit. Most people have had a bad experience with tequila, so we have made it our goal to share and educate our guests about delicious, well-made tequilas,” says Jorge. Sol Y Luna is gearing up to open for brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, just in time for the fabulous spring patio weather. “We take care of people,” adds Jorge. “Our hope is when you walk through the door in Sol Y Luna, you feel like part of the family. We really, really do.”
Carrigan’s Public House
2400 Montevallo Rd., Mountain Brook, AL 35223 • (205) 582-2221
Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 4 p.m. to midnight
Carrigan’s Public House Proprietor David Carrigan brings his popular casual pub concept to the heart of Mountain Brook Village with a family-friendly twist. Housed in the former Dram space, which also had a makeover, this eatery is always bustling. “The Mountain Brook Carrigan’s is much smaller than the original and therefore cozier inside than its downtown counterpart,” says David. “The location is very special, and this Carrigan’s has become more of a neighborhood gathering spot.”
The scratch-made pub fare skews toward the elegant with a beet salad that looks like a work of art – even the popular Carrigan’s Corn Dog gets the gourmet treatment. The visual beauty of these dishes is rivaled only by their flavor. Popular downtown favorites like house-cut fries, Double Burger and Kale Caesar! salad are joined by new favorites exclusive to this Mountain Brook restaurant like the roasted airline chicken, whole fried okra, beet salad and short rib sliders.
And, of course, there’s the classic cocktail menu and a diverse selection of whiskey, beer and wines, as well as some fun new happy hour concepts. “We are just starting up a new Monday special called F.W.B. that consists of a chef’s selection of flatbread pizza, a shot of whiskey and a beer for only $10 until 9 p.m. This is the Mountain Brook answer to our downtown location’s very popular PB&J special (pizza, beer and Jameson),” says David, whose favorite thing about this neighborhood hangout is, hands down, the people. “In all seriousness it’s a very cool thing to see the diversity of our customers hanging out and having a good time together.”
Abhi Eatery & Bar
2721 Cahaba Rd., Mountain Brook, AL 35223 • (205) 783-1123
Hours: Open daily, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Chef Abhishek “Abhi” Sainju has had a cult following since he followed his passion to open a restaurant, beginning with his passion for food as a boy growing up in Kathmandu, Nepal, to his incredibly popular Everest Sushi business in Birmingham. That set him on the path to opening a string of eateries. Now, as the executive chef of mo:mo: food stall at The Pizitz Food Hall and the eponymous Abhi Eatery & Bar at the Summit, Abhi launched a second location in the former AVO space, overlooking the heart of Mountain Brook Village.
“I was given this opportunity to do a new project in Mountain Brook village,” says Abhi. “Besides the sushi, I had planned for a totally new menu, but everyone wanted the same food. The menu is a fusion concert – it’s the best food, well, my favorites, from Southeast Asia.” Some of those tasty eats include the Nepalese lamb curry (“People go crazy when we run out,” says Abhi), momos, Nepalese dumplings, salmon salad and turkey burger. And a new addition exclusive to the Mountain Brook location, the khoi soi (pronounced “cow soy”) is gaining a loyal fanbase.
The locals have wholeheartedly embraced having Abhi and his exquisite sushi and Southeast Asian dishes in the neighborhood. And he is just as happy to be a part of the scene, saying, “The people in Mountain Brook have been so welcoming – I’m overwhelmed. I can feel the positive energy. It motivates me to do even better. This is my favorite thing about the Mountain Brook Village Abhi.”
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