There were several reasons I hadn’t yet tried MetroPrime: I tend to go to the same places over and over (even though I love knowing what the next big thing will be). Parking in Five Points South isn’t always the easiest (although the restaurants nearly all offer valet, so that’s a poor excuse). But the big one was money. I love a good steak, but I’m a journalist. My fine-dining funds are limited.
Even so, MetroPrime Steak House had been on my to-try list since before it opened. I’ve always liked the location, which has in the past housed The Mill, Five Points Grill and several other restaurants. Five Points is an intersection of so many parts of Birmingham culture: food, nightlife, religion and people from many walks of life. It encapsulates many of the things I love about the city.
And so, when I saw that MetroPrime was an option for Birmingham Restaurant Week, I knew it was time I stop making excuses and check it out.
Let me point out right away that my biggest excuse was quickly proven invalid. Yes, MetroPrime is a steak house, so of course there are some pricy dishes on the menu. But did you know they also offer a pub menu? I didn’t, and those dishes are within my price range without a special occasion to justify it. A steak burger for $13? Apalachicola oysters for $11? Yep, I can swing that. (It’s also worth mentioning that I found a parking spot a block away, no valet necessary. Sometimes I realize that my excuses are ridiculous.)
I’ll return for the pub menu, but last week BRW was my mission. I started with the creamy corn bisque, a tasty and comforting bowl of soup that mixed corn with fennel and offered just a hint of bacon to up the savory flavor.
That was followed by the equally comforting, but even tastier, beef tournedos. I wasn’t familiar with this dish, but this is what I learned: small bites of beef piled onto a bed of mashed potatoes is always a good idea. (In fact, when I sat down to write this entry, I remembered that I abandoned my leftovers in the work fridge for more than a week. I’m ashamed of myself.)
The friend with whom I was dining ordered a variety of vegetables, creating her own veggie plate. I was allowed to sneak a few bites of her truffle mashed potatoes (I steadfastly believe everything is better with truffle oil), lavender carrots (I don’t ordinarily like carrots, but these were delicious) and kale (always a winner!). Sure, hers was an unusual spread for a steak house, but it was every bit as delicious as my more-typical red meat.
We finished by splitting my slice of Carnegie Deli New York Cheesecake. It’s been 15 years since I visited that iconic New York eatery, but I remember three important things: 1. The waiter was a jerk. (This is apparently part of the charm? For a girl who was venturing from the South for the first time, it was a shock. It also doesn’t fit with my experience of New Yorkers, who are incredibly helpful unless you’re blocking the sidewalk with a map unfolded before you. Which I would never do.) 2. The sandwiches were so tall that we weren’t sure how to actually eat them. 3. The cheesecake. Oh my word, the cheesecake. It was perhaps the richest, creamiest dessert I’d ever tasted. And though it’s hard to compare the slice I had at MetroPrime to a 15-year-old memory, it certainly lived up to my expectations.
I like to think I’m usually right (I’m an oldest child, after all), but there are occasions on which it’s nice to be proven wrong. And if those occasions involve leaving a restaurant with a full belly, all the better. Whether for a steak, a bite from the pub menu or to check out their brunch, I have no excuse not to return to MetroPrime.