To conclude our weekend trip (yes, back in November) my friend and I went out for one final meal, which started out innocently enough. Two hours later we settled on a restaurant.
We had befriended a local couple, and per their recommendation, went to explore the downtown Five Points area. Stepping out of the car we encountered a handful of homeless men, but no trace of the lively crowd we were expecting on a Saturday night. Peeking into Surin West, we passed because they allegedly specialize in Thai food and sushi (doubtful). Retracing our steps we spotted Highlands Bar and Grill but we were under dressed and it looked overly busy.
Hopping back into the car we drove to Bottega, but found out both the restaurant and cafe were closed for a private party. Back in the saddle, we headed to Giuseppe’s Cafe & Espresso Bar because they’re the best kept secret in town (according to their website). Sadly we went in, got a table, glanced at the menus, opted out and moved on.
From there we headed back to Five Points, destination Highland Grill, but were sidetracked when discovering Chez Fonfon next door. It might have been easier to drive to Paris.
Having never been to France, I can only imagine that Chez Fonfon emulates the same cozy, intimate feeling as a bistro underneath the Eiffel tower. The lights were dim, the quarters close and wine bottles lined a wall.
While musing over our options we torn into a basket of bread and soaked in the glow. To begin, my friend and I split the Little gem bib salad with apples, tomme and tarragon-cider vinaigrette. It was a simply dressed salad, tangy from the dressing and sweet from the fruit.
Craving a healthy reprieve and saving room for dessert, I chose the salmon with lentils du Puy and niçoise olive butter for my entree. The generous portion of fish and lentils were perfectly cooked and complimented by the salty sharpness of the olives. My friend equally enjoyed the Coq au Vin which was tender and moist.
Reluctant to select just one, I settled on the Pear Almond tart for dessert but almost ordered the Chocolate Pot de Creme my friend had. Luckily, she’s the sharing type and let me scoop up a spoonful of the silky smooth rich chocolate mousse. Charmed by the flaky, buttery tart, I savored my dessert with a cappuccino leaving no crumb behind.
I imagine that the croque monsieur and steak frites are delightful, and wish I had room to taste the cheese plate. Chez Fonfon is as enchanting as Birmingham and a fairly inexpensive way to experience the allure of Paris. Just try to avoid the two hour tour to get there.
2007 Eleventh Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35205