The folks at the James Beard Foundation have singled out Birmingham chef/owner Frank Stitt once again, naming Highlands Bar and Grill one of five finalists for the country's most outstanding restaurant of 2009.
Last year, Stitt was a finalist for the nation's outstanding chef, an honor that went to Grant Achatz of Chicago's Alinea restaurant. Also, in 2001, the Beard Foundation recognized Stitt as the most outstanding chef in the Southeast region.
The Beard winners will be announced May 4 in New York City at a black-tie dinner at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
"This is so much about the team that is Highlands," Stitt told the Birmingham News. "So many of our key staff have been with us for years and years."
Highlands has some tough competition. Among the finalists are New York City's Babbo and Jean Georges. We've been to Jean Georges, and it was probably one of the top five dining experience of our lives. Stitt himself told the Birmingham News that these are two restaurants he admires. The other finalists are Boulevard in San Francisco, and Fore Street in Portland, Maine.
If you've never been to Highlands, this is the perfect reason to make a reservation. This is one of our favorite restaurants. The food, using the freshest and highest quality seasonal ingredients (local and regional whenever possible) blends Southern traditions with French cooking techniques, and is always sublime. The wine list is excellent, and the service is consistently the best in town. If you feel a bit intimidated, make your reservation on the bar side, which is more casual. Call 939-1400.
Read more about the James Beard Foundation 2009 award nominees here.
Read the Birmingham News article here.