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A Visit to ORE, a Restaurant by Taylor Hicks

by Jennifer Jacobs with Steve Jacobs

Aside from the charity concerts Taylor was performing, our main priority while visiting Birmingham last week was to visit ORE, the new restaurant by Taylor Hicks & partners. We arrived for an early dinner and to experience for ourselves all the good things we had heard about Taylor & company’s first restaurant venture.

Having been restaurateurs ourselves in the past, we were eager to see the presentation and ready to give our review as requested by TaylorHicksNews.

Despite arriving fairly early at 5:00, the main room was already well inhabited by diners. We were promptly seated and given a menu. A basket of hot jalapeno corn muffins was served while we waited on our order. Our server was attentive and friendly, the pacing of her visits to our table being just right. We felt neither rushed nor neglected during our meal.

The menu at Ore is relatively small, but still with a good selection: chicken, seafood, and beef main courses were well represented.  I opted to sample two appetizers I had heard were a must-try: the fried green tomatoes and coconut shrimp.  The coconut shrimp were plump & large, deep fried to perfection in a light tempura style batter. Drizzled over it was a tropical fruit compote that was light with just the right amount of sweetness, and sprinkled with toasted coconut. The fried green tomatoes were bursting with tart tomato flavor and had an excellent texture, again the batter was good, fried well without any greasiness at all. The crawfish etouffee sauce topping this appetizer was perfection; there was no trace of fishiness or saltiness, just good flavor. It was a great departure from the ranch type dip that usually accompanies the dish.

It is apparent that every ingredient is prepared fresh and the food quality is held to very high standard. Perhaps this is why the ribeye steak, which Steve ordered, was not available on this day. The substitute was filet medallions, which were tender and cooked to perfection.  These were served over fresh mashed potatoes that were right up there with the best I’ve tasted in any restaurant.  The only drawback to this entree: the filet medallion portion was smaller than the ribeye and not quite enough for a man-sized appetite.

We would have liked to see an additional yeast-based bread offering along with the jalapeno corn muffins, and a few more ingredients in the house salad, which consisted mainly of greens and tomatoes. Those minor criticisms aside, we agree overall, the cuisine is exceptional.

Even though tucked away in the suburbs, the decor and color scheme of Ore is definitely urban/industrial. The dark colors and reclaimed wood and other materials have a calming effect, and the dining room seemed quiet and relaxed. It was very easy to have a quiet conversation at our table, with none of the loud chatter that plagues some restaurants. I made it a point to visit the ladies room which has the famous “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL” painted across the stall doors. As it turns out, this is also a nod to Birmingham culture. Mysterious graffiti artists tagged Birmingham buildings and bridges with the slogan, to the curiosity and delight of commuters (and chagrin of local officials). I have to wonder if these same artists were commissioned to paint the stall doors. Perhaps that is something we will find out one day. In any case, the effect is charming.

The partners of ORE have developed a solid dining concept. If the decor was completed with an industrial style exterior to match the interior, it could easily become a hotspot in any urban or suburban setting, with the Birmingham theme carrying over well into any city to which it was taken.

In summary, we would highly recommend ORE as a part of your Birmingham experience. We will definitely be returning, hopefully for brunch the next time we visit the city.

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ORE Bar and Grill is located at 1115 Dunston Avenue, Birmingham, AL, serving lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday, and brunch on Sunday.  Live music offerings may include an impromptu appearance by co-owner and American Idol winner Taylor Hicks.  A jazz brunch this Father’s Day featured the Cleve Eaton Alabama All Stars.

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Photographs courtesy of ORE Bar and Grill: https://www.facebook.com/OREbham

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. I hope ORE keeps getting better and better and develops a faithful following within the Birmingham community; that is what will make for success / longevity .

    For a new restaurant, ORE seems to be doing great . Considering the state of the economy, this is quite an achievement.

    June 20, 2011
  2. Rhonda #

    Jazzy and I ate at ORE also that afternoon before Bama Rising-our appetizers were the deviled eggs-which we shared-then I had an order of the best cheese grits ever-then we split the full house burger. It was a fine meal.
    At the time it was just us, but yet the staff seemed ready to serve and answered our questions readily. They laughed when we also took pics of the food to show online-

    Great review!!!

    June 20, 2011
    • Rhonda, thanks for this! Nice to know that “ORE” met expectations during your visit as well.

      June 21, 2011
  3. NolaMar #

    Oh, man, those FGT look fabulous!! I had not heard they were topped with Crawfish Etoufee. (That’s specialty BTW.) Hope to sample a full meal there someday.

    June 20, 2011
  4. tishtx #

    ORE is definitely a place I will visit if I ever get back to Birmingham. Gosh, Cleve Eaton Alabama All Stars, I wouldn’t care what the food tasted like with that quality of musicians in the room. 🙂

    June 20, 2011
  5. juliegr #

    I liked the way you covered all aspects of the ORE experience! I can’t wait for an opportunity to check it out personally. Hope Taylor will have another December Work Play show so I can join the other members of the SP for a gathering!

    Thanks for a top notch review.

    June 21, 2011
  6. Great review! Thanks, Jennifer and Steve, for eating and telling. I enjoyed all the small details that you shared; just wish you could share some of those shrimp as well!

    The “You are beautiful” inscription/graffiti in Birmingham made the News last year:
    http://blog.al.com/archiblog/2010/12/archibald_read_the_writing_on.html. I guess I like graffiti more than I thought!

    June 21, 2011
  7. chill #

    Excellent review! I can’t wait to try it, and I hope it’s soon. But I’m curious, LOL, what was the men’s room decor? Anything spray-painted on the stall doors? I don’t want to have to sneak in there when the time comes.

    June 21, 2011
  8. A great place to CHILL!!Junebug

    June 22, 2011
  9. timewarpnut #

    Loved this review! It makes me want to go try out the food at Ore even more. (Hopefully soon.) Thanks!!

    August 4, 2012
  10. Debbie Troxell #

    Nice review, Jennifer & Steve.

    I had the pleasure of dining at Ore last December, 2011. I had a great time & experience there as well. A group of us went for dinner & we returned for Brunch on Sunday. The Fried Green Tomatoes were delicious. I didn’t have the seafood on top due to allergies. Ore was packed both times! Glad you & Steve enjoyed dinner.

    August 4, 2012

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  1. Taylor Hicks opens Ore restaurant in Mountain Brook as co-owner | Birmingham news, bargains, events - Magic City Post

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