I’ve never had the opportunity to eat at Hot and Hot Fish Club, mainly because it’s the kind of place I would go for a celebration, anniversary, or major accomplishment. Hot and Hot requires reservations and Ovenbird doesn’t. They’re both fancy to look at, but Ovenbird is the more casual of the two. As Hastings told us, Ovenbird is geared more toward our generation. The small plates are meant to be shared and are a more reasonable price. All the food, which is fresh, local, and inspired by the Southern outdoors, is cooked over a live fire. I noticed that there seemed to be several different “areas” where you can be seated. The first room you walk into has the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and large doors open to the outside. Our event was in a more private area off to the side, and there’s an outdoor patio area on that side as well. Then there’s this area out front that only had a few tables, spaced apart from each other, and only lit with tiny candles. Since it’s now dark at 5:30, I remember looking at this area thinking it looked so romantic. All of this to say, there’s something for everyone at Ovenbird, for any occasion or any day of the week.
During this time, 20% of all in-store sales of items featured in the Orvis Chef Collection will directly benefit Black Warrior Riverkeeper cleanup efforts on the Black Warrior River.
We had several dishes placed in front of us throughout the evening, and while I cannot remember each ingredient, there was paella, beef shoulder, pork shoulder, roasted beets and carrots, fennel salad, onion and apple salad, spit roasted chicken…and, friends, this beef fat candle.
Hastings came around to each table to talk about the food and the inspiration behind it. He told us that this candle came about because of a memory from his childhood. He told us how his father would be at the head of the table, then him and his siblings, and then his mother at the other end of the table. He sat next to his father, and so whenever his father carved the meat for dinner, he would reach out and dip his bread in the juices and salt and flavors of the meat.