Bright Star Restaurant

Greek | Seafood | Steak
legendary
Worth driving from anywhere!
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The extreme pleasure of dining at the Bright Star Restaurant isn’t due only to its delicious food. It is a five-star Roadfood choice also for its gracious hospitality, its sense of tradition (Alabama’s oldest family-owned restaurant), the extreme comfort of its well-upholstered booths, and the quiet beauty of its well-aged wood and brass interior decor. No, it is not a dive or diner. Far from it. Bright Star is a polite town restaurant to which pilgrims come from Birmingham and beyond for traditional meat-and-three casual lunch and an impressive array of top-dollar steak and seafood dinners.

Like so many of the better restaurants in this area, the kitchen’s accent is Greek. A fine Greek salad is served with little cups of both vinaigrette and creamy garlic dressing (“Mix them together!” advises waitress Linda). Roast chicken comes garnished with Greek-seasoned celery and tomato. Many customers believe the garlicky Greek-seasoned tenderloin is the best steak anywhere. For a large number of clientele, the must-eat dish is snapper — a buttery, pan-seared fillet that arrives swimming in a simple sauce of olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. This fish is fresh, the presentation simple and perfect.

Glorious gumbo! Bright Star’s is nothing short of spectacular: smoky, complex, very spicy, crowded with soft nuggets of fish and vegetables. On a very short list of the best gumbos anywhere, including Louisiana, this one would be at or near the top.

For dessert, lemon icebox pie is a cool, sweet-tart classic in a moist Graham cracker crust — a must-eat. But then there’s the Bright Star specialty baklava cheesecake — a must eat, too. It is the traditional fine phyllo pastry, honey and nuts wrapped around a shaft of creamy cheesecake. Insanely luxurious, a sweet tooth’s dream.

Bright Star has been around since 1907 and seems to be doing boffo business. Its continued success warms my heart. The genial and truly helpful professionalism of the waitstaff and a roster of impeccably prepared square meals make it a rarity in today’s world. No, not simply a rarity; Bright Star is one-of-a-kind.

What to Eat
Bright Star Restaurant, Greek Style Snapper
Greek Style Snapper
Must-Try
Snapper, Greek-style, means the fish is skillet-cooked in butter until its surface is just barely crisp. It then gets sauced with very lemony olive oil. Bright Star cuts these beautiful fillets in the kitchen from fish brought in from the Gulf twice a week.
Bright Star Restaurant, Gumbo
Gumbo
Must-Try
A cup of gumbo is a thrilling way to start dinner. It is complex, lip-tingling spicy, loaded with fish and vegetables.
Bright Star Restaurant, Baklava Cheesecake
Baklava Cheesecake
Must-Try
O.M.G. A dish unique to the Bright Star, this is baklava with all its honey-nut richness, surrounding a shaft of creamy cheesecake.
Bright Star Restaurant, Greek Salad
Greek Salad
Must-Try
Two dressings come with Greek salad. In the background is traditional Greek vinaigrette speckled with bits of feta cheese. At the right is creamy garlic (VERY garlicky, like tzatziki sauce). Linda, my waitress, suggested I mix the two. Great idea!
Bright Star Restaurant, Lemon Icebox Pie
Lemon Icebox Pie
Must-Try
Is there a dessert more refreshing than cool lemon icebox pie on a Graham cracker crust?
Directions and Hours
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
6 stops | 54 min total driving
21 stops | 18 hr 4 min total driving
Information
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
Yes
Outdoor Seating
No
Website

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