Automatic Seafood / Birmingham, Alabama
Automatic Seafood has been on our radar for quite some time now. We’ve seen pictures of their food on fellow Birmingham foodie Instagram sites so we were pumped to go try them out for ourselves. We can’t always get to a new restaurant quickly… because kids…. and their activities that take 110% of our day and let’s not forget, our money insert eye roll here. So we waited - not so patiently on my part - to go check them out! Three canceled reservations later, WE MADE IT IN! Date nights are always amazing.
When I know we are going out to eat for date night, I’ll go ahead an peep at the menu to make a decision… or get an idea of a decision. I don’t want to sit and study the menu at the table because I’m just not patient enough. I don’t eat most of the day so I’ll be ready for dinner… am I the only one that does that?
I love how sleek the exterior of the building is. It’s modern and exciting - reflecting the menu perfectly. The interior looks just as sleek. It’s definitely a place to invite friends for a dinner night!
We started our night with drinks while we looked back over the menu so we could agree on what to get. We like to share and sample each plate. The drinks we ordered were Eagle Rare on the rocks (Bourbon - Buffalo Trace), Smitherman Thyme (strawberry, lime, byrrth, thyme, cava), and an Old Fashioned. Nick always orders an Old Fashioned whenever he sees it on the menu - I don’t think he’s had one that he didn’t like!
I’m going to be totally honest here. I wanted to order all of the starters because I had FOMO. I didn’t want to miss a dish because they all sounded amazing. I scanned the restaurant and tried to figure out what everyone was having. I’ll go ahead and apologize to the diners around me. Okay on to the Starters that we did order…
The Grilled Oysters were as good as they look here. Wait… they were BETTER than the picture. The oysters were grilled with herb lemon butter topped with parmesan and bread crumbs. Y’all…. I can’t even - the order had 5 deliciously grilled oysters which caused some discord at our table. I can’t remember who ended up with three… so I guess we’re good. If you find that you don’t like oysters for whatever reason, order these. You will not regret it. Give oysters another chance at Automatic Seafood - you’ll be glad you did.
Let’s talk yeast rolls. There really isn’t anything to say other than I could have stopped at the Yeast Roll order and left a really happy person. I had to stop myself from ordering more because I had more food coming. The yeast rolls were soft and extremely fluffy - it’s what I imagine we would be eating in heaven…. soft fluffy buttery delicious calorie free yeast rolls. The only thing different in these are the calories here on earth but it’s totally worth it. Every single calorie. And then to the side of the mind blowingly delicious yeast roll is an equally decant Eastaboga Honey Butter. Are you supposed to use your knife to place the butter on the roll? Because we didn’t. We used the dipping method which caused us to ask for more butter. Not mad at that at all.
Next up - the Octopus a la Plancha with yogurt, harissa, celery, pickled peppers and herb salad. I’ve never had octopus. That’s weird for me because we’ve pretty much tried everything. I figured that Automatic would be the perfect place to try octopus. I was SO right! The octopus had wonderful chew - it wasn’t rubbery at all. It had a pleasantly mild taste and the sauce it was paired with was exceptional. The harris and pickled peppers gave the dish some heat and that was counterbalanced with the cooling yogurt and fresh herbs. Mmmmmmm…. There were some fried bits on top that provided the crunch. I’m always amazed at how creative and thoughtful Chefs are - how they consider texture and balance.
The final Starter that we had to try was the Crispy Fish Collar with calabrian chili butter and lime. Again - if there’s a fish collar on the menu, we order it. Fish collars are fire. Deliciously meaty pieces that are so tender and flavorful. This collar was the best I’ve had. The outer crust was incredibly crispy - it was like eating the best fried chicken crust ever - we didn’t leave ANY crust. Then right under the crust, was the most moist and deliciously tender fish. My mouth is watering as I’m typing this. Seriously. As we picked the fish collar apart, we used the pieces to rub into the surrounding chili butter. The crunchy, soft, spicy bite was perfection.
I need to chill out so I can post the rest of the dinner…. because there’s more.
I ordered the Duck Fat Poached Gulf Swordfish with asparagus, mushrooms and pancetta. I don’t typically order swordfish because it was usually too dry but I knew this one would be different. The duck fat added more moisture (fat) and flavor. When the waiter brought this to the table, I could actually smell it before it hit the table. The swordfish was incredibly tender, the asparagus had the best crunch with a pop of acid, the mushrooms were earthy and soaked in the surrounding sauce - I WAS IN HEAVEN. I love food with a good hit of acid. I only shared one bite with Nick - I was so stingey and I’m not sorry about it.
Nick had the Roasted Red Snapper with zucchini, smoked tomato broth, and chorizo. I have to ask him to describe it because as I said, I concentrated on my dinner. The broth was super smokey and flavorful. The snapper was cooked perfectly and the chorizo was crispy, adding great texture to the tender fish. Nick said it was absolutely delicious.
When we were done eating the fish, I thought it would be awesome to have some grilled crusty bread to soak up the sauce left behind on the plate. I probably wouldn’t have room for it but I would sacrifice my comfort to try it. HAHA!
We did not get dessert because we didn’t have any more room and we didn’t wear stretchy pants to dinner. I told Nick that when we bring friends next time, we’ll order dessert first. Dessert never gets a fair shake with us - we would rather have the food than the dessert.
If you’ve had dessert at Automatic Seafood, let us know what you thought!
Until next time -
Nick & Jenny