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I'm a guy who likes to cook, eat, and drink, but not necessarily in that order. This blog is nothing fancy; just my random thoughts about anything that can be baked, roasted, or fried. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Restaurant Review: Paramount

It looks like the guys who brought us Trattoria Centrale and El Barrio have done it again. Recently, they opened Paramount on the corner of 20th St. North and 2nd Avenue North. For those of you who live in Birmingham, it's where the old Paramount yogurt shop used to be and before that—way back—the Paramount candy store.

© 2014 Chris Terrell
How to describe it? The bar is a cross between modern industrial with a bit of steam punk thrown in. Exposed brick walls, old tire rims, and car garage lights strung from the ceiling complete the bar scene. But what really makes this place fun and unique, besides the food, is the game room next door.
© 2014 Chris Terrell

There you will find a pool table, foosball table, skeeball, Galaga, basketball games, a pinball machine, and even a Street Fighter game, or something like it. In other words: 80s Throwback Heaven! Trust me, even in this day of complex games on your iPhone, you can’t beat a game of Missile Command or Ms. Pac Man.

Now let’s get back to the food. Yes, it’s bar food. But it’s so much more than that. For example, they have great hummus but with a twist. They call it Alabama Hummus, made from boiled peanuts! Because it has no “chick peas,” it’s safe for two bros to eat together after work. And it isn’t served with the usual dried, hard pita chips, but rather warm pita bread. 

© 2014 Chris Terrell
Another great appetizer are the Dixie Nachos, a creative twist on the ubiquitous bar snack. The Dixie Nachos are made with sweet potato chips with creamy slaw, bacon, mustard, scallions, and barbecue sauce. 

But to me, the most brilliant item on the appetizer menu is the double dipped onion rings with fresh thyme, beer batter, panko, and horsey sauce. Not only do they taste amazing, but the guys have come up with a method that avoids what I call the “vacuum slide.”  

Typically, when you bite into an onion ring, the whole onion slides out of the batter, leaving you with a big slice of onion hanging out of your mouth and your hand holding a hollow ring of batter like a Cicada shell. The guys at Paramount have solved this problem by cutting the onion rings into more manageable quarters. You bite into the ring and get onion and batter at the same time.

In my opinion, the best items on the menu are the hot dogs. These are not your 75 cent ball park specials, but knife and fork meals. My favorite hot dog, and perhaps my favorite thing on the menu, is the West Virginia, with house chili, slaw and yellow mustard. My next favorite item is a chicken sandwich called Going Back to Cali, with avocado, sweet peppers, basil-lime mayo on a wild yeast sourdough.

© 2014 Chris Terrell
And of course, don’t forget about the hamburgers. You can’t go wrong with The Standard, with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, horsey sauce, and cheddar. But my favorite is the You're My Boy, Blue. It's piled high with bacon, blue cheese, caramelized onions, and arugula. The sweetness of the caramelized onions, the sharpness of the blue cheese, the pepperiness of the arugula, and the smokiness of the bacon create a perfect flavor combination. 

And all this great food is easily washed down by an excellent selection of Alabama craft brews like Good People, Avondale Brewing Company, Straight to Ale, and Back Forty. 

And after you have had your belly-full of good food and beer, you can waddle over to the Galaga machine and burn off a few calories.

Paramount on Urbanspoon

More information can be found at: Paramount

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chris. Great blog. Sorry I hadn't stumbled upon it sooner.

    Karl Terrell