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Joel Brumfield is the man behind the successful franchise Newk’s Café in both Tuscaloosa and Huntsville. He and his partners, Warner Johnson and Paul Giggi, set out to make their own mark in the restaurant industry, resulting in Brumfield’s Restaurant. Classified as southern comfort food, they serve up burgers, sandwiches, steaks, and seafood. As unoriginal as it may sound, Brumfield brings a modern twist to a traditional southern menu. My husband and I were pleasantly surprised with our dining experience.
The first door led us into the bar area. A pianist played lively jazz tunes while customers sipped on tall glasses of wine and cocktails. Dim lighting filled the room creating an inviting atmosphere. I felt the urge to sit down, order a drink and engage in small talk. Though, my growling stomach argued otherwise. The main dining area is divided from the bar and offers a more vibrant, family-friendly atmosphere. A young hostess greeted us and escorted us to a booth. Menus were laid flat in front of us with the drink menu strategically placed on top. The drink selection screamed summertime offering a variety of fruity and frozen beverages.
We ordered a couple bushwackers to sip on while we perused the main menu. A sophisticated—terrific—cocktail landed on the table, not the expected frozen beverage typically enjoyed out of a red “solo” cup. Chocolate syrup draped the inside of a petite glass and a hint of cocoa topped it off. It tasted semisweet with a nice balance of Kahlua liqueur and rum. It was hard to put down.
The main menu was refreshing. Some surprises included house-made hummus, a black bean burger, and a Southern Philly made with smoked sliced beef brisket and peppers. However, my ears perked when I heard that the catch of the day was Mahi Mahi. My husband decided on the Ribeye steak cooked medium rare. The pleasant waitress took our order using an iPad and announced it would be out shortly.
Happily sipping on my drink and browsing over the modern décor, my gaze landed on a Pac Man machine. In a small room towards the back of the restaurant is an arcade. The manager explained that it’s available for kids to play a little Xbox or classic arcade games while they wait to be served. although, they wouldn’t have much time to play. Our food was served within 15 minutes of ordering.
The Alabama fight song carried from the bar area as our meals were served. My plate presentation mimicked that of a gourmet meal, without the gourmet price. The serving of Mahi Mahi was large. The layer of melted butter gave it an appetizing glow. My fork slid right through the tender cut. A mixture of spices and herbs overwhelmed my taste buds leaving a mild Cajun flavor in my mouth. It was blackened perfectly. Sitting patiently beside the fish was a mountain of mashed potatoes decorated with cheese, savory bacon, and green onion. They were rich and creamy with an occasional crunch from the onion. I was so completely indulged with my meal that I hadn’t noticed my steamed vegetables were forgotten. At the end of our meal my husband and I were overly satisfied. The dinner ticket totaled just over $40, which is a steal for a plate of steak, a plate of Mahi Mahi, and 2 cocktails.
North River has gained a fabulous restaurant that offers an evening at the bar with friends or a casual dinner for the whole family. Go and enjoy!
Brumfield’s Restaurant is located north of the river at 4851 Rice Mine Rd. Hours of operation are Tuesday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday – Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Sunday: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Check them out on Facebook for updates on specials, happy hour, and live music.
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Cindy Huggins, RDN, LD is a registered dietitian and local “foodie.” Follow her on twitter @DietitianCindy

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