Becoming Essential

Kristen Hall and Victor King know what’s essential when it comes to a successful restaurant—it’s more than gracious, friendly service; interesting, delicious foods; a thoughtful wine list; and creative craft cocktails.

With their new eatery, The Essential, the two chefs have created a place that’s quickly becoming an everyday part of the lives around them. “It is something you can count on,” King says. “Something that is always there.”

You could say it’s becoming essential.

Read my entire interview with Hall and King here on Alabama NewsCenter.

Then go and visit The Essential for yourself. When you do, you’ll want to try the handmade pastas. They top bucatini with Benton’s ham, and spaghetti with Gulf crab is finished with garlic, lemon, and cream. A fresh take on fritto misto features local squash and peppers, salsa macha, cumin yogurt and “peanuts from next door.” A seasonal punch starts with apple leaf tea from the trees at Petals From the Past.

They have brioche doughnuts and sausage biscuits on the brunch menu. Cheese straws or duck rillettes (made with New Amsterdam gin and sumac foraged by the bar manager) are a great place to start. Classic carrot cake or plum tart with chai pastry cream, pistachios and pâte sucrée will end your meal on a sweet note.

The Essential

2018 Morris Avenue

Birmingham, AL 35203


Hours: Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Brunch and Dinner and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch

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