Blueprint on 3rd, affectionately called B3 by locals, has made quite a mark on the Pepper Place district of Downtown Birmingham over the past months. What used to be the Birmingham Blueprint Company headquarters is now a trendy restaurant, owned by Birmingham’s Dean Robb, a veteran of the local restaurant scene. Prior to opening Blueprint on 3rd, Robb worked with Frank Stitt at Bottega Restaurant and Bottega Café for 17 years, opened DoDiYos Greek Restaurant in Homewood, and worked with Taziki’s as Vice President of Operations, growing the chain from 11 to 72 locations.
Robb’s latest endeavor combines the cuisines of the South with those of other regions in an industrial setting with an open-air feel. When we asked Robb about his favorite foodie city (outside of Birmingham) he told us Chicago: “Lots of chef buddies there, great walking town with incredible diversity in food and culture.”
The cocktail menu has some unique offerings, all hand-crafted. Our favorites:
A Sicilian Y’all
Bourbon, blood orange, aperol, vanilla, Prosecco, flamed orange peel: This drink was amazing and slightly reminiscent of a Southern sweet tea: boozy, juicy, with a bitter effervescence.
Old Forrester Bourbon, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth, Berg & Hauk Orange Bitters, 18.21 Earl Grey Bitters: Light spice and herbaceous notes, bright, boozy. Digestive cocktail. The Earl Grey bitters added a lovely finish to this cocktail.
To start our meal, we tried two appetizers: the Instagram-worthy Cast Iron Skillet Pimento Cheese and the Blackened Pork Belly.
The Pimento Cheese was served in a hot skillet with pumpernickel toast points alongside; this melty dip was a lovely spin on a Southern favorite, with velvety cheese and just the right amount of spice.
The Blackened Pork Belly was also a hit; a thick slice of melt-in-your-mouth pork belly served with plum jam, green apple slaw and spicy cashews. Other appetizers that caught our eye were the Voodoo Shrimp and the Alabama Skillet Bread, served with hot honey butter.
On to the main event.
We had the “Surf & Swamp,” a mixed grill with alligator, shrimp, catfish & crawfish red rice. This dish was simply delightful; a combination of fried fish, blackened shrimp, crawfish and alligator set on top of red rice with a brown butter sauce.
We also tried the Duck & Dumplings with local mushrooms, sweet onion petals & winter vegetables. We were delighted to find that the plump, pillowy textured “dumplings” were gnocchi; a favorite. This dish was covered in a delectably rich brown sauce; a filling and complete meal, perfect for a chilly evening.
On our next visit, we will definitely try the Blueprint Burger, as there were quite a few tables nearby that ordered it and seemed to enjoy it immensely.
Desserts and Late-night mistakes
To finish our meal, we tried two desserts:
Bourbon Chocolate Cake with Fresh Berries & Crème Anglaise paired with the Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port. The cake is rich, dense and full of chocolate with boozy undertones. The port was a lovely complement.
Crème Brûlée: This exquisitely rich and elegant dessert was perfectly torched, warm in the middle and cold on the bottom; a French classic.
Blueprint on 3rd is quickly making a name for itself in Birmingham as an upper-scale dining experience in a relaxed atmosphere. The well-balanced menu is very fairly priced, with nothing over $29 and plenty of options for less.
To learn more about Blueprint on 3rd, visit: https://www.blueprinton3rd.com
Address: 3000 3rd Avenue S., Birmingham, AL 35233
Hours: Monday – Saturday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. (Bar opens at 4:30)