Exploring the Birmingham restaurant staple Phoenicia & the revived restaurant Forest from Samy Eid and his father Sameer Eid.
Samy Eid is a true professional in the restaurant business. He and his father, Sameer, are the backbone of Phoenicia, a true icon on the Birmingham scene. 2015 has been their best year to date, with customers coming in droves to taste their fresh cuisine.
An immediate draw for Phoenicia fans is its unique menu. Where else can you feast on cilantro shrimp, baby back ribs and a generous bone-in ribeye steak with sides of hummus and tabbouleh? Whether guests select traditional Middle Eastern dishes or try something out of the ordinary, they can expect the same quality and presentation every visit. “Consistency for us is really big,” Eid says.
He emphatically carries this principle over to his new Birmingham restaurant venture, Forest, formerly known as Forest Grill. With a contemporary European flair, Forest has been redone in classic black and white hues. A centralized kitchen is visible to guests, who can watch their food being chopped, seared and plated before their eyes.
Executive Chef Nick Janutol freely uses his imagination with farm-to-table ingredients, including sashimi-grade octopus and organic eggs. The menu isn’t large, but the dishes speak volumes. Stars of the starter menu include spiced beets with eggplant puree and cumin, and a hearty carrot soup. Other delights are the cauliflower ravioli and tender Bronzino dressed with quinoa, pine nuts and pomegranate. Eid emphasizes Forest’s impeccable wine selection and craft cocktails, plus dessert favorites like the Baked Alaska.
“We’re out on a limb at both restaurants,” Eid says. “Phoenicia has really worked, and it’s not much different than what we’re trying over here — we’re trying to do something that’s unique and different to this market.”
So far Forest has been a hit, and Eid is on a mission to keep diners coming back for more.
735 Forest Ave., Birmingham
588 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham