We were gutted when one of our favorite chefs left one of our favorite restaurants—and then shouted hallelujah when he opened his own restaurant in one of our favorite spaces. He’s toned down the formality of the decor and service in its previous iteration—perhaps too much, actually (for max ambience, request a table by the fireplace). Chef brings together top local ingredients, his Alabama roots, and a forthright way with flavor to create stylish plates of hearty fine food. Starters should include the crispy cauliflower florets and crispier fried quail—straight outta the South with hot sauce and honey. A whole roast fish, deboned at the table, was plump, moist, and well matched to a tangy beet vinaigrette. Rich linguini with Louisiana blue crab is spiked with serrano pepper, soaked in decadent crab-infused butter, and dotted with roe. House-made cola, tonic, and ginger ale make for stellar highballs or teetotaler sips; in factfact, the wine and cocktail programs both shine—if you like a good sherry you’ll be extra pleased. The chocolate chess pie and silky, refreshing citrus posset bookend nicely. Pro tip: Breakfast is surprisingly good.