11, 7:00 P.M.
Members $85, guests $110
like it hot and hot? Steamy, that is, with a little bit of spice.
Sizzling, zesty, and fresh. Back in the days when Chris Hastings's
great-great-grandfather was fishing the waters off Carolina's Low
Country with his cronies, they enjoyed their catch "hot and
hot" (fresh from the flame and served with spicy condiments,
as the rules of their eating club dictated). Hastings wasn't a glimmer,
but there in his ancestor's eye, Chris's culinary inspiration was
born. "These men would get together because they loved to fish
and eat and spin tales," said Hastings. "That's the environment
I wanted to have. A place for food, wine, and friends."
At the high-energy
Hot and Hot Fish Club, Hastings and his wife, Idie Hastings, have
created exactly that sort of convivial spot. The menu reflects what's
in season, Hastings's Low Country boyhood, and his formal training.
That relaxed culinary mixture has earned Hot and Hot any number
of enthusiastic reviews. "Bright-flavored seafood still stars,"
Gourmet foodsters Jane and Michael Stern wrote. And Susan Swagler
gave the place four stars in The Birmingham News, calling
Hot and Hot her "personal favorite."
As a teen, Hastings
decided that a life in the kitchen was the life for him. He enrolled
at Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island, and after graduation got
a job at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta. Next, he moved to Birmingham,
where he worked under Frank Stitt at the Highlands Bar & Grill
(he met Idie there) and helped open Bottega. In 1989, Chris and
Idie moved to San Francisco. There, Chris spent several years with
Bradley Ogden at the Lark Creek Inn, and Idie attended cooking school
and worked, making sweets at Pâtisserie Française and
Wolfgang Puck's Postrio. In 1995 the couple moved back to Birmingham
and opened the inviting Hot and Hot Fish Club. Three years later,
they won a Robert Mondavi Culinary Award for Excellence, and in
2000 and 2001, Chris was voted Best Chef in Birmingham by Birmingham