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Highlands Bar & Grill Restaurant Review: To impress out-of-town guests, locals take them to Highlands Bar & Grill, whose cream-colored walls are brightened with framed vintage French posters. Leather banquettes, arched porticos, softly lit sconces and elegant wood panels add to the aesthetics. An Alabama native, chef-owner Frank Stitt has inspired other Southern chefs for more than 30 years. He celebrated local foods long before the term locavore was coined. Humble ingredients such as stone-ground grits and country ham are transformed into noble fare. Creamy grits and the beef carpaccio with arugula and horseradish cream are perennials on the starters list, but consider fried snapper throats nestled on watercress with rémoulade sauce. Entrées might include wild striped bass with crawfish risotto, sugar snap peas, tarragon and crème fraîche or duck breast served alongside an Anson Mills pencil cob grits cake with collard greens and Cullman County tomato jam. You’ll find fresh-shucked oysters and crab claws at the Alabama marble bar, along with a full menu. Among the desserts from longtime pastry chef Dolester Miles is a banana cream pie with Valrhona chocolate, vanilla bean pastry cream and salted caramel, but for something lighter, try the apricot-passion fruit sorbet. Dessert wine pairings are suggested, as they are for the artisanal cheese plate. Stitt worked in vineyards in Provence and Burgundy; his wide-ranging wine list is first-rate and well-selected for the food. A selection of bubbly includes some grower Champagnes, or opt for local and regional craft brews or a martini or Sazerac.