Gulf Coast Recs. for Upcoming Trip
- Bill Hunt Jul 11, 2011 07:45 PM
Greetings from "sunny" Arizona,
We are looking to put together a trip to the Gulf Coast, later in the year. Though I grew up in Gulfport, most of what I once knew is now gone.
I am looking for some "must-do" recs. in Gulfport, Biloxi and Long Beach. While we are both into "fine-dining," I am not looking for that specifically, though any such recs. will be greatly appreciated. Way back, "fine-dining" meant a trip to New Orleans and to Galatoire's or Antoine's.
What I'd love to hear about would be restaurants, that do local fare very well. While I grew up on fried seafood, that is not a requisite, though the greater the local influence, the better. Neither of us is into "steakhouses," though a great cut of beef, prepared well is always an option. Still, we'd much rather support a local, chef-driven restaurant, than some corporate restaurant, even if the absentee, celebrity chef has 3 Michelin stars back in Paris. We are both also heavy into wines, so a decent wine list is a big plus. I know that the Coast was never known for wine lists, but am hoping that some restaurants understand how to select wines for their list, that match the fare from the kitchen, rather than just rely on the distributor to fill up the cellar with "the usual suspects."
With but one exception (wife, who is from NOLA, but cannot do bi-valves, so no oysters, clams, mussels or scallops for her), we eat almost anything, so long as it's good. We have no issues with fried food, or even double doses of foie gras. While we love NOLA fare, whether Creole, NOLA, Cajun-influenced, or similar, we do not have to have that, as we will have been in NOLA a month before. Still, if a great restaurant has a NOLA bent, there is no issue.
One dish, that I would love to find, would be fried Gulf flounder. Going back to my youth, a very local restaurant, Benny's on Pass Road, in Handsboro (or maybe it was officially in Mississippi City?) had the best. That is a dish that I cannot find. Bruning's in NOLA had a good version, but Hurricane Katrina got them too, so no longer an option. Just had "Fried Flounder" at Wilton's in London, and it was horribly disappointing. Benny's had set the bar far too high, and I was foolish of me to think that a restaurant, even a very high-end seafood one, in London, would have even a clue. Had their wine list not been so good, I would have cried in front of all of our guests.
Price is no object, and we are probably more focused on dinners, than on lunches. Still, if you have a great lunch spot, with a local flavor, please do not hesitate to mention it.
We will have an auto, driving over from MSY, and both of us once knew the Coast very well, so short travel (remember those wines!) is not an issue. We will be staying in Gulfport, as it stands now, though the exact location has not been chosen.
We have plenty of time, and look forward to your thoughts and suggestions.
Here's a link to the best and biggets burgers on the coast. I would put Darwell's on my list.
Mary Mahoney's is still great. Half Shell is outstanding. Back Bay is fun. Vrazel's is the best fine dining on the coast.
Mary Mahoney's Old French House @ 116 Rue Magnolia, Biloxi, MS 228 - 374 - 0163.
Half Shell Oyster House @ FL 1st, 2500 13th St., Gulfport, MS 228 - 867 - 7001.
Vrazel's @ 3206 W. Beach Blvd., Gulfport, MS 228 - 863 - 2229.
Thank you for the recs.. Have not been to Mary Mahoney's post-K, so hope to get back. Considering the damage in Biloxi, I am glad to hear that they were able to get open.
We've done Vrazel's, post-K (they got open rather quickly), and it WAS very good.
One of my old favs (well, not THAT old) was The Chimneys in Gulfport (East Beach), and I understand that they have re-opened, as well. Not sure who the chef is, or anything about their new iteration. Last I had heard, they were not going to rebuild, but apparently had a change of heart.
Do not know Half Shell, but have heard of Back Bay.
Half Shell Restaurant
1106 Saint Mary St, Thibodaux, LA 70301
Well, it was one of the "specials" that night, and I did ask a bunch of questions. The answers seemed to be the correct ones, but then the flounder came. Imagine a Mrs. Paul's large, flat fish stick. Edible, but that was about it. However, my wife's Dover Sole was very good (not the best, but in the top-10), as were all of the other dishes. The flounder, was just not up to my expectations.
No biggie, as I got to order most of the wines that I wanted, due to the guests that we had (wife opened the purse a bit on that one), so all was not lost.
I'll definitely give them another go, but will avoid the flounder. Hoping to get my "flounder fix" on the trip to the Coast.
Bill, a friend of mine, Maria Mavar, just sent me a bunch of vintage pics of the Gulf Coast - man, did it spark memories of the good old days. If you'd like, I could fw them to you, they're priceless. Let me know @ my email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Even the old Alamo is in there!
My wife had the flounder at Blow Fly Inn a couple of weeks ago. I didn't try it, but she certainly enjoyed it- and the damn thing was huge!
But for something really good, you should try Anthony's under the Oaks in Ocean Springs. Great food, great service, wonderful view, and even a decent (for the Coast) wine list. I *know* that the seafood is fresh, as they buy some from my brother in law!
Blow Fly Inn
9415 Highway 49, Gulfport, MS 39503
Hunt.........Palace Casino has been renovated and now it's non smoking. Actually the only casino in the state I think. Mignon's is a great fine dining stop. I like the location on the back bay as it's a little quieter there but Biloxi is quiet anyway. Go to Shaggy's in Pass Christian and dine outdoors at the marina. Good luck.
Palace Casino @ 158 Howard Avenue, Biloxi, MS 228 – 432 – 8888.
Shaggy's Harbor Bar and Grill @ 120 S. Hiern Ave., Pass Harbor, Pass Christian, MS. 228 - 452 - 9939.
Thank you for the Palace rec. I seldom look to casinos, but do have to admit that the steakhouse at the Grand in Gulfport (forget the name now) was very good, and the wine list surprising, at least to me. The wine service was excellent.
Appreciated, and I will check things out. We have not localized on our accommodations, so Biloxi, and maybe the Beau Rivage, would be an option, though I am thinking more Gulfport, or Long Beach. Time will tell there.