A new head chef, innovative menu changes and a significant expansion are earning the beachfront restaurant even more loyal diners.
- Story by Lisa Monti
In 1990 he helped open Emeril’s namesake restaurant and in 1992 went with Lagasse to study in the south of France for three months. It was an intense education he calls “mind boggling.” He also spent a number of years working in restaurants in Orlando before returning to his home town.
Local developer Jim MacPhaille sought out Carmouche last year to oversee 200 North Beach’s operation, which will soon expand with the opening of an oyster bar, two more private dining rooms and a rooftop bar He will also be called upon to help create and run other ventures that are in the planning stages.
Part of MacPhaille’s pitch to recruit Carmouche was to show him around Bay St. Louis, which he had never visited. The chef said he was particularly impressed with the potential he saw in the Depot District, where a barbecue spot and a Northern Italian restaurant are planned. “Jim really wants to build a restaurant group, and that’s our vision right now,” Carmouche said.
Back at 200 North Beach, diners are taking notice of the new menu. Carmouche has added his own twist, offering dishes “as fresh as possible” using local catches available from a team of vendors.
Among the new specials are oysters with melted brie, scallops with butternut squash, fresh pompano and duck dishes not usually found in local restaurants. “We’re trying to do something a little bit different,” he said.
But there are times when old favorites are calling your name. Those days, lunch turns out to be rich turtle soup, a satisfying fried shrimp poboy or a comforting turkey club – and the kitchen at 200 North Beach is there for those cravings as well.
For something more indulgent, Maine lobster is the star of the new Thursday Lobster Happy Hour from 3 to 6 p.m., which Carmouche said is “going great.” That menu includes lobster rangoons, lobster and corn fritters, lobster carbonara and the traditional lobster roll.
There’s also Wednesday Date Night, featuring three-course specials that change weekly and include a bottle of wine for $75. A recent menu included jumbo lump crab cakes or poached shrimp salad to start, followed by seared jumbo sea scallops or grilled lamb T-bone and salted caramel cheesecake for dessert.
Chef Carmouche says, “I’m having fun being creative with whatever gets my creative juices going.” He says the dishes he creates are what he loves to eat, “and I love seafood.” To keep up with the specials, follow 200 North Beach’s Facebook page.
Carmouche has found that there are three things that make a restaurant a success: freshness, leadership and teamwork.
During his brief time at North Beach, one thing he’s learned is “a lot of people here know good food, and they like to have fun. This is a small town with a big palate. I’ve met a lot of really nice people, and they’re all very inviting.”
200 North Beach Restaurant & Bar
200 North Beach Blvd.
Bay St. Louis
Open Mon-Thurs 11 am to 9 pm, Fri-Sat 11 am - 10 pm
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