A historic beachfront building with a sleek new addition is home to one of the coast’s top restaurants.
- Story by Wendy Sullivan
Carmouche began planning weekly specials after consultation with local vendors in order to spotlight fresh local catch and seasonal produce.
Although most customer favorites remained on the menu, innovative new stars began appearing, like an appetizer of smoked mushrooms, along with entrees like bone marrow crusted filet and seafood pappardelle, made with mussels, shrimp, crab, English peas, mushrooms, saffron and crab fat butter.
The lunch and dinner menus offer simpler pleasures as well. A Cobb salad presents as a delicious work of art. Po-boys overflow with shrimp or oysters. But the chef’s touch shines on traditional dishes as well – most offer some luscious surprise.
House-made potato chips are flavored with truffle oil. Calamari is served with muffuletta salad smoke tomato sauce. A recent salad special was spinach with burrata cheese, roasted summer vegetables and a warm mushroom vinaigrette. The grilled seafood platter includes crab-stuffed oysters (!!!). The ribeye is served with mushroom truffle butter.
The brunch menu gets the same golden touch. Shrimp and grits is kicked up a notch with crabmeat. Chicken and waffles are served up with watermelon slaw. Fans of Mexican food will be drawn to the chorizo and egg tacos.
Diners are flocking in after a year of pandemic isolation (and eating their own cooking), and they’re all checking out the new additions to the venerable building. The Oyster Bar and two private dining rooms are now complete, while more balcony and sidewalk tables have views of the marina and gulf.
The Oyster Bar in the new addition has been gaining momentum since its opening. Happy hour truly is a happy time here. Chargrilled oysters are offered at 50% off, while beers are a buck off and house wines and well cocktails are $4. Thankfully, happy hour encompasses two hours, from 4 – 6 pm. The oyster bar offers the happy hour specials seven days a week, while in the main dining room, they’re good Monday through Thursday.
The Balcony Sports Lounge is sleek and roomy, and balcony visitors get a gander of a coastline that’s tough to beat.
Another big hit has been Wednesday “Date Nights.” For $75 per couple (plus tax and tip), the lucky romantics are served a specially selected bottle of red or white wine paired with the specials of the evening. Chef Carmouche shares his passion for creating new dishes for Date Night, usually offering a choice between a seafood and non-seafood entrée, with choice of salad or appetizer and a shared dessert. One recent menu offered Parmesan crusted flounder and roasted chicken Tchoupitoulas as entrée choices.
While the food at 200 North Beach may be innovative, the dining spaces are relaxing, with lots of room between tables and a now rare amenity – surroundings that encourage conversation. The lively Beach Boulevard scene can be peacefully observed. Even in the middle of May, despite the busy crowd setting up for Pirate Day in the Bay, we enjoyed a leisurely luncheon and quiet discussion at a sidewalk table. Indoor dining is always a spacious and air-conditioned alternative.
Oscar Wilde wrote, “the artist is the creator of beautiful things.” Creating beautiful and delicious meals and serving them up in a convivial atmosphere, Chef Carmouche demonstrates he’s got the magic touch.
200 North Beach
200 N Beach Boulevard
Bay St Louis, MS 39520
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