200 North Beach: French Influence in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

The first restaurant to open in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, after Hurricane Katrina was 200 North Beach. It serves seafood, steaks and much more with a French flair.

Location: 200 North Beach Boulevard, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Menu: Seafood and steaks take center stage on the menu of 200 North Beach and appear in every category except the salads, sides, and desserts.

Appetizers include crab cakes, Royal Red shrimp, smoked tuna dip and a spinach and artichoke dip loaded with crabmeat. The oyster bar serves these delicacies up raw and chilled or chargrilled, baked with bacon or in Rockefeller form.

Probably the most popular menu item is Speckled Trout Almondine, but it is only available when those trout are being caught in the waters nearby. Other hearty favorites include Ahi Tuna, Grilled Mahi Mahi and Chicken Florentine, plus pasta dishes such as Spaghetti and Meatballs and a Shrimp/ Crawfish/Crab combination called Seafood Pasta Ann. Diners should be aware that the menu fluctuates to reflect seasonal availabilty.

Steaks are 100% Black Angus prime beef, hand cut in the kitchen. Seven sandwich choices are regular menu features, along with five desserts made in-house. I can personally vouch for the White Chocolate Bread Pudding. It is divine.

Daily lunch specials include red beans and rice on Mondays, shrimp and grits on Wednesdays and crawfish etouffee on Thursdays. You’ll have the advantage of many New Orleans specialties without having to fight the traffic and crowds of the big city.

Thoughts: Chef Keith Becton’s personal background has a strong influence on the preparations and seasonings of the dishes at 200 North Beach. Born on the island of Martinique, Chef Becton grew up in Miami, which is where he first met owner Jim MacPhaille. Becton received his classical training as a chef in France. When he arrived to work in New Orleans, his French Caribbean background perfectly suited the French Creole he encountered there.

Locals and tourists are pretty set in their ways about how they expect their dishes to look and taste, but slowly Becton is introducing them to more and more of his French-style sauces and methods and even unexpected ingredients such as duck and rabbit.

The Echo building, constructed in 1903 and known for the Echo Sea Coast Newspaper produced inside its walls, originally stood in this location at 200 North Beach but was demolished by Hurricane Katrina. Painstakingly, some elements were preserved and now appear in this restaurant that opened in 2011. Be sure to look around and find the reclaimed beaded boards and large exposed beams carefully salvaged from that first building.

200 North Beach has become the go-to spot for celebrations, parties (generally held in the Balcony Sports Bar on the second floor), or special dinners with friends or your significant other. The bar at 200 North Beach is known for its hand-muddled cocktails and a wide variety of specialty drinks.

Price range: Appetizers are $7-22. Oysters are $9-10 for a half dozen and $16-18 for a full dozen. Salads are $7-10. Soups are $5-8. Sandwiches range from $12-15. Entrees are $16-36.

Connie Pearson

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