D'IBERVILLE -- If you are playing a slot machine at the newly opened Scarlet Pearl Casino and hunger strikes, there is just one place to go: Under the Oak Café.
It is on the casino floor, and you will never be out of earshot of that slot machine you just can't wait to get back to.
Under the Oak Café is the quintessential casino type of restaurant, and most casinos have a variation of this style. Most are open 24 hours a day, and all can get a pretty good meal to you in a short time.
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The menu at this café is smart and imaginative; not huge, but it is diverse enough for almost anyone. Take the appetizer list. It is only eight strong, and it includes two soups, but it has some good food ideas.
At the top of the list is the Frickles, or fried pickles ($6), served with a house sauce. The sauce is a bit of a mystery, but it is good, and the pickles were delightful -- crispy and light. Perhaps a perfect appetizer or snack.
We also tried the Southern Fried Mac and Cheese ($8), and the Fried Green Tomatoes Napoleon ($8). Both were good, deliciously designed; a golf-ball size round of mac and cheese, deep-fried golden brown. Wow! The fried green tomatoes were thin slices of tomato, battered and sautéed (I would have preferred deep fried), topped with crabmeat, cheese and fresh herbs. Good!
Our waitress recommended the burgers, and there were three from which to choose, with prices from $9 to $13; not bad for a good burger.
The flagship burger, the two-thirds-pound Scarlet Burger, touts three kinds of cheese, good beef, some of those delicious fried pickles and a fried egg. Again there was a sauce, but it remains a mystery as it is called only "special sauce." This burger comes cooked to order, and they get it right.
Other recommendations our waitress assured us were crowd pleasers were the Red Beans and Rice ($14); Shrimp and Grits ($19); and the pulled pork sandwich ($11).
The Scarlet Pearl Casino is the latest shiny new casino on the Coast, and it is worth a visit.
We can't wait to try the other three restaurants, buffet, Asian-style noodle bar and the grill.