I am not sure I have ever seen a restaurant menu change so completely.
Cora’s was always a good spot for lunch or dinner, but what Chef David Gooch has done to this menu is stunning.
The menu isn’t a big one, with just six appetizers, six seafood offerings and six “land offerings.”
That’s it, neat, sharp and to the point. My business partner, Kim Wilson, and I sat down for an early Wednesday supper, and were greeted in as classy a way as a chef can greet a guest: Amuse-bouche is an unexpected gift from the chef, a small taste, a hint of what is to come. We were offered a demitasse each of gumbo and crab and Brie bisque. Kim Wilson has the palate I dream of, and she is tough and uncompromising, so when the first thing she said is “This is the best bisque I have ever had,” I knew we were in for a treat.
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It is a beautiful restaurant and the service and wine list are great, and the food is world class.
We started with two appetizers, a charcuterie platter ($25) and barbecue filet tips ($12). The platter was wonderfully composed, with flavors and textures that paired well together: golden raisins contrasting with a salty brittle of chocolate and espresso cheddar cheese and caramelized onions that could almost have been a preserve of just a bit sweet watermelon rind. Wow!
The filet tips were gorgeous, tender, and served in a rich and spicy Creole beer sauce.
There were a few slices of grilled French bread, that were perfect for not leaving behind one drop of the sauce.
Along with a good glass of Willamette Valley pinot noir, the tips alone would have left us speechless.
We moved on to the catch of the day (varies from $28-$34): filet of red snapper, served with (hold on) crawfish sherry butter, alligator sausage, field peas (a lovely Southern touch), mushrooms and garlicky potato hash. I am just not sure what to say; I just don’t have the adjective I am looking for: Stunning, over the top, superlative.
Next, we shared a 6-ounce filet of Certified Angus Beef (CAB). It was served with creamed spinach and artichoke (so good I just wanted to go after it with a spoon) and an over-the-top port wine demi-glace. Demi-Glace! Perhaps the king of all the classic French sauces, and it was perfect.
We ended the evening with coffee and one last show-stopper: Bananas Foster served with beignets, swimming in brown sugar sauce.
Our meal was not inexpensive, but if we had chosen just an appetizer and glass of wine each, and shared, it could have been most affordable and spectacularly good.
Cora’s Restaurant in the White House Hotel
230 Beach Blvd, Biloxi
Breakfast: Monday - Friday: 6:30 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.; Lunch: Tuesday-Friday: 11 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.; Dinner: Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday: 5 p.m.- 9 p.m.; Dinner: Friday and Saturday: 5 p.m. - 10 p.m.; Brunch Menu: Saturday: 8 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.; Brunch Buffet: Sunday 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.