After almost 30 years, the White Pillars Restaurant has reopened.
The restored facility is beautifully appointed and offers elegant fine-dining, including a spacious dining room, famous bar and large glass windows that allow guests to see into the busy kitchen.
Chef Austin Sumrall makes great use of locally sourced foods to produce a fusion of styles. Lots of places offer a farm-to-table experience, but this menu is exclusively local and seasonal.
If tomatoes are not in season, don’t expect to find them in your salad. Also take note that everything possible is made from scratch, in-house, from the breads and desserts, to sauces and charcuterie.
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And I hate to be the bearer of sad news (at least for some), but don’t look for Eggplant Josephine on the menu. There is a vintage section, albet small, at the bottom of the menu, but the rest of the menu offers a blending of styles and techniques.
Remember, the menu changes often, so what I enjoyed at White Pillars may not be listed when you dine there.
It would be hard to eat at the White Pillars and not try the gumbo ($8). It was Chef Sumrall’s grandfather’s recipe and he won the Louisiana championship twice. It is made with local chicken, collard greens, Conecuh sausage and Mississippi-grown Delta Blues Rice. It is savory, just a bit smoky and spot on.
The Thai wedge salad ($9) would also be a good choice, but I thought the lump crab avocado toast ($14) served with lemon aioli simply brought the house down.
The Gulf Oysters three ways ($16) was extremely good, but I have to say the fried oysters (flash fried), with lemon aioli, fennel, capers and pickled pearl onion were over-the-top.
I’ve got to take my hat off to the innovative Sothern Shrimp Pho ($24), the national dish of Vietnam, and this slightly Southern approach is a perfect pairing. You are sure to love the Gulf shrimp meatballs.
Other main courses that stand out are grilled Mississippi pork chop ($31) with apple fennel chutney, sweet potato gratin and goat cheese foam, in-season red snapper with crispy potatoes, aioli and salsa verde, and the Blue Plate special. The special was delightful with fried chicken, collard greens, macaroni and cheese and white barbecue sauce.
Where: 1696 Beach Blvd, Biloxi
When: 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday