I was delighted recently to see Chef Milton Joachim make the transition rebranding Soigne to Charred.
I was a bit perplexed when I first saw the menu, and thought as good as aged beef and local oysters could be, certainly Joachim’s talent overmatched the offerings, but I was wrong. With his typical aplomb, he went about the task of grilling steaks as perfectly as could be, and paired them with the good things from his Creole inventory.
The first filet I saw was presented on a bed of creamy yellow grits, one of his signature sides, and deliciously prepared Brussels sprouts. The filets and ribeyes range in price from $18.95 to $29.95.
So, the beef is good. What about the oysters? Oysters Rockefeller are common on the Coast, and I’ve eaten many that were very good indeed. But Joachim’s are better. Why? I’ve got no clue.
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Tuck into a few of his Sweet and Spicy oysters, and you’ll see what I mean.
These were salty, fresh oysters made wonderful with an Asian bite. Bacon and Bleu oysters were delicious with smoky bacon, and I suspect it was the famous Benton’s of Tennessee bacon and bleu cheese. The best way to go about these oysters, and there are five from which to choose, is the combo platter, $10.95 for a half-dozen and $19.95 for a dozen.
The real magic of Charred, however, seems to be the changing daily specials, and that is what I ordered on my visit. We started with fried green tomatoes and shrimp ($11.95).
The tomatoes were divine, crunchy with just a hint of cumin and cayenne. The shrimp were spicy boiled and were bathed in a delightful Creole remoulade sauce. The fried green tomatoes were served piping hot, and the shrimp and sauce chilled.
Next was sautéed red fish and grits ($14.95) and I was again delighted at what we found. Perfectly cooked red fish, fresh, moist and full of flavor. The grits were what I expected from Joachim, creamy and wonderful, and a garnish of mushrooms and salty ham was perfection.
The final, and oh so simple touch, that kicked this dish out of sight was Crystal Hot Sauce. Daring, simple and spot on.
The kiss goodbye was a slice of ice box pie, ($9.95) another signature dish from this young chef, presented with a wash of blueberry compote.
Charred, A Steak and Oyster Bar
1019 Government Street, Ocean Springs
11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday.