At first I thought it was a mozzarella stick. A deep-fried, oblong object accompanying a sampler platter. Then I bit into it. Of course! Avocado.
It was the first time I’d ever tried a slice of deep-fried avocado, and I have to say I enjoyed it. The dish was a nice introduction to Avocado’s, Bay St. Louis’ newest Mexican restaurant, located on U.S. 90.
Avocado’s opened in early January, and as its name suggests, its menu features everyone’s favorite Mexican fruit: the avocado. It is deep-fried in one iteration, stuffed in another. Soft, ripe avocados are sliced up and used as garnish on tacos, and blended into creamy sauces.
It’s good that the new restaurant has a specialty — something to set it apart from its neighbors. It’s located directly across the street from La Chula and less than a mile from El Maguey — two large Mexican restaurants that have found success in Bay St. Louis.
An interesting menu
When I visited less than a week after the restaurant’s opening, a staff of female, black-vest-clad servers stood waiting to greet me inside its entrance. I walked into the gold-hued restaurant, noticing that the large open dining room had been divided up somewhat by two rows of interconnected arches. I was seated in a booth with backs high enough that I felt some privacy even though I was in the main dining room. The decor in the restaurant is made up mostly of wrought-iron stars, suns and geometrical designs.
I looked over the menu, which features large photos of the restaurant’s signature dishes, and settled on the Avocado’s Sampler ($10.99), the Three Amigos taco plate ($11.99) and an odd offering — the Carnitas Burger ($8.99).
The sampler, which included small portions of fried avocado, nachos, quesadillas and flautas, arrived first. The star of the plate was the fried avocado. The delicateness of the avocado had been preserved somehow through deep-frying, and it was soft and creamy underneath its beer-batter-like fried coat. The flautas — little folded tortillas filled with shredded chicken and browned on the outside — were another nice part of the sampler. The sampler came with three sauces, a creamy cilantro ranch, a spicy chipotle ranch, and a cup of that white Mexican-restaurant queso dip — you know the one.
Tacos and burger
The tacos and burger arrived next. The tacos were served plain for the most part (aside from some diced onion, avocado and cilantro). Luckily the plate came with a few garnishes that diners can add to their tacos to up the spice, acidity and creaminess of their tacos: a wedge of lime, a roasted jalapeno, a roasted green onion and a cup of “guaca green sauce,” which had quite a bit of heat (not as much as the roasted jalapeno).
My favorite dish was, oddly enough, the Carnitas Burger, which came with a side of wonderfully crisp skin-on potato petals. I believe it was the first time I’d ever eaten a burger at a Mexican restaurant. The soft beef patty came topped with shredded pork, cheese and cilantro. The burger’s bun was soft and sweet and reminded me of a King’s Hawaiian sweet roll. The burger was served with a syrupy-sweet barbecue sauce (on the side).
A man who knows avocados
On my way out I spoke to the restaurant’s owner, Yahve Camarena, who is from the avocado-producing Mexican state of Jalisco.
“We use a lot of avocados from that area,” Camarena said. “It’s something very healthy.”
Camarena worked in the restaurant business for years in Jackson and Monroe, La. He said that after noticing his customers in Louisiana loved his preparations of avocado, he decided to bring the concept to Bay St. Louis.
If you go
What: Avocado’s, a Mexican restaurant built on a familiar model
Where: 820 U.S. 90
When: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday-Sunday