Restaurant News & Reviews

Vestige cooks up perfection and is now open for lunch

Seabass with grilled butternut squash and blooming Napa cabbage from Vestige in Ocean Springs.
Seabass with grilled butternut squash and blooming Napa cabbage from Vestige in Ocean Springs. Special to the Sun Herald

Vestige has been building a reputation for fine dining on the Coast for five years. It’s farm and Gulf to table, and Chef Alex Perry is a part of the new wave of chefs cooking in the style called New or Modern American. If you have been, then you are surely a fan.

Vestige is now open for lunch, and the menu is petit and changes often, based on availability of ingredients. Chef Alex strives to buy local, but seasonality and quality dictates that sometimes the best choice comes from someplace else. On the day I visited, the best fish to be found was a wild caught Virginia sea bass, and it was amazing.

If Vestige is new to you, you might find the atmosphere minimalist, with small abstract paintings carefully placed, and music in the background (where it belongs), but the point of focus at this restaurant is the table and the food that will adorn it. The table settings are classy, bright and sharp, with a small vase of flowers that is a focal point, but only until the impeccably plated food starts to arrive.

Few chefs can match Chef Alex. His menu design is sublime, with pairings of protein, vegetable, sauce and garnish that will blow you away. Execution in the kitchen is faultless, and what arrives on the table, in the hands of classy waitstaff, is simply perfection.

Please remember that this menu changes often, so what I am going to describe may not be available when you visit.

Vestige chef prepares a pork, carrot and butter bean plate.

If I had to imagine a near perfect salad it would be the one I had for lunch. Amazingly robust heirloom tomatoes (yellow and red), house-made green goddess dressing (chives, parsley, tarragon, lemon juice in a creamy sauce), and, as a counter point, crunchy roasted almonds and an herb garnish. Stunning and a deal for just $7.

Next, I had a fish dish, Virginia sea bass I mentioned above, served with grilled butternut squash, crunchy flowering Napa cabbage, and dashi butter (butter flavored with a classic Japanese stock). This was just one of the best fresh fish dishes I have had in a long time, and well-priced at $15.

I skipped dessert simply because I could not resist the grilled pork rib loin. Pork as tender as butter, sweet peas, strawberry confit and cherry-onion jus. The sweet confit was a brilliant counter point to the grilled pork, and the peas the perfect accompaniment. And just $12.

Chef Alex Perry gets every step along the way absolutely right. There are no short cuts, no accepting second best.

Dale and Tina Stevens' Sand Ridge Farm, located outside of Lucedale, is home to around 50 red wattle hogs. They range freely on the large farm, and eat an all-natural diet of knee-high grass planted in pastures on the property. If you want to try

Vestige

Where: 715 Washington Ave., Ocean Springs

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday for lunch; and 5:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday

Phone: 228-818-9699

  Comments