Chef David Dickensauge has earned a reputation as one of the most talented and creative chefs on the Coast. He came up through the ranks, and was able to work with, and impress, some heavyweight chefs and restaurants along the way, like Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, and was inspired by legendary chef Charlie Trotter of Chicago.
In recent years he has found his way back to the Gulf Coast and has pulled off some pretty exciting venues, like Corks and Cleavers in Gulfport, and his Italian Bistro in Bat St Louis. The next rung in his ladder is C&C Farm to Fork. This place is going to take the idea of eating locally sourced and seasonal food to new levels. He says, “This is about getting back to where I started. It’s about my love for Southern food, tempered with the culinary influences I have experienced around the country and in Europe.”
Dickensauge’s culinary soul is Southern, with touches of Creole and Cajun, and when he combines those assets with the wealth of local products he is using, you can expect sparks to fly.
The menu at Farm to Fork is as aggressive an endeavor as I have seen. It is a complex mix of old favorites but given new life with unexpected twists. Sure, you will find common dishes like fried oysters, and even a great looking ribeye. You won’t find dishes with French names your high school French won’t allow you to pronounce. But what you will find are creative takes on common themes.
The fried oysters are going to be served with deviled eggs, black truffle aioli, yellow curry caramelized bacon jam, scallion oil and ghost pepper caviar (just $10). No, I am not kidding. The ribeye is cold smoked (keeps it moist) and is served with crawfish and lobster mac and cheese ($32). No, again, I am not kidding! It is almost a caricature of a Southern classic, but to make it work (as it seems it should not), it must be flawless, and it is. Perfectly balanced, creamy and delicious with the smoky, tender and delicious beef (local, of course). Killer good.
If you want to start this adventure on firmer ground, check out the heirloom tomato salad ($14). It is delightfully paired with smoked corn, peas, freshly torn basil (smell it), fried okra and crispy bacon (love the contrast in texture) and aioli. If I was going to wax elegant about a Southern inspired dish, this would be it.
But this is the kind of menu that requires an adventurous spirit, so try the rabbit tamales ($10), soft shell crab BLT ($14), or the 24-hour coffee braised short ribs ($26). But whatever you do, please try the Simmons catfish. Simmons is the best farm-raised catfish you can buy (I have been to the factory in the Delta, seen the ponds and eaten the fish, it is the best) and when Chef David combines this beautiful fish with okra, field peas, toasted local peanuts, hushpuppies and a smoked tomato remoulade, it is a thing of beauty.
C&C Farm to Fork is the crowning accomplishment of a very talented chef. This is not one you want to miss.
C&C Farm to Fork
Where: 111 Main St., Bay Saint Louis
Hours: 4-9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday