Vietnamese food for Biloxi Tet celebration
I am a huge fan of Vietnamese food and love all of the Vietnamese restaurants on the Coast.
I often quote hugely missed chef Anthony Bourdain’s description of pho, the national dish of Vietnam, as “a steaming bowl of goodness.”
Much of the Vietnamese repertoire of popular dishes could be described that way, comfort food at its best, with a delicate, and amazing balance of five fundamental flavors: spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet. Add to that a love for fresh herbs and vegetables as condiments, and a demand for freshness in everything and you have an amazing experience waiting for you.
Four Seasons has been open just a few weeks, but I have known chef and co-owner Dung Hoang for many years, and I am a great fan of his food. He teamed up with Son Ly to open 4 Seasons and, my friends, what they have created is simply stunning.
I visited with longtime Coast residents, and serious foodies, Diane Stevenson and Mark Dubaz (both world travelers, by the way) and throughout the entire meal both said time and time again, “This is the best I have ever had.” I agreed.
The menu is fairly typical, but there is a serious emphasis on locally caught, fresh seafood. After a long look we had decided on beef pho, clay pot pork, and pork and shrimp with rice, but Son Ly dissuaded us, thank goodness!
Platters began to arrive on the table in an array of goodness I have seldom seen. Crawfish arrived first, boiled in a homemade stock (no commercial boils!), then tossed in garlic butter. On my goodness, I have never tasted anything like this, it was simply divine. The table was quiet for a few minutes as we dug in, but I think all of us were a bit misty-eyed at the astonishing dish. The best I have ever had.
Next, we dove into a platter of boiled crabs (same homemade stock) but then stir fried in a tamarind sauce. Again, we were close to speechless. It was a messy, deeply delicious, raucous delight, and we must have gone through at least an entire roll of paper towels. Diane is a serious boiled crab fan and she was whisked back to her childhood, and said again and again, “This is the best I have ever had.”
Shall I go on? We also had shrimp tempura that was stunningly good with a thick, intensely flavored peanut sauce, and roasted quail in French butter. You know what I am going to say, right? The best we ever had.
I have had countless remarkable meals in Vietnamese restaurants from Biloxi, Ocean Springs and D’Iberville, and all are wonderful, but the sun and moon must have aligned in a powerful way to bring us to this table, on this day and to have this amazing assortment of world-class food. Seriously, world-class.
I want to come back soon and try the pho, and clay pot dishes, but I do not think that I will ever be able to walk through those doors and not order the boiled crabs and crawfish. Best I ever had.
4 Seasons Seafood Restaurant
Where: 538 Division St., Biloxi
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday to Monday; closed Tuesday