Next time you are visiting Pascagoula, stop in at the Hilton Garden Inn and dine at the Garden Grille and Bar.
Ray Parrish is the executive chef, a position he earned over 35 years of moving up through the kitchen ranks.
The menu is brisk but peppered with classics this sort of place has to have, such as burgers and sandwiches.
It also has some Southern fusion-style dishes for which Parrish is known and they are dashed with just the right amounts of Italian and Cajun.
You have to try the crab cakes ($15) and the shrimp and grits ($20). The crab cakes were about 90 percent crab meat and lightly seasoned. The shrimp and grits were made with cheesy grit cakes fried crispy and well-cooked large shrimp and served with a cream sauce that only a true saucier could have made.
A hallmark of Parrish’s culinary style is simplicity. Sit down to a meal that comes out of his kitchen, and you can just hear him saying, “Let the ingredients speak for themselves.”
Nothing is over-seasoned or overcooked.
Perhaps the best example of that creed is the eggplant Napoleon ($20).
With the first bite, you will delight in finding the eggplant has just the right amount of texture and flavor. Homemade marinara and cream reduction sauces that top the dish make for a sublime blend. Toss in shrimp or crawfish and the magic is complete.
The appetizers are great, too. Chicken wings ($8) and the fried green tomatoes ($6) are standouts on the six-item appetizer list. Also look for daily specials.
Everything on this menu is thoughtfully prepared and presented with just the right elegant touch.
The Garden Grille and Bar Hilton Garden Inn Pascagoula
What: 2703 Denny Ave., Pascagoula
When: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Sunday