The Almanett Bistro has a niche all its own. It is located just off the beach but has an out-of-the-way feel to it. The building is simply beautiful and was obviously a labor of love to build. Walk in the door and you might find it a bit dim, but that is part of the ambiance: subdued, thoughtful, and as soon as you hear the music, a little R&B, a little Soul, you will begin to appreciate the magic of the place. Brown walls that make the colorful, but tasteful modern art, snap finalize the deal. This, my friend, is one very cool place.
The menu is petit, just as a menu that is well thought out should be (mega menus should always be approached with suspicion, don’t you think?). But this menu has been paired down since the Daniels family took over the Bistro in 2014 (the hotel opened in 2010), and what it offers are time-proven recipes, the best of the best.
If you come for supper, the lollipop lamb chops ($25) are one of the most popular items on the menu. Grilled, just as lamb chops should be, and garnished with a delicious pomegranate balsamic reduction sauce. If you are in a meaty mood, stop right here. The chops I tried were beautifully paired with sweet potato puree.
Do you see why the owners call the mood of this menu Creole Soul?
Another bestseller is the trout Almanett. A fresh trout filet, cooked the way you want it (grilled, blackened or fried), served with a lemon herb cream and garnished with crabmeat and shrimp. If you are in the mood for seafood, check out the fried shrimp and catfish platter ($24): simple, fried a beautiful golden brown and delicious.
You really should try the Who Dat Shrimp (lunch and dinner, $11), for the Almanett’s take on NOLA style barbecue shrimp. It is served with garlic bread for sopping up that wonderful picante sauce. If you do come for lunch I would definitely try the Exotic Island Burger (you know I am a burger nut, right?). It has a definite Island flair, seasoned with jerk sauce, topped with grilled pineapple dressed with lettuce, tomato, sweet onion and American or Swiss cheese. It’s a deal for just $10. Another top lunch pick is the choice of a shrimp or catfish po-boy ($12).
The Almanett is about as far from the run-of-the-mill beachside joints as you can get. It has a vibe all its own, mellow you might call it, a very cool place for a date, or even a solo night. Check out the bar and the specialty drinks, and Sunday brunch. On occasion, the Almanett offers all-you-can eat specials; check them out as well.
Almanett Hotel and Bistro
Where: 1514 18th Ave., Gulfport
Hours: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday