Thirty-Two has always been one of my favorite restaurants on the Coast, and when I found out it had just accomplished a major revision of the menu, I knew it was time to visit again. Most restaurants update their menu occasionally, but when you add 16 new items to a menu as petit as the Thirty-Two menu is, it is an event worth celebrating.
Thirty-Two describes itself as being Modern European. I certainly do not disagree with the description, but I am so enamored with this place I think a more exuberant scene needs to be set. It literally towers above the Biloxi skyline, 32 floors up, to be exact, and if you are looking for a romantic getaway, this is it, just make sure to get your reservations for sundown.
The decor is rich and elegant, but sedate as well. It feels comfortable, like old leather, and never stuffy or too exclusive. The staff is as sharp and professional as you will find in any world capital, anywhere. Pleasant, friendly, knowledgeable and well-versed in the art of good service.
Chef de Cuisine Matthew Kallinikos is as accomplished a chef as I know, anywhere. He is creative, inventive, and able to come up with pairings that are stunning. How does roasted Brussel sprouts and Mississippi sweet potato with Tuscan kale, duck confit, candied pecans, roasted red grapes and cane syrup vinaigrette grab you?
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Sure, you say, but who can afford a place like that? Would you be surprised to know that the Brussel sprouts I just described (a new addition to the menu) will set you back a grand total of just $11? And there are five appetizers for $16 or less and a handful of sides for $14 or less, that could easily be combined into a magnificent tasting menu. I had the most amazing potato strudel for $11, lobster mac and cheese and killer good braised greens with house-made tasso for just $12 each. See what I mean?
For a few dollars more you can try the sous vide scallops with sugar cane and ginger marinade, miso pesto (Japanese soybean seasoning) pickled carrot and daikon (a wonderful nod to Vietnamese cuisine) watermelon radish, mango, and micro cilantro for just $18.
If you are into good cheese, Thirty-Two has the best selection around, and you can sample six of the best for just $10. Pair that with an affordable glass of wine (two whites for $8 and two red for $9 are on the wine card), and a very special evening could be had, for less than $30. Not bad, not bad at all.
Of course, if your coin purse is full and you want that house dry aged tomahawk steak for $120, its an option. For substantially less than that you can have pan-seared Loch Duart salmon (Scottish), fregola (type of pasta from Sardinia, 2-3 mm in diameter), dried cranberry, butternut squash, roasted apple, Brussel sprouts brown butter, hazelnut puree for $38, or sweet tea brined pork chop (local pork), green apples, red pepper jam, Grit Girl Grits (my friend Georgeann Ross from Oxford), wild mushrooms, braised greens for $30.
Seriously, if you are a foodie on a budget, or a gourmand with that fat wallet, Thirty-Two is an amazing experience that you don’t want to miss. The new menu is stunningly good!
Where: 850 Bayview Ave., Biloxi, IP Casino Resort Spa
Hours: 5-10 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday