The view you get at Ajax Seafood Kitchen & Bar is stunning.
It offers a wide view of the Gulf with Ship Island off to the right. The environment provides equal measures of family-friendly and late-night patio fun, and the food is as fresh as can be.
The new restaurant, owned by Thomas Genin, who also owns The Blind Tiger in Bay St. Louis, is heavy on the seafood beach vibe and boasts its lack of a freezer.
That ensures they always keep an eye toward buying fresh seafood, never frozen.
The breezy atmosphere offers indoor and outdoor seating with over 18 taps available between an indoor and patio bar. The drink options include craft and domestic beer in addition to signature cocktail options, including Bushwackers and Genin juice, named after the owner.
Inside dining offers a well-fanned white-walled dining room with chalk boards on the walls. Ajax uses wall-mounted chalk boards instead of traditional menus because it’s easier to change than printing new menus every other day. It also means the restaurent uses less paper.
Outside patrons have the option to sit bar-style facing the Gulf or at well-shaded tables near the bar areas. For long waits and excited children, there is a large lawn space on the ground level with a large sandbox full of toys. There also is a bandstand for the live music Ajax hosts on the weekends.
Ajax’s policy is to buy locally sourced fish and never to use less-than-fresh food. Much of the seafood comes from local markets and some comes from fish markets in New Orleans. A waiter did say the salmon, still never frozen, is flown in, because there is no salmon to be had on the Gulf Coast.
The local shrimp options include regular shrimp cooked in a sweet chili sauce ($10) or in tacos ($13) with fresh coleslaw and a lime-cilantro sauce. They also offer peel-and-eat royal red shrimp boiled and served by the pound ($21).
I ordered the fried redfish sandwich ($14), which came with one filet topped with a corn pico de gallo with lettuce, tomato and onion available on the side. The fish was fresh, light and flaky and the batter was crunchy, but not heavy or oily.
My dining guest and I also chose to get some Ajax fries ($10), which came topped with green onion and melted cheese. You could tell the fries were cut from un-skinned potatoes with a tasty fried outside and a soft fluffy interior.
Also sampled was a mahi sandwich ($13), which came with a large filet sauteed in teriyaki sauce and served on a fluffy, warm and softly sweet bun. This fish was grilled and flavorful on the outside while still being delicate, flaky and fresh.
Both dining areas have TVs, so Ajax is a fine place to catch a game or race.
The outdoor bar area plays beach music — think Bob Marley or Jimmy Buffett — and the newly planted palm trees add to the beach vibe.
There also is a third-floor deck with a telescope for the kids. That space is unfinished, but may eventually be a sky bar or elevated dining area.
If you go
What: Fresh local seafood, burgers and fries
Where: 942 Beach Blvd., Gulfport.
When: Sunday through Thursday 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.; patio is always open late.