Climbing to the top of a thirty-two story building might not be your idea of the best way to get to a restaurant, but this one is worth it.
Don’t worry, though, you can take the elevator to get to this fine-dining establishment — thirty-two, which is on the top floor of IP Casino Resort & Spa, 850 Bayview Ave., Biloxi.
What makes this high-rise spot worth the climb?
A fine dining restaurant that runs on all cylinders all the time, a kitchen that is hopping, excellent service and a wine list to stop any sommelier in his tracks.
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Stephen Morgan is the food and beverage director at the IP Casino Resort & Spa, and he works tirelessly to make thirty-two the best it can be.
He has nursed it through difficult times, seen the wine list grow and become recognized among the best around. He works hand-in-hand with the casino executive chef, Shannon Johnson, and thirty-two’s specialty room chef, Matthew Kallinikos.
‘Passion and excellence’
The key words from this professional team are “passion and excellence.”
“I am an old-school kind of guy and if something comes out of the kitchen that is not right, I’ll toss it,” said Morgan, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.
Kallinikos also is a graduate, and his interest in cooking began when he was only 9 years old. He worked his way from washing dishes to post-graduate classes at the Culinary Institute and then to a variety of restaurants with increasing responsibility. He landed at thirty-two five years ago.
“This is the place I want to be,” Kallinikos said. “We work as a team, but I am allowed a great deal of autonomy.”
Sommelier and manager Harry Hall also has made his way through the ranks of the industry.
The wine list, through Hall’s guidance, has grown and is now recognized by Wine Spectator with its Best of Award of Excellence.
“(That) was a moment of success,” Hall said, “and I felt my goals had been reached.”
The restaurant offers unparalleled views of the Coast, both north and south from the 32nd floor, and the menu is also impressive.
Check out the cheese cart that offers an array of artisanal cheeses and fig cake, organic honey, quince paste and marcona almonds. Prices for items on the cart range from $18 to $34 depending on the selection.
A dish of which Kallinikos is fond is the andouille-crusted sea bass ($38). The andouille is house-made, as is all the charcuterie served at thirty-two.
It is served with corn and crawfish marque choux (see recipe below), green onions and lemon beurre blanc sauce.
Other best-sellers include the 48-ounce cowboy steak for two ($120), and a citrus brined and seared chicken breast with house-made bacon, garlicky spinach, grits and a chardonnay and Tabasco beurre blanc sauce ($26). Shrimp 32 is another menu item that gets lots of attention and is served with a Creole-charred tomato veloute sauce, house-made tasso, wild mushrooms and creamy grits ($36).
thirty-two steak and seafood restaurant
Where: IP Casino and Resort, 850 Bayview Ave., Biloxi
When: 5-10 p.m.Wednesday-Thursday; 5-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 5-10 p.m. Sunday
thirty-two corn maque choux
Here is a recipe from IP Casino Resort & Spa specialty room chef Matthew Kallinikosthat you might enjoy. Adjust quantities for your family’s size.
Tasso sausage, fine dice 8oz
Onions, fine diced 1 cup
Red bell pepper, fine dice ½ cup
Celery, fine dice ½ cup
Garlic, minced 1/8th cup
Corn kernels 3 pound
Heavy cream 1 quart
Cayenne Pepper, ground ¼ teaspoon
Cajun Magic Seasoning ½ teaspoon
Salt and white pepper as needed
Parsley, chopped ¼ bunch
Green onion ½ bunch
Parmesan, fine grated 3 oz
White cheddar, grated 2 oz
In a medium sauté pan render Tasso sausage, add trinity (vegetables) and garlic; sweat until aromatic. Add corn and sauté, tossing and coating all items evenly in rendered fat. Add heavy cream and reduce by two thirds. Once reduce add cheese and fresh herbs.