Royal Red Shrimp And A Worldly Wine Flight On The Mississippi Gulf Coast
Go to the Half Shell Oyster Bar in Biloxi, Mississippi. Order the Royal Red Shrimp. They taste more like lobster than shrimp.
Royal Reds are not available everywhere, preferring cold, dark, deep water habitats. Their texture is softer and their flavor sweeter than regular shrimp. Ruby-colored, they cook quickly and when dipped in warm, melted butter, drizzled with fresh squeezed lemon juice, they do taste like lobster. Overcooking these delicacies would be a sin because the unique sweetness and delicate texture would be lost.
Christopher’s fresh, hand-shucked oysters at The Half Shell Oyster Bar are high on flavor, too.
The restaurant’s award-winning charbroiled oysters prepared over an open flame exude that taste and aroma that only comes from cooking on a grill.
The Orleans oysters are charbroiled then tweaked with a buttery, smokey, Cajun-style barbecue sauce; the Bienvilles are grilled over a flame and topped with mushroom, shrimp, crab, and bacon; and the Rockefellers are exceptional with the charbroiled flavor enhancing the fresh spinach, cream cheese, Pernod, Parmesan cheese and herbs.
Stephen Godfrey, Assistant General Manager at The Half Shell Oyster Bar, Biloxi, knew we were contented customers.
Our flight of reds at Maisano’s By The Glass in nearby Ocean Springs, Mississippi, was smooth all the way from take-off to landing. We were offered a list of over 40 wines, with different price points and styles from all over the world, that could be ordered by the 1-ounce glass. Each wine had a description.
“Latria (50% Garnacha and 50% Carignan) from Montsant, Spain. Bouquet of lavender, espresso, black cherry, and plum. Full-bodied on the palate, with plenty of spicy black fruit.”
“Chateau Smith by Charles Smith, Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Washington. Cassis, pencil lead, fresh herb and crushed granite. It is satin smooth and elegant, further defined with a super long finish.”
Brothers Jonathan and Frank Maisano own the unique restaurant. Jonathan is the sommelier; Frank is the chef.
With friends, we ordered five glasses each. We swirled, sipped, let the tastes linger for a moment then commented and compared. Some of us caught the espresso and the black cherry in the Latria. The pencil lead in the Chateau Smith was much smoother than expected. Very unlike the unpleasant tip-of-a-lead-pencil flavor we expected.
As we flew, we studied the food menu. When the flight was complete, we each ordered a full glass of the wine that we felt best suited our choice of entrée.
When asked how they are able to serve wine fresh by the glass, Jonathan demonstrated their Enomatic Wine Preservation System. It dispenses wine directly from the bottle using inert gas preservation. The flavors and characteristics of the wine remain intact for more than three weeks, as if the bottle had just been opened.
A glass of Broadbent 2003 Vintage Port Portugal provided hints of orange zest and baked apple. A perfect finale to the Maisano experience.