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Beau's BR Prime is One of Our Culinary Crown Jewels

I absolutely hate to play favorites among Gulf Coast restaurants. I love them all, ranging from small, family-owned poboy places tucked away on back streets to boisterous eateries on the beachfront to fine dining destinations from one end of the Coast to the other. However, I'm focusing today on one securely in the latter category, BR Prime. Located inside the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, it’s one of Mississippi’s crown jewels in terms of location, ambiance, personal service, and outstanding food. If you only experience it once in your lifetime, it’s a meal you’ll never forget.

First, it's notable to mention that BR Prime is nationally-recognized. Awards include AAA Four Diamond, Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, and status as the only Forbes Recommended restaurant in Mississippi with the exception of Jia, the Beau's fine dining restaurant. However, dining at BR Prime is not an inexpensive endeavor. Menu items are ala carte, with the restaurant’s famed steaks starting at $42 for the six-ounce filet.

However, I can safely say it’s a dining experience like no other. If you only experience it once in your lifetime – say, for example, to celebrate a milestone birthday or anniversary or to make a weekend getaway even more memorable - it’s an overall experience you’ll never forget. I promise, you won’t regret maxing out your dining-out budget.

I want to focus on the food because, let’s be honest, that’s the real star. However, setting the stage for this memorable experience is necessary. Slipping into the cocoon-like confines of BR Prime after walking through the bright lights and gaiety of the Beau instantly transports one into another world. Dim lighting, an impressive floor-to-ceiling glass wine case, rich wood finishes, and white-clothed banquettes and booths in the well-appointed dining area set the mood for an experience akin to any of Vegas’ finest restaurants.

In fact, BR Prime describes itself as having “enough swank to make the Rat Pack proud.” Dress code is billed as “smart casual to the nines,” and I’ve seen plenty of the former. Staff are friendly and professional, making guests ranging from those that stroll in after a long day of shopping to high rollers feel equally welcomed and pampered. Unlike some fine dining restaurants, BR Prime has a lively, albeit elegant vibe.

After visiting BR on national media tours and on personal visits, I’ve worked my way across the succinct menu. I can honestly say everything I’ve sampled has been unique, fresh, and superbly prepared. As if that isn’t enough, each dish’s presentation is a work of art, a feast for the eyes and palate.

On one of the media tours, I was fortunate enough to be served the grand seafood platter ($95)– a tiered tower, actually – loaded with Maine lobster, shrimp, oysters, king crab legs, and crab cocktail. It was so large I had to share it with a fellow writer. As if in unison, cameras emerged and we all began shooting photos of this towering masterpiece filled with perfectly prepared seafood, tangy sauces and seasoned butter.

Other chilled seafood items are gulf shrimp with fresh horseradish cocktail ($6 each); jumbo crab cocktail with remoulade ($18); half dozen seasonal oysters with cocktail sauce and shallot mignonette ($18) and tartare three ways ($19), steak “21 Club” with salmon and caviar, tuna. and ginger.

During my most recent visit, I chose a warm starter to begin my meal. A large crab cake ($20) topped with spicy remoulade turned out to be the best I’d ever sampled. Large, succulent, and filled not with indistinguishable ingredients but instead, fresh crab meat grilled to a crispy finish, was simply superb.

Others on the menu are Stonington Maine diver scallops ($21) with hearts of palm and black trumpets; New Orleans-style barbecue gulf shrimp ($18 and $27); crispy chicken livers ($17) highlighted with comeback sauce, crostinis, apple fennel slaw, and hot sauce preserve and roasted veal bone marrow escargot ($20) with basil fed escargot and glace de viande.

Now, on the piece de resistance – its steaks. Any of the starters would suffice as a meal if you can’t afford a full-course meal. But, I urge you to cut back on fast food or other mindless meals. Saving up for a steak dinner at BR Prime is worth the sacrifice. It’s that delicious.

As mentioned, the six-ounce filet is the most affordable and the cut I selected on my last visit. It’s small, but when paired with other dishes, more than adequate. On previous visits, the 14-ounce Delmonico ($52) has been my choice. Seared to perfection and oh-so-lightly seasoned, it’s simply the best steak I’ve ever eaten.

In fact, sharing a table with journalists from around the country, including New York, I was proud to hear similar comments as mine about BR Prime’s steaks. Most of the writers had traveled around the world sampling the “best of the best” cuisine. To hear BR Prime ranks near the top of these veteran foodies’ lists was exciting to hear.

Other steaks from which to choose include the massive 40-ounce bone-in tomahawk rib-eye ($135); 24-ounce porterhouse ($60) and 10-ounce filet ($55). Also on the menu are Sandridge Farms pork chops ($46); double cut lamp chops ($48) and Chateaubriand ($110) for two.

Toppings for steaks and chops are savory béarnaise, three pepper au poivre, red wine sauce, Australian blue cheese crust, and sautéed crab meat.

If seafood entrees are more to your liking, there’s excellently prepared Scottish salmon ($35) with saffron potato, baby spinach, Chanterelle mushrooms, fennel slaw, and seasonal berries; red snapper ($44) served with herbsaint oyster, crispy squash blossom, charred ramps, and sauce Nantau, and two-pound steamed Maine Lobster ($125) with drawn butter, crab-stuffed, lemon, and herbs. Or, try a heritage French red chicken (half-$36) served with crispy liver, toasted corn, spring peas and morels.

As I’ve described, steaks stand on their own merit, but a few well-chosen sides (in the $12 range) makes each dinner even more memorable. One of my all-time favorites is duck fat frites. Crispy fries served with a variety of dipping sauces is a can’t-miss pleasure.

If a steak is not in your budget this month, ordering a serving of fries or one of the other sides, ranging from Aged Vermont cheddar hash, thick-cut onion rings, butter smashed potatoes, or one that I enjoyed recently, roasted Brussels sprouts, with a cool beverage is a more-than-satisfactory Plan B.

If you have room for dessert, a serving of delicious Bananas Foster prepared table-side with flair and drama by one of BR Prime’s professional servers is the perfect ending to a meal you’ll never forget.

BR Prime is located at 875 Beach Blvd. inside Beau Rivage. The restaurant is closed Sunday and Monday; open for dinner Tuesday – Saturday, 5:30 – 10 p.m. Call (228) 386-7111 for more information or to make reservations.

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