Who doesn’t love visiting the Mississippi Gulf Coast for a day trip, weekend, or longer stay? The wide expanses of sea and sand, cool breezes, and opportunities to partake of sight-seeing, fishing, concerts, shopping, and restaurant-hopping combine for an unforgettable getaway. If recent issues with the gulf waters have made you wary about ordering seafood, take heart. There’s a new burger – and restaurant – in town that will more than make up for a temporary halt to your seafood meals.
The giant Landmass Burger, created by Kristian Wade, executive chef at Biloxi’s Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, was named “Best of the Fest” at Atlanta’s Food and Wine Festival held earlier this summer. It’s an innovative burger composed of smoky, grilled double-patties topped with American cheese, Mississippi tomato fondue, caramelized onions, bread and butter pickles, a unique blend of Alabama white sauce and New Orleans barbecue sauce, and, to top it off, a crispy fried oyster.
The recipient of numerous accolades for his food, Wade oversees all of Beau Rivage’s culinary operations that include several restaurants and the latest, TAP Book Bar and Bistreaux, where the Landmass Burger is on the menu.
Just in case you’ve forgotten this past slight, the burger received its tongue-in-cheek name from a Weather Channel forecaster’s description of the Mississippi Gulf Coast as “the landmass between New Orleans, La., and Mobile, Ala.”
I was fortunate enough to interview Wade last week and received more insight – including a burger hot off the grill – into the award-winning creation. Trust me when I say that it is unlike any burger I’d ever sampled. Juicy, smoky, meaty, and, despite being several inches thick, not chewy and tough like some all-meat burgers. And therein lies the burger’s secret weapon, or, at least, one of them.
The Landmass Burger is comprised of 75 percent Angus beef (a blend of brisket, short ribs, and shoulder) and 25 percent ground cremini, portabella, and button mushrooms. I’m not a huge fan of mushrooms, but was pleasantly surprised to learn the burger is a subtle, tasty meld of both elements.
Wade said that blending meat with mushrooms reduces calories, fat, and sodium while adding important nutrients like vitamin D, potassium, and B vitamins.
“A blended burger brings more sustainable, plant-based items to menus allowing Americans to enjoy the taste and flavor of the burgers they love, knowing it’s a healthier and more sustainable preparation,” said Wade. “This is one way to enjoy our favorite foods without sacrificing taste and it actually enhances the overall experience."
Sampling the Landmass burger during the opening was a thrill, but anyone can now partake of it. As the name suggests, there’s ample opportunity at TAP to partake of sports betting and adult beverages. However, if one is simply interested in a memorable meal, the focus on good food and a relaxing experience is evident upon entering the spacious, smoke-free environment beyond the gaming floors.
Inspired by its coastal location, TAP’s nautically-influenced interior contains elements of a luxury yacht, with walnut tabletops, touches of quartz, rustic wood flooring and stitched leather panels that offer a clean and tailored warmth to the open space. The addition to the Beau’s lineup of restaurant is a calm, relaxing oasis from the hustle and bustle of the casino action. Even better, menu offerings are hearty and affordably priced.
TAP’s self-described “elevated comfort food and American sports bar classics” include a variety of appetizers, salads, pizzas, soups and gumbo, sandwiches, burgers, and desserts. Right now, Wade’s Landmass Burger is featured seasonally, but after sampling it, I feel sure fans will call for it to be offered year-round.
Appetizers include typical choices as well as a few surprises, all created with the Beau’s signature flair. Selections include a serving of wings with your choice of flavor and dipping sauce ($13), beer-battered fried mushrooms with dipping sauce ($10), loaded tater tots ($7) topped with chili, jalapenos, queso, and dressing, queso fundido ($9), buffalo chicken dip with chips ($11), Bavarian pretzel with craft beer cheese sauce ($12), spinach and artichoke dip ($11), and loaded nachos ($12).
On the lighter side, salads and soups, ranging from Caesar salad ($11), seafood gumbo ($8), and short rib chili ($7) are perfect choices.
Despite 90-degree temperatures last week, one of Wade’s signature dishes, a bowl of steaming chili, was brought to our table for sampling. Filled with pecan-smoked short ribs, a spicy sauce, beans, and chipotle and served with even spicier jalepeno cornbread muffins, it’s a meal that shouldn’t be relegated to cooler weather. Also on the menu are a variety of pizzas, ranging from cheese ($15) to a build-your-own version ($17).
Now, to the sandwich and burger menu. The Landmass is not listed on the menu, but don’t let that stop you from asking for it. As I mentioned, you won’t be disappointed or hungry when you leave. Other choices include the house TAP burger ($14) dressed and topped with signature TAP sauce, chili cheese burger ($14), grilled chicken sandwich ($15), blackened triggerfish ($15), steak and fries ($19), and shrimp poboy ($14).
To top off your TAP meal, choose from among banana pudding and peanut butter pie (both $8) or chocolate cake ($12).
Everything on the menu is fresh, innovative and delicious. However, don’t leave until you’ve sampled the Landmass burger. At the very least, order it to go. Like the Gulf Coast, it keeps well in the heat and is even better the following day.
TAP Bistreaux is open Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
TAP Bistreaux is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday hours are 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Learn how to make your own Landmass Burger at home here!