By Julian Brunt
Bay St Louis is popping at the seams. The weekend streets are crowded, it is not always easy to find a parking place, and shops, bars and restaurants are working overtime. There is so much to see and do in this little seaside town of about 13,000, but for me, there is only one choice when I am dining in The Bay, and that is Field’s Steak and Oyster Bar.
The restaurant is pleasant, with high ceilings, lots of wood and the bar is obviously a local hangout, but the reason I always stop here is Chef de Cuisine, Lauren Joffrion. This up and coming young she is absolutely on fire. Every dish that comes through her pass is beautifully plated, imaginative and delicious.
The menu, which changes three times a year, does not get lost in a hodgepodge that tries to cover too many bases; it has focus, with heavy emphasis on local seafood and culinary traditions, but bold enough to be decadent, in a refined way. When I visited for this story, I tried something from the du jour menu and am still reeling over it: an amazing (large) crab cake, topped with a perfectly fried soft-shell crab, on a bed of collards (oh, those collards!) and served with a homemade remoulade.
I love the pairings, but what really struck me was the attention that was paid to each ingredient. The crab cake, which had only enough breading to hold it together, was perhaps the best I have ever had. That would have been good enough to make the dish remarkable. But the soft-shell crab was perfect, crunchy yet still moist, too. I think what really got my attention was the greens. I am a collard green snob, to be sure, and Chef Lauren could have taken a short cut or two and this would still have been a great meal, but no, those greens were seriously good! What about the remoulade, you ask? Man, just get out of the way and give me a spoon!
Chef Lauren says she is, “Trying to impress local palates with interesting dishes they have never tried before, serving food that can only be found at Field's.” I think that there is no question that she has been successful. But she is modest with the success she has found and gives a lot of credit to her sous chef, Wayne Berthelot, another chef with the potential to go to places.
Best sellers at Field’s include the “Fork and Knife Burger”, with a flaming bordelaise sauce applied at the table, the “Double Smash Burger”, seafood nachos, and the gumbo, made with shrimp and crab, green onion sausage and a very dark roux. Other dishes that stood out were the steak po-boy, and the Chef’s Hand Cuts, all 28-day aged, hand cut, cast iron seared beef topped with wagyu butter, smoked rosemary and pepper crusted. Wow!
Field's Steak and Oyster Bar is worth a drive from anywhere in the state. Stay a day or two in this quaint little city, I think you will fall in love with it, and, of course, Field's.
111 Main Street, Bay Saint Louis