You’ve undoubtedly heard a thing or two about the James Beard awarded steakhouse, Doe’s Eat Place in Greenville’s and the restaurant’s famous steaks, tamales, and desserts. What you may not know is that a family-friendly, island paradise-type resort inspired by the lyrics and lifestyle of singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett is now open on Biloxi Beach. Even sweeter, Margaritaville Resort Biloxi is home to the state’s southern-most Doe’s. The restaurant offers a private spot to enjoy the restaurant’s signature steaks and dishes inside the bustling 23-story non-casino resort boasting a 50,000-square-foot entertainment center complete with zipline roller coaster, rock wall, and arcade games and 373 rooms and suites, many with a balcony overlooking the water and nearby Deer Island. Oh, and there’s also the on-site waterpark complete with lazy river, water slides, and swim-up refreshment bar. In short, it’s the perfect excuse to head south for a memorable meal, a fun hotel stay or both.
In true Margaritaville style, when you walk into the tasteful resort, you instantly feel like you’re on island time courtesy of soothing colors, smoke-free air and upbeat Caribbean, and, of course, Buffet tunes. Walking into the private cocoon of Doe’s is like stepping off the island into a relaxing, yet upscale, steakhouse. The original Doe’s in Greenville is famous for its rustic, dive-like appearance. This Doe’s couldn’t be more different in style and comfort. But the dissimilarities end there. Once you glance at the menu, you’ll see the same tamales, homemade salad and dressing, hand-cut fries, and, yes, assortment of juicy steaks identical to the original Doe’s are all yours for the taking.
First, a disclaimer: Doe’s is not for the seriously financially-challenged. Prices are in the mid-to-high range, but here’s the good part. Portions are so generous that each one can easily be shared with another person. Such was the case with the friend with whom I dined. We didn’t leave hungry, and there were even leftovers which the staff gladly packaged up for us.
The first item of business was sampling Doe’s famous tamales. I’d heard about them for years from my friend and Greenville native Walt Grayson. My Coast friend and I ordered a dozen plain tamales ($16) and were delighted to learn they lived up to the hype.
Light, flavorful, and break-apart tender are the three adjectives that come to mind. Unlike smothered tamales offered at Mexican restaurants, these were perfect sans heavy sauce or cheese. However, if you like chili and cheese, an additional $4 assures you’ll get your favorite toppings. Half dozen can also be ordered with or without chili and cheese ($9-$13).
You know a restaurant is above-average when you could easily order the entire meal from the appetizers section. Other selections that temped me and that I plan to try in the future include fried shrimp ($14-half dozen/$26 for a dozen), broiled shrimp ($15-$27), fried oysters ($12), crab claws ($16), and crab cakes ($18).
I’d also been told that no visit is complete without a side of Doe’s salad ($6). It’s a basic green salad with chopped vegetables, but the tangy, homemade dressing takes it to a new level. Once home, I made my own version of what I “believe” is in the dressing.
Other salads and soups on the menu are wedge salad ($7), crab and tomato salad ($13), seafood gumbo ($8-$10), and chili ($6).
Now, about those famous steaks. It’s hard to accurately describe how juicy, tender, and delicious they really are. During my visit, it was equally difficult for me to decide upon a steak from the broad selection. I finally settled on a two-pound cowboy ribeye ($48). Luckily, my friend wanted the same cut, so we decided to split the mammoth steak. There was plenty of steak for two, and, as I said, enough for lunch the following day. Our selection was flavorful, juicy, courtesy of plenty of pan scrapings and juice, and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Believe me, I’m still daydreaming about that steak.
To accompany our meal, my friend chose a loaded potato ($7) filled with sour cream, bacon, and cheese, while I selected a twice baked potato, also $7. To say it was one of the creamiest, most delicious potatoes I’ve ever tasted would not be an understatement. With six slices of crunch garlic toast to share ($5), our steak dinner was everything and more we thought it would be.
Other sides (all in the $5 to $7 range) are a half-pound of hand-cut fries, sautéed mushrooms or onions, vegetable of the day, and sautéed crab topping for any of your choices.
I’m perfectly comfortable recommending the cowboy ribeye, but there are others from which to choose. I’ve heard glowing reviews for each of them, including the filet ($30 for 6-ounce/$45 for 10-ounce), 1-pound bone-in New York strip ($34), 1-1/2-pound t-bone ($38), and 2-pound Porterhouse ($55).
If steak isn’t on your mind, there are other menu items that will more than satisfy, including shrimp spaghetti with garlic toast ($29), fried catfish ($28), fried chicken platter ($28), and fresh catch of the day ($32).
At the end of one of the largest and, as a result, most filling steak dinners of my life, I didn’t think dessert was a viable option. However, after our friendly waiter described the key lime pie, I just had to have a slice. Sharing a piece with my friend was the smart thing to do, but in hindsight, I wish I’d ordered my own slice.
After tasting one bite of the tangy, creamy pie, I was immediately transported back to the island upon which Margaritaville is based. It was a little slice of heaven on a plate and yes, I will be making a return visit solely for another slice of that pie.
Other desserts in the $6 to $7 range are Mississippi mud cake, peanut butter pie, bread pudding, and lemon icebox pie. Each one is homemade and if they’re anything like the key lime pie, you won’t go wrong by ordering any of them.
I can now check “Eat a Doe’s steak and tamales” off my bucket list. Unlike many bucket list items that don’t quite meet one’s expectations, Doe’s met and even surpassed what I had initially hoped it would be.
There are other Doe’s locations throughout the state, including Florence and Ridgeland and, of course, the original in Greenville, but for a truly memorable experience, I recommend visiting the Biloxi resort. The personal service of Doe’s staff enhanced by the fun vibe of the sprawling resort and best of all, those famous tamales and steaks, set the bar high for an overall outstanding visit and dining experience.
Doe’s Eat Place is located in Margaritaville Resort, 195 Beach Blvd in Biloxi. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m. and until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.