After a sunny February morning’s visit to the Fresh Market in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, my companions and I were in search of seafood. We spotted Mikey’s on the Bayou, its turquoise block building perched at water’s edge just below the Washington Avenue (Highway 609) bridge over Fort Bayou. We made a U-turn and circled back to the oyster-shelled lot, joining the several pickup trucks already parked there.

On the way up the ramp to the dining room, we saw the business side of this place: oyster shells heaped outside the back door, and a fishing boat for charters tied up at the dock.

Soon, platters of golden-fried fried oysters and shrimp, grilled snapper, crab claws and crab cakes were headed to our table, rounded out by baked potatoes, salads and the enormous glasses of iced tea that are served here winter and summer. Silence fell as we tucked into the meal, and it was a few minutes before we stopped to take stock and began to share.

The fried oysters and shrimp were lightly battered, not greasy in the least, and the hot and crispy crust complemented each tender, meaty bite. The crab cakes were light and delicately seasoned. The fish fillets were grilled to perfection with a good dash of garlic. I’m not a fan of iceberg lettuce, but with all that followed, even the traditional Gulf Coast fish house salad was a reasonable starter.

A southern girl, I love all manner of seafood prepared the Gulf Coast way, and wondered if I was just starved for the comfort of foods from my childhood, or was the meal really as good as it seemed?  My sister- and brother-in-law, who live here and know just about every place on the coast, put that thought to rest. “We can’t believe we’ve not been here before!” and “My goodness, we’ll definitely be back!

While we were eating, from the next table, we heard a polite command, “Bring me another dozen raw.” A few minutes later, a platter of the briny mollusks were delivered to the table. Shortly after that, trailing a whiff of garlic, another platter arrived, this time featuring Oysters Casino and Oysters Rockefeller, prepared New Orleans -style. All the shells heaped outside this Cajun resto provide plenty justification for a return visit!

As we were leaving, we couldn’t help but chuckle at the change in the automobile line-up outside.


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