by The Great Foodini
The Courtside Café at the Bayou Bluff Tennis Club is a hidden gem on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Diners can settle in and enjoy a 100-person indoor dining room when the Mississippi monsoons roll in; or when the nights are just right, many can be seen sitting on the back deck, while a gentle breeze blows off the tranquil Bernard Bayou as the sun lazily sinks behind a forest of magnolia, pine and Spanish moss-clad live oaks.
“Many people do not realize that you don’t have to be a member of the club to eat at the café,” said Lisa Metz. “The Café is perfect for people who want to drop in and have nice lunch in a friendly and laid back atmosphere,” Metz added.
Chef Diana Myrick, who has over a decade of experience in the kitchen, works daily on creations like the popular bayou shrimp, which is a generous heap of lightly breaded and golden brown shrimp drizzled with a sauce known as ranch with a kick served over a bed of mixed greens. This dish can be served as an appetizer or an entrée salad.
After a hearty warm-up of other starters like the seafood gumbo, which is filled with shredded blue crab meat and claws or shrimp tacos, diners are in for a lunchtime treat with the shrimp and crabmeat poboy.
The shrimp and crabmeat poboy is a hand and mouthful of fresh shrimp and meaty 100% pure American blue crab piled high.
Another popular lunch option is the Metz Buffalo chicken sandwich named after the general manager who has been overseeing operations at the Café for more than a decade.
The Metz buffalo chicken sandwich is a chicken breast filet battered and fried on a sourdough bun slathered in a house buffalo sauce and topped with a hefty portion of thick bacon strips and melted white American cheese.
“I’ve been here long enough that part of the menu is named after me,” Metz said amongst the laughter of many regulars who were enjoying cocktails from the café’s full bar in the lantern light and occasional flicker from a firefly on the back deck.
One of the most popular entrée dishes on the menu is the stuffed flounder. This flounder is creamy, crunchy and savory all in one bite. Consider it the seafood version of comfort food. It is light-tasting and buttery stuffed with jumbo lump crab and a white wine cream. The best sides to pair this dish with are the whole-leaf sautéed spinach drenched in a parmesan-butter sauce and loaded red-skinned mashed potatoes with bacon and cheese.
The café has a fun flair to it with a large contingent of regulars who find it a shady oasis.
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