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Fine eating in central Mississippi

Executive Dining

Beechwood, Vicksburg

Beechwood in Vicksburg has been in business for as long as we can remember. When we first began reviewing restaurants, we noted their ad in the Jackson yellow pages.

It is one of those places that we had intended to try but it just never worked out, until a couple of months ago when we happened to be visiting the Hill City and could find no other place to eat without a lengthy wait. Almost as a last-minute maneuver, we opted to stop in and found out that we have been missing some fine eating all these years.

We had in our company a family friend of many years who is a real aficionado of shrimp. She was torn between the jumbo fried shrimp platter ($11.95) and the Shrimp Lover’s Plate, which comes with jumbo fried shrimp, jumbo Cajun grilled shrimp and jumbo shrimp scampi with all the trimmings for $15.98. She chose the latter and managed to devour her way through the heavily laden plate of assorted shrimp, the Beechwood fries, a nice-sized salad and bread, leaving nothing for a doggie bag.

My lovely companion found herself in a dilemma, having to choose between two of her all-time favorite meals, the deep-sea scallops ($11.95) and the soft-shell crabs ($10.50 for one or $12.98 for a pair).

When I ordered the Fisherman’s Plate (which includes scallops), she pounced upon the pair of soft-shell crabs. I managed to get only one scallop off of my plate — which was excellent and on a par with the couple of bites of softshell crab that I managed to scavenge.

There are grilled catfish fillets, a shrimp and oyster platter, fried catfish, fried shrimp and catfish, blackened redfish, stuffed shrimp, frog legs, oysters, stuffed crabs, broiled snapper fillets, fried and broiled trout Almondine and broiled lobster tails.

These are priced from $8.98 to $13.98 with the lobster tails at market price.

There is a large array of steaks enumerated on the bill of fare. Priced from $13.98 to $17.98, these include 10- and 12-ounce ribeyes, 14-ounce sirloin strips and 16-ounce ribeyes and T-bones. For an additional dollar one may order any of these blackened.

All are served with fries or baked potato with sour cream, salad, hot rolls and butter.

There’s the usual disclaimer that one finds in most restaurants that serve beef: “We cannot guarantee the tenderness of a well-done steak.” My ribeye had a robust, beefy taste with a good texture. I rate it a seven and a half on a scale of one to 10.

What with all of the fresh seafood available, my tendency is to stick with it rather than the beef. If, however, you are a determined beef-eater, then this beef suffices nicely.

There are several combos. Among others we noted a 6-ounce filet is served with shrimp or lobster tail and a chicken breast served with sweet and sour jumbo shrimp.

We have not taken advantage of the lunches, but as large and nicely cooked as those jumbo shrimp and large succulent oysters were, we would surmise that the po’boys ($6.98 with fries) would be simply divine. Burgers, grilled cheese, barbecue beef, BLT, roast beef, ham and cheese, club, patty-melts and steak sandwiches are listed along with an open-faced hot roast beef which is served with fries.

Service is down-home friendly, but can be stretched during peak periods (which are most any evening).

Expect some waits both for seating and for your food. Reservations are accepted and we highly recommend them.

The rustic, bare-wood dining room is supplemented by the strains of music filtering in from the back room, where live entertainment is the order of the day and one can recognize the location from blocks away — merely by the myriad of cars literally surrounding the building each night.

We think it is worth the short drive to Mississippi’s Hill City and we shall be returning periodically.

Beechwood is located at the intersection of Mississippi 27 and U.S. 80 highways (just off the I-20 exit 5B) in Vicksburg. Hours are from 11 a.m. until 10:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and until 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Major credit cards accepted. Limited handicap accessibility due to space. Non-smoking section available. Reservations recommended. Telephone — (601) 636-3761.

Kim Long Chinese Restaurant, Jackson

In an establishment that is literally filled with anomalies, the Kim Long Chinese Restaurant serves up some mighty fine food. To begin with, this “Chinese” restaurant has a Vietnamese name and is run by Vietnamese. Then this “Chinese” restaurant serves up some pretty fine broiled shrimp and steamed crablegs on its Friday and Saturday evening buffet. For $8.95 one can indulge in snowcrab legs to one’s heart’s content — or broiled shrimp, or both — in addition to the dozen or so Far Eastern-flavored entrees plus fruit and dessert. The buffet is served from 4:30 p.m. until 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday evenings. Monday through Thursday the evening buffet (sans shrimp and crab) costs $7.45 and lasts until 9:30 p.m. Weekday buffet is served seven days from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. at a cost of $5.25.

On Saturday there is a special treat for the adventuresome gastronome. From 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., one can order and enjoy Vietnamese dishes — the specialty of those laboring in the kitchen — that cannot be acquired elsewhere in the state to my knowledge. These are ordered from the menu and are priced accordingly. If you’ve never tried Vietnamese food and have a desire to do so, this is your opportunity. Call the restaurant for additional details.

Otherwise, the menu is the same, typical, garden-variety mixed bag of Sino-American cuisine that one finds in most places of this genre throughout the state.

Kim Long is closed on Sunday evenings.

Kim Long Chinese Restaurant is located at 6351 I-55 North (The Junction Shopping Center). Hours are from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. seven days, and from 4:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Handicap accessible. Non-smoking section available. Telephone — (601) 991-3199.

Bill Patrick’s column appears regularly in the Mississippi Business Journal. He has written extensively about restaurants for more than a dozen years and has served in the kitchen, dining room, behind the bar and as a food service inspector.


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