From the service to the atmosphere, and most especially the food, Parrish’s Restaurant and Lounge is a must visit for any food lover on the Coast. Perfect for date nights, dinner with friends or a family brunch, Parrish’s provides an experience to suit any occasion and all tastes.
Parrish’s takes advantage of its excellent location at the edge of the Long Beach Harbor, with its high-rise building and full-length windows treating patrons to beautiful views of the water, wildlife and sunset. Within a few minutes of sitting down, we spotted a red fish and a black drum nibbling on the buoys in the water, and we sat eye-level with seagulls, pelicans and herrings as they patrolled the Gulf waters for their next meal. John McCusker, the restaurant manager, says two dolphins often are spotted in the harbor corralling fish for their Sunday brunch — a spectacle patrons can enjoy while waiting for their own meals.
Parrish’s has a vibe of laid-back elegance, and at every turn, guests see pictures of local coastal scenes that mirror the views available from the windows. There’s a snapshot of Pete, Parrish’s own pelican poltergeist, whose distinctive wing markings and mischievous demeanor make him identifiable to the staff. In the dining room, the cool blue accents on the napkins — which are carefully folded and arranged on the distressed-white tables, each set with a flower and a candle — invite patrons to relax and enjoy every aspect of the dining experience. The smooth sounds of live music drift into the dining room from the lounge just across the split foyer, providing a pleasant backdrop for dinner conversation.
Our server, Ashley, dressed in a crisp, white button-down shirt and a cool-blue tie perfectly matched to the surrounding decor, welcomed us and recommended drinks from the recently created cocktail menu. Ashley explained that many of the items on the cocktail menu cannot be found anywhere else, as Parrish’s bartenders imagine unique twists to traditional drinks, crafted with house-made syrups and infusions and freshly squeezed juices. I started with the Harbor Sunset, billed as Parrish’s signature cocktail, and my husband enjoyed a Watermelon Sour.
Parrish’s menu features a vast array of land and sea offerings from the starters all the way through the entrees. Executive Chef Ally Bullock implemented a farm-to-table concept in her kitchen, using local vendors to supply the dishes for Parrish’s menu. On our visit, we started with a delicious seafood bread, featuring fresh Gulf shrimp, blue crab and crawfish covered with a cream cheese blend and flavored with Cajun seasonings, all served on fresh French bread au gratin.
For an entree, I chose one of the fish specials: a triple-tail filet stuffed with a creamed spinach sauce and topped with lump crabmeat. My husband went for the wagyu tomahawk, an extravagant meal and easily enough for two. He resembled a medieval king as the gigantic cut of wagyu beef, slow-roasted and grilled to perfection, was set before him, along with sides of grilled asparagus and sautéed squash and zucchini. Try as we might, we were unable to finish the spread, and Mr. McCusker graciously wrapped up the leftovers — which we enjoyed for the next two days.
Parrish’s lounge provided the perfect place to relax and enjoy a glass of wine before indulging in the kitchen’s delectable dessert offerings. Slightly more casual than the restaurant, the lounge houses a full bar, table service with comfortable, high-back lounge chairs and live music from local talent. From the overstuffed couches, we enjoyed the nighttime view of the Harbor and the smooth jazz sounds of local singer Sully Wilson.
We completed our evening with a chocolate mousse from Carousel Cakes in Baton Rouge and a house-made whiskey caramel bread pudding with white chocolate topping, Chef Ally’s own special take on bread pudding. Somehow both robust and light, the bread pudding stole the show and was the perfect ending to a night we could’ve happily enjoyed forever. When we left, we felt as though we were parting as friends — not with a goodbye, but with a resounding, “See you soon.”
Parrish’s Restaurant and Lounge is open Tuesday- Thursday from 4-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 4-10 p.m., and Sunday for brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. More about the restaurant can be found online at www.parrishslbms.com and on Facebook, @parrishslbms.