Chef David Dickensauge is still a young man, but he has already been around the culinary block. He is a Gulfport native, but he bailed early and landed in New Orleans, where he worked at the famed Galatoire’s and Commander’s Palace. Then it was on to Chicago, Miami, New York, and Birmingham. He worked for trailblazing chefs like chef Charlie Trotter and is a devotee of Thomas Keller and his French Laundry restaurant in California. His last stop was in Baton Rouge, where he wowed the food scene with his Bin 77 restaurant.
If you are not a serious foodie, perhaps the names and places don’t impress. But what Dickensauge brings to the table in his just-opened Gulfport restaurant, Corks & Cleaver, is going to blow you away. The style is called modern American, as young chefs around the country are throwing the shackles off of the old French ways and blazing a new way. It is a path strewn with locally sourced and seasonal foods. You won’t find any of the heavy French sauces like hollandaise and Béarnaise, but you will find innovative pairings, stunning platings, and attention to detail that is nothing short of amazing.
The atmosphere is perfect. Food writer Cierra Duke called it “upscale but rustic,” and it’s hard to think of a better description: old brick walls, high, open beam ceilings, and wooden floors. The soft background music is a little jazzy and a little bluesy, another near-perfect combination.
But let’s get to the menu. It starts out with a bang of bits and bites, small plates, salads, flatbreads, and sandwiches. Check out the ash-cured beef belly tartare, duck confit beignets, smoked salmon BLT (the salmon comes from Max and Me, the same place Chef Keller gets his smoked salmon), or the prosciutto, fig, and bacon flatbread (shown in featured image). As unique as these pairings may sound, they are even better to taste.
The entrées are just as impressive. Take a look at the cold-smoked and poached shrimp and grits or the truffle-crusted wagyu beef tenderloin. If you have never tried wagyu beef before, your world is about to change. There is also a list of cheeses and charcuterie to choose from, some of which are house-made. You will love the Italian prosciutto de Parma, and the mortadella, Spanish Manchego, and English Stilton Blue.
Corks and Cleaver is a game changer for Gulfport. There simply is not another restaurant that offers this level of sophistication while still being down to earth and approachable. Stop by for lunch, a glass of wine, and a small plate, or an intimate dinner for two. Welcome home, Chef Dickensauge!
Corks & Cleaver
1308 27th Ave., Gulfport | 228.206.6310
Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5:30-10:30 p.m.