Biloxi’s Scarlet Pearl: A work in progress

The Biloxi Bay Bridge at sunset
The Biloxi Bay Bridge at sunset

If you call Biloxi’s Scarlet Pearl you will find that it is scheduled to open in December and then plan to wait on hold with their voicemail system for an extended period of time while waiting for someone to answer.  When you get through you will find that it is December 2015 and they are now open for business but just haven’t changed their voicemail system.  The building and grounds are quite attractive for the most part and will be prettier when the sidewalks are completed.

Currently they are advertising a special at the Waterfront Buffet where you can get 50% off if you are 50 or older.  The caveat is that you have to join the casino’s rewards club and pay in cash.  Why cash?  Hard to say but apparently they don’t trust credit/debit cards or expect you to use up your credit cards gambling.  Once you have gone through the rewards club line and joined the club, you then proceed to their casino kiosk to validate the card and play their game for new members to win some free plays on the slot machines.

After winning $5 on the kiosk and trying to use it on the slot machines, it didn’t work.  So, flagging down a “Red Shirt,” they tried the card and then suggested going back to the rewards club desk.  Back at the rewards desk they said that this has been a problem and confirmed that the card didn’t have anything on it.  So it was back to the kiosk to run the card again.  After playing the game a second time and watching the digital disk fall along the same path into the same digital “Win $5” slot it was back to the slot machines.

At the slot machine, after transferring the $5 credit to the machine, it seemed reasonable to hit the “Maximum Bet” button to bet the whole $5.  Instead the machine when to $9.  Cashing out the bet and starting over didn’t work, so it was back to trying to wave down another “red shirt.”  The “red shirt” didn’t know what to do and called someone else over.  All in all it took almost two hours to work through the red tape, get the membership card, and finally gamble away the free $5 in one push of a button.  The question is, was the food worth it?

The Waterfront Buffet

Waterfront is perhaps a misnomer if you are expecting to see the Mississippi gulf, though you can see a bit of the back bay if you look out the back window.  The buffet price on a weekday night was $19.99 so ten dollars plus tax after the 50% off for being old.  After spending the time signing up for the mandatory rewards club there was only half an hour before the buffet was to close.  By that time grill was already in the process of closing down and the rest of the food had been sitting for awhile.

The salad bar offered a choice of spring mix or romaine and unlabeled salad dressings.  The Italian and the lumpy Balsamic dressings were decent but nothing spectacular.  For the most part the hot foods were desiccated or cold.  After scraping the top layer away the fried rice was better than the average $5.95 Chinese buffet.  The seafood gumbo didn’t have a bad flavor but the seafood in it had a gummy consistency and had been probably been cooking all day.  The fried chicken was overly salty (this is from one who will put extra salt in salsa at Mexican restaurants.)

The corn on the cob tasted as if it had been boiled with seafood giving it a fishy taste.  This may have been an aftertaste of the gumbo which was difficult to eliminate.  The food in general left the mouth feeling like a good brushing to get the congealed grease off the teeth and tongue.  The cheesecake desert was of the variety one might find at a cheap Chinese buffet and was actually on the chewy side.  The service was surprisingly good from the bus boy, Britton, who asked how things were multiple times, apologized sincerely, and made sure there was sufficient soda to wash things down.

While walking through the casino before heading out a fellow walked up and complained that his rewards card didn’t work after running it through the kiosk.  After walking him up to the rewards desk and getting him help, he apologized for mistaking this writer for a casino employee.  Maybe a couple hours chatting with staff makes you blend in with them.  In general, the service staff was quite nice and they were not surprised to hear that the buffet food was bad and knew their system wasn’t working right.

At this point the Scarlet Pearl needs work, isn’t working systematically, and the food is overpriced and mediocre at best.  It may be that this was a really, really bad night for the casino but none of the staff were surprised to hear that the food was bad and their system glitchy and had heard it before.  Since their voicemail system says it will be opening in December, it may be best to wait until December 2016 and give it another go then.  At this point the Scarlet Pearl scores a solid 1 out of 5 for places to eat in Biloxi.  Check out Slap Ya Momma’s BBQ Smokehouse for a nice dinner or the Beijing Super Buffet for an inexpensive Chinese Buffet.

For more about National Tourism Examiner and creator of the Join The Parade card game, John N. Collins, find him on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook.