Before I describe the most redneck, rockin’ ribeye I have ever tried, I must attempt to set the scene for you.
Learned, Mississippi is located approximately 11 minutes away from my summer camp in Utica. [Note: Learned is pronounced “learn-Ed,” not “learned” that were taught in grammar school.] At camp last Saturday, our Mississippi-raised, extremely sarcastic, beloved camp director came over to my parents and me during lunch.
“You’ve gotta go to Gibb’s tonight for dinner. It’s only 10 minutes away, and they have the best filet and lamb I’ve ever had.”
Immediately, we judged. We had never witnessed true civilization between our summer camp and the more populated suburbs of Jackson, Mississippi. Plus, in all of our years visiting Jacobs Camp, we had never heard of the place. Nevertheless, we weren’t a fan of camp’s red beans and rice any way, so we got in the car and drove on over to Gibb’s. We had to write a check out to Camp in order to get enough cash since Gibb's only accepts cash. There aren't any ATM's around there, I assure you.
We knew we had arrived when cars were lined up the “Main Street” of Learned. We had heard that Gibb’s is only open for dinner on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, so demand clearly existed. My dad struggled to find a parking place surrounding the faded labeled “Gibb’s & Sons” country store, whose timid wooden structure and rocking chair-covered, wrap-around porch were somehow still standing.
The community-table dining style was adorable amidst the grocery store items covering the walls. Yes, we were convinced that the same Spam can had been sitting on the shelf behind me for at least twenty years.
The menu was small but covered the basics; that is, until we asked the waitress for specials. Alwaysask the waiter for specials when you dine at Gibb’s! They managed to have fresh squash from the backyard garden and four different kinds of fish from the Gulf.
All of us started with the salad. They were served on flower-lined paper plates—ultimate classiness—with pickled asparagus, tomatoes and onions. The homemade comeback sauce, served in Dixie cups (the kind you’d use for mouthwash at home), was great.
Julia, Mom and I ordered the filet, Alex got the rib eye, and Dad got the red fish. Holy moly. We were in disbelief. The quality was not just satisfactory for Learned…it was unbelievable for the whole state of Mississippi, if not the whole Delta.
I am not exaggerating when I claim that we seriously loved everything, especially the red fish. It was seasoned well and cooked to a flaky perfection. My favorite side was the yellow squash side with smothered onions. The sweet potato with syrup, butter and brown sugar came in a close second.
While I can’t imagine any of you will be in that neck of the woods anytime soon, keep Gibb’s on your radar. It’s a hidden treasure.