8106 Brodie Ln.
Austin, TX 78745
Let’s set the record straight. Evangeline Bellefontaine, the Acadian transplanted to Louisiana and heroine of Longfellow’s famous epic poem, is fictional. However, the culture and Cajun cuisine her name embodies is most definitely alive and well at a neat little South Austin restaurant on Brodie Lane. Welcome to Evangeline Café.
Owner Curtis Clark, handle-bar mustache and all, is straight out of the Atchafalaya and his dishes remind me of what a little road ouse near the great Louisiana swamp would be all about. We have to start with the Oysters Contraband. A classic Cajun treat, the oysters are fried and served on house-made potato chips with a beautiful spicy sausage remoulade sauce (the French equivalent of tartar sauce). New to the menu are the Gator Bites. These tender, fried white morsels of alligator meat are not the least bit gamey and sparkle in a smooth Cajun aioli sauce. For some, the Boudin is an acquired taste but for me this spicy pork sausage with Cajun veggies and rice is a mandatory order on virtually each visit. The texture makes or breaks this dish and Evangeline’s gets it. And we must mention the Gumbo. Try the seafood version with oysters, shrimp and crab and a ruddy, delicious roux. This is vintage fare and it rocks!
Cajun fare is also about the famous Po Boy sandwiches. The Peacemaker Po Boy is about fried oysters on a fresh baguette. The name comes from the legend that 19th century New Orleans husbands would bring one home, after a late night of revelry, to appease the offended wife. And the Soft Shell Crab Po Boy is another delight. These are beautifully fried Gulf Blue Crabs and the taste is exquisite. And Evangeline offers up a great version of the New Orleans Muffuletta. The key to this monstrous concoction of ham, salami and provolone is the olive salad, and the flavors in this sandwich are spot on.
The entrees at Evangeline afford a tasty glimpse into the complex world of tastes and textures that comprise Cajun and Creole cuisine. I absolute love the Crawfish Étouffée. The blonde roux is perfect over the tender morsels of crawfish. This one you eat with a spoon: every last drop! And the Gold Band Creole is deep-fried and breaded jumbo shrimp served over fettuccine with a very spicy Creole sauce. The gold band is the parmesan cheese that sits atop this lovely dish. And you have not lived until you’ve tried the Alligator Sauce Piquant. A Piquant is a legendary Louisiana sauce that begins with a tomato-based roux that in this variation adds zest to tender Gator tail meat. The flavors are irresistible! And I must mention the Catfish with Crawfish Macque Choux. The beauty of this dish is the flavor that the creole corn chowder (macque choux) imbues into the sautéed catfish. The crawfish is the perfect accompaniment.
No meal at Evangeline is complete without a bite of the breathtaking Homemade Bread Pudding or the intriguing Miranda’s Pecan Praline Pistolette. This place is as authentic as one could ask for: both in ambiance and cuisine. A real jewel in South Austin.