Evangeline Cafe[SW Austin]
This joint deserves it's own thread.I've eaten there several times and it's good to hear Curtis[the owner who apparently doesn't have a home...his home is a barstool at the counter]has the Softshell Crab Po-Boy everybody is lusting over.But whatever you do don't skip the Oysters Contraband appetizer.Baby fist sized Fried Oysters,briny and plump,straddle thick,housemade potato chips and are drizzled with Andouille Remoulade....chefs have been jailed in Puritan provinces for putting such decadence on a plate and serving it up.Evangeline is about 140 blocks from my house and I still regularly trek down Brodie for a plate of his Cajun goods
Thanks for the tips. It was a good idea to start the topic up on its own. Just to connect with some of the conversation about this place that was already catching my interest, here are a few links to other threads that mention EC (among other places).
On a rare escape from a large pile of work, I checked out Evangeline Cafe recently. The soft-shell-crab po’boy was as good as I’d hoped it would be, after reading saticoy’s and Twill’s descriptions [on the first thread that Knoblauch links to, above]. The very fresh crab was simply battered and well fried in the kind of simple, good preparation that you’d get at a seafood shack right next to the beach. I could almost see the ocean as I closed my eyes and took the first bite. The cornmeal-dusted New-Orleans-style French bread was flavorful and well-toasted enough to hold up well, though I had followed saticoy’s advice and asked for the spicy remoulade on the side. The sandwich was served with shredded romaine lettuce, hamburger-dill pickle slices, and thin rounds of tomatoes and onions.
However, I kind of regretted not ordering the soft-shell crab in the Gold Band Creole preparation that Curtis [the owner] mentions in Honey Bee’s post above: Gold Band Creole means served with a spicy creole sauce, aioli, chives, and parmesan cheese on fettuccine pasta. A colleague ordered this dish with shrimp, and the few tastes that I had were good. The flavorful shrimp were coated in bread crumbs, along with some blackening seasoning, and fried until crunchy. The pasta was actually cooked al dente, and the tomato-based creole sauce was quite spicy. A pistolette (basically a fried, yeasty bread-roll) accompanied this dish.
The oysters contraband were just as good as scrumptious promised they would be. The oysters were fat; though mild, they were flavorful. I should add that I hit a couple of tasteless duds in the order of six, which made me momentarily doubt the deliciousness of this dish. The housemade fried potato chips were very good, but it was the incredibly rich and creamy andouille remoulade that really hit the spot. The delicious sauce wasn’t masking bad ingredients, as sauces often do. I will say, however, that the sauce would be good by itself. With those potato chips, of course.
I just got one taste of the dark-roux seafood gumbo. The broth was medium-thin, if that makes sense, and full of large shrimp, whole oysters, and shredded crab, along with plenty of finely-chopped okra. It had a subtle spiciness up front, followed by a long lingering one. It was a compelling spoonful.
Evangeline’s bread pudding is of the dense-loaf type. By that I mean that the bread molds into a new brick-like structure rather than retaining the shape of torn-up individual bread pieces. It was homey, with good flavors in it: pecans, raisins, chocolate chips, along with a caramel sauce.
All in all, this was a pretty good lunch. Thanks for the tips, everyone.
Being a Far South Austinite, this is one of my normal stops.
I would say that your experience with the oysters regarding "duds" is not at all unusual -- in fact, that ratio is probably average for them. I've gotten entire oysters contraband / oyster po-boys that were loaded with semi-rank, dubious greyish blobs of "duds" that were far worse than "tasteless", as you put it. It is bad enough that I probably won't order either of these dishes again (which is a shame, since they can be pretty darn good if the seafood is fresh).
That being said, this is probably one of Far South Austin's better joints. I've been meaning to put together a full report on Evangeline, and maybe I'll get around to it.