Evangeline Cafe
(512) 282-2586
8106 Brodie Ln.

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Mon-Sat:
11am-9:30pm
   


(October 8, 2004)

If you spend any time in southern Louisiana, you will undoubtedly run across many descendents of Acadians who are smitten with one Evangeline Bellafontaine, the central character of an 1847 poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Evangeline was an Acadian, forced to leave Nova Scotia in 1755, who eventually settled, along with many of her comrades, in Louisiana. The merger of the two cultures created some enduring folk tales, along with some rather amazing "cajun" cuisine. And even though Longfellow's Evangeline was totally fictitious, she exists today as a source of ethnic pride for many Cajuns.

So it's not too hard to determine Curtis Clark's origins: as the owner of Evangeline Cafe at 8106 Brodie Lane, and as a transplanted Cajun, he is doing his part to keep the legend, and the cuisine alive.

Evangeline Cafe is a cozy, little joint in S. Austin. The fare is authentic and prepared with much pride and creativity. The appetizers make you think you're catching a breath of that stale yet sweet swamp air from the Atchafalaya. Not everyone likes Boudin, a Cajun mixture of spicy pork, vegetables and rice in a sausage casing. Every family has its own take on the classic recipe, but Evangeline Cafe nails it. Equally interesting is the stuffed Pistolette, a small french roll stuffed with shrimp or crawfish and a lovely cheese cream sauce. Also delightful are the Oysters Contraband, served on homemade potato chips with a sinful Jalapeno Remoulade. The texture of this dish is intriiguing and the taste sensations alone are worth the price of admission. And of course there's the Gumbo. Evangeline's is mixture of chicken and sausage with a fairly strong roux. I prefer a milder roux, but the flavor rush is authentic.

The entrees run the gamut of what you would expect at a Cajun eaterie. The Shrimp Etoufee feature a blonde, buttery roux served over rice. The taste is on the money. Very mellow and savory. Equally good is the Crawfish Evangeline. I love the little crawfish tails simmered in cream and cheese and served over fettucine. Yeah cher! The Jambalaya is a heady mix of chicken and sausage with rice, tomatoes, onions, celery, and bell peppers. This is one of the better Jambalayas around. I like its earnest, straight forward presentation and the taste is uncompromising. And the Red Beans and Rice, a Cajun classic, while not my favorite, are also good. The beans are slow cooked with sausage and vegetables and presented with steamed rice. And if you're a fan of catfish, you'll enjoy the vintage, fried version that Evangeline Cafe offers up.

And there are sandwiches. The Cheeseburger is an old Cajun recipe that produces a thunderous taste blast. Upon pain of decapitation, I can't reveal to you the secret. But try one. They are really good. Likewise for the Po-Boys. The Shrimp is my favorite, and I recommend the gettting the shrimp fried. With a zesty remoulade, the sandwich works well. The Oyster and Crawfish Po-Boys are also good.

They've got music here as well on the weekends with Zydeco bands holding forth. The servers are amiable and congenial, and while the place is not long on ambiance, it's got and abundance of Cajun soul. So come out and see Curtis and the gang at Evangeline Cafe. Who knows, maybe you'll be moved to write an epic poem about your experience as well.

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