On Saturday night my family and I ate at Evangeline for a anniversary dinner for my parents. It is a classic French restaurant, with simple and classy decor that fits the motif nicely. We were seated by the window, and served pat-a-choux with Gruyere amuse that was warm, light, and delicious.
We ordered a red from Languedoc, but they were out of that particular bottle and our waitress offered a suggestion of something different that was very good. Overall, the staff was very attentive and helpful. They served bread (which was really not very good) and butter (which was good, although lacked salt).
We ordered three "entrees" to start (appetizers), which included ecargots, frog's legs, and calf's brains. The escargot had decent flavor, but they were very small and hardly the best we'd ever had. The frog's legs were very well cooked with great flavor, but again, quite small. We are not heavy portion people either, so when I say small I mean it! The calf's brains were lightly fried with a leek and bacon accompaniment, and they were quite good. All in all, the flavors were solid on the first course, but the portions were quite small and that left a part of 5 people hungry for more.
For our main courses, my mother ordered the cod, my sister the lobster dish (with a vanilla-rutabaga sauce), my father the steak frites, my wife the halibut (with a ratatouille and sauce romesco), and myself the pork.
This is where the evening went downhill. We were some of the last folks in the restaurant when this course was served and the steak, lobster, and cod all came out cold. The lobster was literally ice cold. We asked the waitstaff about what we could do and they offered to remake everything. We had them remake the cod and lobster, and they served a small endive salad to my mom and sister while they waited. My dad ate the steak, even though it was not hot, and said it did have good flavor. The frites were also not very hot. Once we got everything cooked correctly, the meal had a lot of nice aspects. The cod was very well cooked, as was the halibut. The halibut dish was really solid, and the lobster dish was unique and surprisingly tasty - we didn't know what to expect with the vanila-rutabaga sauce. The pork dish was nice, with tasty leek and apples. It was pork two ways, a roulade from head meat and tenderloin. I thought the roulade was very good, but felt the tenderloin was a bit overcooked. Overall, the flavor of the meal was great and I was satisfied.
However, given that we were delivered cold meals, we expected some gesture from then house to remedy this. We received nothing but a bill (including being charged for our coffees). Having spent many years in the business, both in the front of the house and back of the house, I was fairly disappointed with how the management dealt with this issue. The kitchen clearly mad a mistake in finishing the main courses, and the least they could have done was provide us coffee on the house. That along with the size of the first course will likely keep us from returning to Evangeline, even though I think the chef has talent. If they can tighten up their operation, I think they have a good thing going, but frankly it was a disappointing anniversary meal at a place with a serious amount of potential.
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