Ever since moving here from Louisiana a year ago, I have been homesick for food. I was told to head south to Evangeline's for a taste of home in the form of good gumbo, red beans, and poboys.
I went there tonight and I was completely disappointed. My girlfriend got a cup of the red beans and rice with sausage and made a face when she tasted it. I tried it and we agreed that it tasted as thought it was made with a Zataran's mix out of a box. The sausage tasted like turkey sausage (not good in this context) and hadn't been grilled or sauteed before it was added to the beans. This is pretty important, as that completely changes the taste.
Next up was a cup of the chicken and sausage gumbo. Again, with the turkey sausage. The gumbo was overly thick and gummy and had a taste a little like vinegar in the background. Too many bay leaves had been added to the pot and that flavor was really overpowering. The roux was dark, yes, but tasted as if it were on the wrong side of burnt. Another disappointment.
My girlfriend got a fried shrimp poboy and didn't like it at all. For starters, the bread is all wrong. It's great bread and very tasty, to be sure. But it is completely wrong for using in a poboy. The bread here was super thick and dense with a heavy crust. The poboy ingredients get completely lost in it. There is a reason that poboys are served on light, flaky bread---the ingredients (which are the point) are allowed to shine. The bread at Evangeline's would have been great for a big Italian sandwich but made a lousy poboy. Furthermore, the shrimp were overly breaded. Once the breading was removed, the shrimp were great--tender and mildly buttery. I think we're both firm believers in not over-breading fried seafood. Just toss it in some seasoned cornmeal and have at it. I shudder to think of what they do to friend oysters there.
Next up, the fried pickles. I've had a hard time finding fried pickles in Austin that aren't the entire spears. They were pretty good but, like the shrimp, overly breaded. Again, just toss the things in a little cornmeal. They're pickles, they don't need a lot of decoration.
Last, I got an order of the boudin. This was my favorite part of the meal, probably because it wasn't made in-house. Granted, it wasn't perfect. They could have served a slightly spicier version and grilled it so the outside casing was crispy, but it was still tasty.
Overall, I was disappointed. It's not a horrible restaurant, but it is by no means an authentic Louisiana/Cajun/Creole restaurant. I'm about to just stop looking. It's not like I expected to move here and eat the same things I did back home, but I kept seeing all these places advertising Louisiana food.
My next try is the Real New Orleans Restaurant in Round Mountain (about an hour west). An entire congregation from New Orleans East moved out here following Katrina and opened a restaurant. I remember seeing their signs (Smokin' for Jesus!) when I would drive out on Chef Menteur. I have admittedly much higher hopes for them.
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