Field report: Evangeline Cafe

Brief reviews of restaurants that missed the cut for the Fed Man 55
Evangeline Cafe
8106 Brodie Lane. 512-282-2586,
Hours: Mon-Thu 11am-9:30pm. Fri-Sat 11am-10pm. Closed Sun.
By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 01.15.13
A few of the tables at this strip-center Cajun cafe are embedded with Abita bottle caps. The kids can tip back a bottle of Abita Root Beer while you go after everything else they brew: TurboDog stout, raspberry Purple Haze, crisp and dry Restoration Ale or the hop-crazy Jockamo. I had that beer for the first time at Mama Roux, the late Cajun/Creole cafe. Evangeline isn’t in Mama’s league, but it’s a taste of Louisiana without an overload of Mardi Gras nonsense. Just straightforward cafe cooking, with appetizers from $4-$12, po’ boys and muffulettas from $7-$10 and main courses starting with red beans and rice for $8 on up to $17 for stuffed redfish..
When Evangeline says a “cup” of gumbo, they mean a mug, a thick, diner-style coffee cup with a chipped rim. The chicken and sausage gumbo simmers with the weed-meadow twang of filé, a solid fit with chunks of spicy sausage and tender dark-meat chicken. Red beans and rice do their jobs like they’re just punching a clock, getting better throughout dinner as the liquor starts to firm up.
Get a catch-all taste of Louisiana’s mild side with a plate of lightly fried catfish smothered in macque choux liberally sprinkled with fat crawfish tails and corn, all of it over white rice. The heat, what little of it there is, sneaks up on you, and the fish lies back, keeping its sandy personality on the down-low. They make a decent po’ boy here, on wide, flat bread like a cross between French and ciabatta, toasted to stand up to knobby fried oysters and their coterie of shredded lettuce and sliced tomato. Evangeline lays its stamp on the sandwich with Evangeline Sauce that’s sweet like pickle relish and creamy like mayo. Thousand Island, translated for the Delta.
The praline pistolette at Evangeline Cafe hides a fistful of pecans in a fried French roll with caramel sauce. A top-shelf dessert for $3.99 in pursuit of a more rounded experience. Now I am more round.
(TOP: Clockwise from top left: Catfish and crawfish macque choux; chicken-and-sausage gumbo and red beans and rice; Abita Root Beer and Restoration Ale; an oyster po' boy. INSET: A praline pistolette with caramel sauce and Community Coffee. Photos by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)