ED NOTE: Evangeline closed in November of 2010. I will miss you crispy calf's brain fritter.
For Maine Restaurant Week this year, I decided to eat at Evangeline. I guess the point of MRW is to try a restaurant at which you can't normally afford to eat. (At least it is for me, cuz I'm broke.) So Roomie A. and I tagged along on the last installation of Edible Obsession's marathon dining session.
On this latest visit, I decided Evangeline needs a little decorating help. The restaurant looks very elegant in places (like from the outside) and has a really nice bar area with some cute little piggy door knockers as decoration. But I object to some of the prints on the wall. Do you remember how overplayed those Chat Noir posters were a while ago? Like that faux-French Moulin Rouge kinda style? (See here if you have no idea what I'm talking about.) Well, there are about 4 of these type posters high up on the wall. It's a small thing, but I get the late-90s willies when I look up at them.
Fortunately, the food is not affected by said faux-French styling. To start, I had the Cervelles de Veau or crispy calf’s brain fritter. The brain was rather small (makes sense, since they have small heads) and was fried nicely, with a creamy, soft white interior. Not at all what I thought brain would be like. The fritter was atop cabbage, capers, brown butter, and bacon, which provided a nice salty, smoky contrast.
Roomie A. had the Endive salad with Stilton, frisee, and toasted walnuts. I had a bite, and of course, enjoyed the walnuts and blue cheese combo. One of my favorites.
Here's Roomie A's Poulet Roti or lemon thyme roast half chicken with toasted pearl barley and haricot verts. I only snagged a bite of white meat, but the little I tasted was very juicy. The best part was the garlicky, lemony juices pooling on the plate.
The shining star of the meal was my entree (Uke of Edible Obsessions ordered the same)- Steak Frites. Steak! And Frites! Genius. Plus, my favorite vegetable is creamed spinach and I can think of nothing better than giving yourself permission to dip your fries in mayonnaise (when I do it at home it just seems a little sad).
The culotte steak wasn't tough at all and almost seemed like it had been braised. It was topped with an onion compote, sweet and saucy. The server didn't ask for a temp on my meat, and I trusted that the chef would cook it just right. It's nice to feel you can trust the kitchen to properly handle your meat.
Yeah, I've totally forgotten what kind of cheese this was. I know Uke will tell me... and that I should be duly impressed (It's Jasper Hill's Caspian). But at first I was a little thrown by this cheese. I'm kind of a cheese novice, I'll admit. It's only recently that I've embraced blues and other funky cheeses. But when I mixed in a little honey, toasted nut dust, and the little grape/raisin things you see below, I thoroughly enjoyed the flavor of this cheese.
Of course, for dessert, I couldn't pass up the chance to order creme brulee. I am a creme brulee hound, and I knew Evangeline would deliver a great one. The sugar was nice and thick and the custard silky, rich, and oh so awesome.
I sampled Uke's Valrhona chocolate semifreddo, which seemed a little dry to me. I realize dry is a weird word to describe ice cream, but that's what I think of. Like putting a spoonful of cocoa powder into your mouth. I must add that I am not a big chocolate girl, so maybe it's magical effects are just lost on me. I was just happy as a porker with my creme brulee.
Oh, and with all the reviews I'm reading of bad service and overwhelmed kitchens during Restaurant Week, I'll say that the service was excellent (same server I had last time, very attentive man!) and the timing and preparation of the food was excellent. We remarked how the restaurant did not seem busy (we did have a late reservation) and that all the guests were well behaved. While Evangeline was not officially participating in Restaurant Week, they did a great job of serving excellent food for only $30.10. So, thanks!