Earlier this week, I enjoyed a $30 three-course fixed menu (available only on Monday night) at Evangeline. Easy to understand why Chef Eric Desjarlais (who teams with his wife, Krista Kerns Desjarlais, of Bresca, on this Monday night special) is increasingly gaining national attention for his French-inspired fare crafted with locally sourced ingredients.
I was a fan back in Desjarlais’ Bandol days (his former, heavily French restaurant on Exchange St.), but I like Evangeline, in the Arts District, even more: well trained servers and white-tablecloth dining, but decorated in a light, playful style, so casual, not stiff. Result is an inviting, comfortable space that encourages lingering. My seat had a direct eye-view to the back and into the kitchen (I think it’s a plus to get a peek into the kitchen, and I like it when there’s the confidence to provide it, not hide it).
Meal began with a teaser, a gougere, a mouthful of cheese-accented pastry air; followed by crusty bread. I had the most amazing endive salad, made with endive, Roquefort, pear, and pistachio crumble; then confit duck legs with lentils du puy, wilted rainbow chard, and duck jus (a bit salty, but then I always find duck confit salty, so it must be my tastebuds, not the chef’s). I would have liked a bit more chard, but the duck portion was more than adequate. Grand finale: warm bose pear crumble with mascarpone ice cream; easy to see Krista Kerns Desjarlais’ hand in this light and delicious dessert. Equally easy to understand why both chefs are gaining national attention.