Envie captures south La.’s freshest flavors

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Thibodaux is home to a special place for those with a desire for fresh Cajun flavors – Envie Restaurant & Oyster Bar.



Six days of the week, Envie offers visitors breakfast, lunch and dinner. In addition, the restaurant has 30 years of banquet experience and, just through the dining area, operates a spacious facility that can comfortably accommodate more than 700 people.

But it’s Envie Restaurant’s vast menu selection that keeps diners coming back. The menu includes a number of fresh seafood, prime steak, chicken and pasta dishes. Lunch prices range from $5.95 to $10.95, while early bird dinner specials, served from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, are $10.95 and include a salad, entrée and dessert. The dinner menu is more diverse and a bit pricier.



On this visit to Envie, we are quickly greeted as we enter the large dining area. The room is both comfortable and inviting with its yellow walls and bayou mural on the wall opposite the bar. Television screens affixed to the wall at either end of the restaurant kept diners abreast of NFL draft updates.



Our waitress is quick on the scene, taking drink orders and providing details about the appetizers. I opt for the BLT soup ($3.50 per cup/$4.95 bowl) at the waitress’s suggestion. My guests decide to try the Baked Shrimp Envie ($7.95).

The BLT soup – yes, the chunks of bacon and tomato and bits of lettuce are as good in a soup as they are between two slices of toast – is by far my favorite Envie item. Perfectly seasoned, the creamy dish leaves me desiring more.



The Baked Shrimp Envie, however, is too loaded with olive oil to have the same impact.



A blend of fresh Louisiana jumbo shrimp topped with a blend of Italian seasonings, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and olive oil, the appetizer is baked to a golden brown finish. But on this night, after only one scoop, the rest of the shrimp was left swimming in a wake of olive oil.

Our entrees fare better. The picky eater in our crowd opts for the Pecan-Crusted Chicken Praline ($14.95 for one, $17.95 for two), while my other guest tries the Crab Cakes and Shrimp ($15.95). To cover our bases for this review, I decide to try the Top Sirloin ($19.95).



The Pecan-Crusted Chicken Praline is an instant hit. It features a 6-ounce chicken breast friend in a crunchy pecan batter and topped with a nutty praline sauce. The seasonings on the chicken combined with the praline sauce offer a unique blend of sweet and salty.



A little leery of sweet sauces, our picky eater orders it on the side, opting to dip her chicken, which is just as good.

The dish is normally served with shrimp fettuccine and a vegetable, but for some inexplicable reason it arrives with a baked potato instead. Typically, a vegetable is also included but she opts out.



My other guest’s dish includes two grilled crab cakes served on a bed of angel hair pasta and topped with a Cajun cream sauce. Eight jumbo grilled shrimp in lemon-butter sauce surround the crab cakes. It is served with spinach.

The crab cakes, much like the appetizer, are too moist with olive oil. But it’s the grilled shrimp where Envie shines. Sadly, the spinach was overcooked and flavorless.



My steak is tender and cooked exactly to my specifications; however, it was not seasoned. A baked potato and steamed carrots accompany the dish.

Overall, the night produces mixed results.

Sounds of the band gearing up for a wedding reception in the nearby banquet room waft into the dining area, providing a nice background for conversations. We decide a second visit is in order before putting a review to bed.

Another wedding is in the works upon our return, but Envie is well staffed to handle the larger dining room crowd. We arrive in time to enjoy the early bird special.

My picky eater opts for the chicken praline dish, while I try the Pasta Prima Vera. The chicken – a single chicken strip covered in praline sauce – is just as tasty.

The pasta dish is good, but not memorable.

The night’s dessert is bread pudding. Covered in cream, the dish is stuffed with double chocolate. One bite in and the sugar coma commences. The hot chocolate quickly overpowers all the other flavors, too. It’s a nice effort, but a bit too sweet for my guest’s liking, especially after the chicken praline sauce.

Overall, Envie Restaurant has some big hits. I’ll be back for the BLT soup and the praline chicken dish. The friendly staff and comfortable dining area make it an ideal stop whether you’re enjoying a casual night out or looking for something fancier.

Envie Restaurant and Oyster Bar prides itself on casual dining and catering large events. On Mother’s Day, Envie serves a special brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. that includes salad, soup, an entree and dessert.

GUMBO GURU

$13.95

market price

$14.95

$3.50