Flanagan’s delights with memorable flavors

Book Review: Great Beginning and Bad Endings
March 6, 2012
Lunch Bites: Plantation Inn
March 6, 2012
Book Review: Great Beginning and Bad Endings
March 6, 2012
Lunch Bites: Plantation Inn
March 6, 2012

For months, I’ve heard about the great meals Chef Kevin Templet and crew are serving at Flanagan’s in Thibodaux. Friends have touted the comfortable atmosphere, attentive staff and fantastic food. A casual contrast to partner restaurant Fremin’s in downtown Thibodaux, Flanagan’s is a mid-priced alternative for special occasions, a relaxed outing or friendly affairs between friends and families.

We’re greeted at the door like regulars even though this is our first visit. Our waiter, Heath, is quick on the scene to take drink orders and help us navigate the menu.

The night’s appetizer special is fried-green tomatoes topped with a fresh lump crab salad. But the Nachos Flanagan’s are calling. The appetizer arrives with dollops of sour cream, guacamole, tomatoes and jalapenos accompanying spicy chunks of meat toasted with tortillas and cheese. Our small platter arrives quickly and is just the right amount of food to whet our appetites.

It’s easy to imagine enjoying an evening with friends over beers and nachos. Flanagan’s offers the right seating to make that happen at the bar or in the candlelit dining area.

As we await the arrival of the next course, nearby, a seafood platter is delivered. A huge amount of food, the platter includes fried catfish, shrimp, oysters, crawfish, crab claws and stuffed shrimp and crab. The diners report the seafood is fried and seasoned to perfection, definitely the work of a Cajun-born chef.

Heath tells me the Pecan Chicken is a favorite among regulars. The blackened chicken topped with a light pesto sauce and pecan slices immediately becomes my favorite. Too often, locally, chicken dishes forgo moistness to achieve blackening. Not so in this case.

And with each bite, another burst of flavor from the sauce. The nut slices only add to the earthy flavors.

The dish is served with a side of potatoes au gratin – another popular choice suggested by Heath ¬– and a medley of grilled onions, snap peas and mushrooms.

My guest also follows our waiter’s suggestion and opts for the Seafood Au Gratin. The creamy dish – perfectly cooked to a crisp on top – is stuffed with crawfish, crab and shrimp and teaming with the Cajun trinity: bell peppers, onions and celery.

She reports the seasoning is just right; not overbearing. It’s probably not a dish for dieters, but a sure-fire bet for my guest, who grades the dish better than any she’s had lately.

My teenager, the less adventurous palate at our table, enjoys her usual cheeseburger. At least she forgoes a bun for a croissant. It’s a relief to discover Flanagan’s menu has standard sandwich choices, especially with a picky eater in tow.

By now, we’re stuffed. Leftovers fill “to-go” boxes on our table. But Heath has one more offer the youngest diner in our group can’t resist: dessert.

A tray of sliced cheese, chocolate and carrot cakes looks inviting, but it’s an ice cream and brownie combo – named after the owner’s wife, Rita, that captures our imaginations.

Covered with fresh strawberries and whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce, the dish is every bit as sweet as our waiter promised. “It’s every bit as sweet as Rita herself,” he says.

Before calling it a night, we fill out the e-mail contact card included with our check – a first for me. But Heath tells us it’s Flanagan’s and Fremin’s lifeline to regulars. We’ll receive regular updates on Flanagan’s Lobster Night, Prime Rib Night and Sunday Jazz Brunches, as well murder mystery dinners and other special events at Fremin’s. It’s an offer we can’t resist.

Every positive comment I’ve heard about Flanagan’s has been confirmed. Chef Templet, our waiter Heath and the rest of the staff made it an evening to remember. My guests and I agree we’ll be returning soon.

Visitors should note, Sunday Brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and is accompanied with a side of smooth jazz.

The menu includes all the usual south Louisiana fare – steak and eggs, seafood omelets, grillades or shrimp and grits, Eggs Benedict and Eggs Florentine, as well as Eggs Salvatora and Eggs Atchafalaya. Dishes are served with hash browns, a homemade biscuit and fresh fruit. Prices range from $12.50 to $16.25.

Daily lunch specials are available Monday through Friday. Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appetizers and entrees – including Pecan Chicken, the seafood platter and Black Angus Ribeye are served. Prices start at $11.50 for entrees.

Flanagan’s in Thibodaux offers an ideal place to gather for everyday or special occasions. Situated near Nicholls State’s campus, the restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner.