Located on Pinhook Road just off the Evangeline Thruway in Lafayette, Jolie’s is a restaurant with a whiff of grand old Southern tradition like Antoine’s or Brennan’s, both in New Orleans.
Jolie’s is a place to linger with special company, be it your best friend or the boss. It’s a see-and-be-seen at lunch for business restaurant, and it’s dressed to impress: George Rodrigue paintings on the walls, “Gone With the Wind”-style staircase, and a classic mirrored and polished bar in the middle reminiscent of The Sazerac’s in the Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans.
Imagine all of that to the tune of Dixieland jazz, and you get the setting of Jolie’s.
While the menu is versatile — from rich, dark turtle soup ($8) to Zapp’s Crawtator Crusted Drum with crawfish cream sauce ($23) — the preparation and presentation are more dignified than down home.
Personally recommended are the Roasted Oyster Trio ($15, Bienville, Rockefeller and Jolie), and Roasted Bone Marrow on grilled baguette for starters ($13).
You should also try the Cioppino ($20), a San Francisco classic Italian-American stew of shrimp, whitefish, mussels and scallops served in a savory wine and tomato broth with spicy rouille on the side.
Don’t hesitate for a second to have a Louie Salad ($18), which features tender lump crab meat, sweet pepper dressing and fried eggplant slices.
You can have the eggplant broiled, but you want it fried. Pair it with an Italian Borgo Pinot Grigio ($9 a glass) and get ready to linger.
There’s a cocktail culture among Southern women, and I’ve brought one along — she orders the wintry White Queen ($9), which features DSP 162 vodka, makrut lime and allspice syrup, and a sprig of fresh thyme.
My guest says not once, but three times, how good it is.
Jolie’s prides itself on having the most interesting cocktail program in town, and I thought hard about the Jolie, strawberry-infused vodka topped with champagne. Instead, I chose The Autumn and the Mosel ($8), a mixture of Calvados apple brandy and Riesling. I think they get along in a glass pretty much like the French and Germans do, but that’s just me.
Service is swift, courteous and not intrusive. And like my guest says, “You want the whole dining experience, personality included, and I don’t care to be waited on by someone who’s silent.” Jolie’s staff knows how to make conversation and skilled enough to play off yours.
There won’t be much room for dessert, but order the Lava Cake ($8) anyway. Like a sophisticated s’more, it comes in a ramekin with a toasted marshmallow top much like a large mushroom, with chocolate cake and graham cracker crust underneath.
And just like Jolie’s, you’ll be wanting s’more.