You can’t call Creole Envie’s open and closure on Stony Plain Road a false start. In its brief stay above the Haven Social Club, the take-out diner grew a following that cheered when New Orleans-trained chef and owner Danielle Majeau announced she’d just as quickly reopened in Highlands.
Just what are they raving about? Start with the étouffée, a gumbo-like stew with grits. It’s usually made with crawfish or shrimp, but on some evenings Majeau braises firm pieces of Louisiana-shipped alligator (think turkey) in a tomato gravy until tender. It’s a comforting dish that’s not too spicy.
But if you prefer a food that makes you pant, try collard greens, a ruffled lettuce that’s steamed until chewy and served soaked in a hot sauce.
Creole Envie’s fried chicken is also a must. The quarter chicken is lightly speckled in Majeau’s secret spice (which grew her reputation at farmers’ markets), battered and deep fried until its crispy shell is ready to put up a mild fight with the moist centre. On Thursdays, you can find it on three waffles with pure maple syrup.
Though few people equate creole cuisine with dessert, that might change after trying Majeau’s sticky and chewy pecan bourbon pie. You can really taste the bourbon. Likewise the bourbon in the every-so-often chocolate-cola cake, a brownie-like bun so rich you can not only taste but hear and feel the light crunch of sugar. That is, if you’re not already distracted by the incredible taste. (6509 112 Ave., 780-850-0466, www.creoleenvie.net)