Once again, our area is receiving a bit of attention for showing up on a popular list making its way around Facebook. Thrillist’s “11 of the Best Louisiana Restaurants Outside News Orleans” includes Cristiano and Fremin’s in its number. And while it’s great to see some of the restaurants I love get some of the recognition they deserve, I can’t help feeling a bit disappointed with the list. Two sentences are all that readers have to glean what they can about each of the restaurants, so I figured it may be helpful to elaborate for anyone whose interest may have been piqued by the list.
Consider these mini-reviews of two great, local restaurants.
Fremin’s makes you wish downtown Thibodaux would be more active and sophisticated than it is, but that’s exactly what makes the restaurant so great. A short walk away from Bayou Lafourche, and still very much in Cajun Country, is an intimate, dimly lit dining room with an opulent bar, beautifully detailed high ceilings, and the character and charm that can only come from a nearly 150 year-old building.
Plenty of upscale restaurants offer free bread before the meal, but Fremin’s takes its bread service a step further. Flaky loaves of fresh baked bread come out the kitchen in bags as if you were purchasing them from the local bakery. They’re accompanied by oils and butters, with unique flavors each day like garlic-pepper oil and honey-bourbon butter. It’s hard not to fill up on bread alone and request a loaf to go.
Appetizers at Fremin’s are all very rich and perfect for sharing, especially the buttery charbroiled oysters oozing with melted Parmesan cheese and served with more great bread for mopping up the sauce. The charcuterie board is an especially fun choice, featuring a variety of cured meats like duck prosciutto; pickled onions, peppers, and strawberries; a fantastic jar of pork rillette (think fancy hogshead cheese); and whole grain mustard and orange-fennel marmalade. Mixing and matching flavors on top of crostinis makes for one of the most unique and delicious food experiences around. A couple could share the board and a few other appetizers for a meal, but the more the merrier with dishes like this.
Lunch can be a great deal at Fremin’s. There’s a daily blue plate special as well as a lunch combo for $11 that gets you a sandwich with a soup or salad. And while there’s always a soup of the day, the smoked duck and andouille gumbo is not to be missed. This is gumbo done right with a rich, dark roux and intense flavor from the duck and sausage. It’s one of the best, if not the best, restaurant gumbo in the area.
Fremin’s serves a mix of creole and Italian dishes, most just as rich as it’s appetizers, and also serves some of the parish’s best steaks. One of the more exciting entrees is the Seafood Napolean: fried eggplant medallions covered in shrimp, oysters, crab meat, and cheese then topped with two distinct sauces, one creamy and the other tomato. Like the charcuterie board, it’s a fun dish to eat, tasting the different sauces and seafood as you chip away at the tower of eggplant in the center.
Desserts greet you at the door at Fremin’s on a small cart, and your server will wheel it out for closer examination if you somehow still have room. The cannolis, little tubes of fried dough stuffed with sweet ricotta, are fantastic. Without provocation, your server might even deduce your date is in celebration of a special occasion and find that a tasty bread pudding with a message from the kitchen makes its way to your table.
Fremin’s is a restaurant where you celebrate, whether it’s an actual event or just good company. Every small town needs a place like this for diners to escape into luxury for an hour or so, and Fremin’s fills that niche especially well.
Fremin’s | 402 W 3rd St, Thibodaux, LA 70301 | (985) 449-0333