Et Voila DC - A Belgian French neighborhood gem
Et Voila is a classic French-Belgian restaurant, nestled in the Palisades neighborhood of DC. And let me say, the Palisades is a lucky, lucky neighborhood to have it.
The setting of the newly remodeled restaurant is modern bistro style in a narrow row house– a cute patio on the street welcomes you, followed by a bar area with a little market and then the dining rooms which are elegant but not too fussy. Solid neighborhood atmosphere. It was also full the night I dined here (a Tuesday at 6pm!), which, by the end of my meal I was not surprised about anymore.
The wine list offers a good variety at different price points. There is no cocktail menu as such, but there is a full bar for any liquor needs.
We started with a bottle of rose and an order of the French Onion soup and escargot. I LOVE French onion soup, but I’m not a fan when it’s all broth, or when it’s all onion. Et Voila’s was exactly how I like it – a good balance of broth to onion, and a heaping portion of gooey cheese that is absolutely necessary. Off to a great start! The escargot were requisitely buttery and garlicky, and disappeared from the table real fast. (I’m salivating just thinking about the bread dipped in that delicious pool of garlicky butter!).
When our server was explaining the daily specials to us, a couple of words in particular caught our attention – “mussel custard”. Say what? That conjured up a variety of ideas in each of our heads and I was super skeptical, but the dish was nothing like any of us had imagined. A light and creamy mussel broth custard served over cold tomato gazpacho, with a mussel salad and mini choux, this was/is probably one of the most interesting dishes I have had! The sweet and fresh gazpacho was intense with flavor, and it paired wonderfully with the creamy custard and the mussels. A wonderful dish, packed with flavor and finesse. Chef Claudio Pirollo is not messing around!
Et Voila is known for their mussel dishes and their signature mussel burger. Unfortunately, they were out of the mussel burger that night, so I ended up getting the casserole of steamed mussels (Diablo) with tomatoes, shallots, and lobster bisque. This was a GIANT pot of mussels, which came with fries – and was fantastic. Mussels can be hit or miss sometimes, and these were definitely a huge hit! I’d highly recommend getting this to share unless you are really hungry though, it’s a large portion. It would also make for a fun “for the table” type option to share with 3-4 others and each get additional entrees. I’m all for sharing and trying more dishes!
I also really enjoyed the profiteroles dessert. The pastry in the dessert was outstanding – light and flaky with delicious vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and almonds for crunch. My tablemates were raving about the Belgian waffle too, served with a peach compote and whipped cream, but I’m a chocolate dessert girl all the way! Bottom line whatever brand of sweet endings you like – do not skip dessert.
The prices at Et Voila are also highly reasonable for the quality of the food. Appetizers range from $9 - $14 and mains are around $20 -$25. It’s the kind of place I would go for a nice date night out or with a couple of friends to have conversation in a welcoming atmosphere with delicious food.
It’s evident that the cooking at Et Voila is solid and skillful, with dishes ranging from the classics to ones that are refined and pushing the boundaries. The wine list is good, the service is friendly and confident, rounding off a fine dining experience.
Et Voila is truly worth a visit, it’s a restaurant I would go out of my way to eat at.
Et Voila is open for lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Check out their website for details.