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Et Voila - Washington, DC - Reviews page 1 - Judysbook

Et Voila

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5120 Macarthur Blvd Nw
Washington, DC 20016
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(202) 237-2300
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Et Voila - Washington, DC

Reviews

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Best

I ate here with another couple on a Saturday night. . We arrived a little early and 'had a drink at the bar' - Cocktails made by the host were very good. the food was pretty darn ...

Worst

My wife and I were eagerly looking forward to celebrating our 25th anniversary at Et Viola! Upon being seated, we found that we had to shout across the table at each other in orde...

Great place 10/18/2010

I ate here with another couple on a Saturday night. . We arrived a little early and 'had a drink at the bar' - Cocktails made by the host were very good. the food was pretty darn good. For starters, I had the Chicons au gratin: Ham-wrapped Belgian Endive baked in a Gruyere Béchamel Sauce, but the sandout was the foie gras . For dinner I had the Moules with lobster broth ; they were mediocre but the fries were good. I was kind of disappointed . Hubby ordered the standout Carbonnade à la Flamande, pommes frites: Flemish beef stew simmered in dark beer, served with French fries.and by far the best course, was the Profiteroles,AWESOME. Service was really good. I'd go back here in a heartbeat. more

2010 Fall Dining Guide 10/16/2010

2010 Fall Dining Guide By Tom Sietsema Sunday, October 17, 2010 Et Voila! lets me pretend I'm in Brussels even though I'm just a few miles from downtown in the Palisades. The long and narrow dining room -- lined with burnt-orange banquettes and photographs taken by co-owner and chef Claudio Pirollo - looks like countless cozy bistros abroad; the servers' French accents and the sight of Flemish beef stew fueled with dark beer make Washington feel further away. I'm a fool for salmon gravlax delivered with blinis to start, but from there it gets more challenging: Do I return to a favorite fish waterzooi or one of the best hamburgers around, or try something else? Cod paved in basil and mustard is my new must-have main course. The fish is just part of the appeal; a bed of angel-hair pasta swollen with lobster sauce sends it into a richer realm. Let's hope next tomato season brings back Et Voila!'s stellar risotto: tangy with tomato concasse, decorated with pesto-speckled shrimp and the appetizer of choice this summer of super-chef Alain Ducasse, for whom Pirollo worked at the Plaza Athenee in Paris. I've left a dreary gray lentil soup in its bowl, and my last memory of dessert was of an underdone crepe. But a meal at Et Voila! is still a trip. more

Cacophony 10/14/2010

My wife and I were eagerly looking forward to celebrating our 25th anniversary at Et Viola! Upon being seated, we found that we had to shout across the table at each other in order to "converse." There was no music on and there were no unusually loud groups sitting near us--the long narrow room and hard surfaces just trap the sound and bounce it around. The host politely offered to seat us outside, but it was too cold for that. We left and had an enjoyable, quiet meal elsewhere. We had read Sietsema's review with the 80 decibel sound reading and had hoped (vainly) that in the last two years the management had found a way to allow normal conversations. Our fault for not asking when we made the reservation... more

"It will make you feel like Robin Hood" 8/25/2010

After letting our personable waiter recommend a beer from an impressive menu of imports, I was pleasantly curious to notice that there was a picture of a strapping archer with a drawn bow and arrow printed on the label. Subsequently, I remarked to my cohort, "Cool, look who got the Robin Hood beer." Our waiter all-too-honestly pointed out, "Yeah, after you finish this beer, you're gonna feel like Robin Hood!" Rightfully so, by the time dinner was over, I did feel like the King of Thieves after feasting at what I now consider one of the best restaurants I have ever eaten at. I've been there 4 times now in the past year, and I have not been, nor will I ever be, disappointed. Best kept secret in DC, make a reservation. more

Spent the evening there... but had to. 7/9/2010

Slowest slowest surliest waitstaff. Very good food. And very cozy atmosphere.. which is important because you will have to spend A LOT of time there waiting for EVERYTHING. Took so long for the check, we almost walked out.. first time for that. Good food if you're a patient person. more

Grrreat 12/31/2009

A friend and I decided to try it for lunch on New Year's. The reception and service were gracious. The prix fixe luncheon (including a glass of house wine) was excellent. We paid the supplement for the apple tatin, which was also quite delicious. Definitely worth more trips to explore more of the menu. more

An Earned Exclamation 7/19/2008

Sietsema Review An Earned Exclamation The Belgian Food at Et Voila! deserves its enthusiastic name By Tom Sietsema Washington Post Staff Writer Sunday, July 20, 2008 Sound Check: 80 decibels (extremely loud) By training, I'm a skeptic. Whenever a waiter tells me that "everything is good" on the menu, whenever a chef brags on his resume about having toiled at a temple of haute cuisine, and whenever a restaurant claims to serve only the best ingredients, I hear my journalism teacher's voice in my head. "If your mother tells you she loves you," he coached his students, " check it out ." From the moment I got word that a Belgian restaurant was opening in the Palisades this spring, I was eager to investigate. Yes, I wanted to find out how its waterzooi and french fries compared to the competition. But I also wanted to know if Et Voila! lived up to its own hype. (Exclamation points, I also learned as a budding reporter, should be used with discretion.) Eyes light up when my posse strolls in on a recent weeknight. None of us knows anyone on the payroll, but the staff treats us as if we're regulars and appears glad to see us. Long and narrow, this location has always been an awkward one, but the transition from Bistro Bernoise to Et Voila! was accompanied by a makeover that lends warmth and style to the digs. Place mats and banquettes are a cheery orange; photos of Brussels and framed mirrors perk up soft yellow walls. A high, pressed-tin ceiling gives the illusion of more space, and a raised group table in the back is the perfect place to scope out the crowd while remaining partly removed from the scene. Chances are, you'll wait if you don't have a reservation. The word is out: Et Voila! is a hot ticket in a part of town where the pickings are slim. Along with wine bars and pizza joints, Belgian restaurants are among the trends Washington has embraced with gusto in recent years. The appeal is simple: We love steamed mussels, double-cooked fries, beers of distinction and chocolate mousse. And, aside from a designer brew or two, the prices at Belgian outposts tend to be agreeable. (Among the draws here is a lunch special: two courses and coffee or wine for $17.95.) The eyes feast first at Et Voila!, where every dish gets the beauty treatment. Belgian endive takes on a new personality when it's chopped, teamed with pecans and two cheeses (crumbles of sharp blue and dices of nutty Chimay), tossed in white balsamic vinegar and served in a deep, oval bowl. The balance of textures and colors is pitch perfect. The salad's equal in the entree department is the rib-eye steak, as mouthwatering a piece of meat as you'll find for a mile. Cool pats of herb-green butter rest atop the steak, which is cooked the way you ask and delivered with dark, golden french fries that taste truly of potatoes and with a pompom of watercress, a refreshing bit of punctuation. Even the side dishes show attention to detail. It's hard to make stoemp look enticing, but the Belgian mash of vegetables (potatoes and carrots when I ordered it) appears camera-ready, staged in a small black casserole with precise ripples on its surface. The men behind these fetching compositions are Claudio Pirollo and Mickael Cornu. Pirollo came to the city a decade ago and cooked at Montmartre on the Hill and at the Irish embassy before launching a catering company, A Modo Mio. Cornu, his business partner, is trained as a pastry chef (and plays that role here). At Et Voila!, steamed mussels are transported in traditional double-decker pots (the top doubles as a container for empty shells). The vessels make nice advertisements for the seafood, which is served as an appetizer spiked with saffron or as a main course flavored with garlic cream and completed with fries. As tasty as these mussels are, lots of restaurants do mussels well. My suggestion is to gravitate to traditional Belgian dishes, which are about as good as they come here. One route offers chunks of beef in a dark, beer-infused sauce -- Flemish beef stew, of course -- garnished with a piece of grilled bread spread with mustard. Comfort food, sexed up. Another path finds juicy chicken pieces, strewn with threads of carrot, leeks and celery in a light cream sauce. An enlightened waterzooi. You won't find a lot of bells and whistles on the plates; the chefs' cooking runs to the subtle. Thus a cake of tuna tartare gets a little spark from fresh ginger; sea bass, sauteed to a fine crunch, is dressed with a delicate saffron sauce. Yet the dishes stand out. One of the best, and richest, pates in town is served here. Named for a former chef at the French embassy and a friend of Pirollo's, "Papi's" pate gets its lush decadence from a combination of (don't tell your cardiologist) pork belly, chicken livers, foie gras, cognac and eggs. A little dab will do you, but if you're anything like me, you'll polish off the goods. Cornu whips up an intense chocolate mousse, which he serves in a martini glass and sprinkles with cocoa nibs that add a welcome crunch. Lighter, and finer, is his apple tart -- thin slices of fruit treated to a scoop of ice cream laced with white beer and honey. Most unusual is "Miserables," a biscuit made from almond flour and egg whites, poised on a sheer pink sheet of strawberry gelatin. The arrangement catches the eyes more than the taste buds. Here and there, the newcomer reminds us that as good as it is, there's room to improve. Is the restaurant storing its wine near an oven? Every wine I've ordered has had to sit in an ice bath for a few minutes before I've been able to drink it. Waiters are relaxed about who is responsible for which table; more than once, I've been greeted twice by different servers. And a few dishes appear to be the work of another kitchen: Spongy scallops, endive that managed to be both harshly bitter and cloyingly sweet and a gray beer sauce resembled nothing I had seen here before. French fries are usually, but not always, delicious. My litmus test after most meals on the clock is to ask a question of my guests: Would you come back on your own dime? Vigorous nods followed the query every time at Et Voila!, which waves a proud Belgian flag -- and lives up to its punctuation. more
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Menu for Et Voila




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Additional information

  • Hours:

    Mon 5-10 pm; Tue-Fri 11:30 am-2:30 pm, 5-10 pm; Sat 11 am-2:30 pm, 5-10 pm; Sun 11 am-3 pm, 5-9:30 pm
  • Neighborhoods:

    Northwest Washington, Northwest, Palisades

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