A little bit of France in Normal HeightsEat This! Thursday, November 10th, 2016
“Butch” was already seated at a table when I sauntered into Et Voilà French Bistro. A month had passed since our last rendezvous and I couldn’t wait to tell him about my recent travels.
Et Voilà French Bistro is one of Normal Height’s newest restaurants and ups the ante when it comes to a memorable dining experience. The high-ceilinged open raftered space features intricate tile work, a wall sized map of Paris, brick red accents and a tall backbar of dark wood and glass.
Butch sipped a glass of 2013 Earthquake Zinfandel ($13) and I savored a Black Rye Manhattan ($11). The full-bodied intensely rich zin features juicy dark plums with spicy cloves and a hint of pepper in the long smooth finish. The Manhattan is a well-balanced cockle-warming blend of Wild Turkey Rye Whiskey, Carpano Antica (an herb infused vermouth), Amaro Averna (an Italian liqueur), a splash of fresh orange juice and a dash of Angostura bitters.
Emily, upbeat and well-versed, took our orders and retreated. The evening’s service was exceptional; attentive but not overbearing.
I told Butch about my Colorado adventures while nibbling on appetizers, Beef Tartar ($13) and a duo of Foie Gras ($25). The tartar is a velvety blend of chopped raw steak, egg and a hint of tangy mustard served with lightly dressed mixed greens. The seared slice of goose liver practically melted in my mouth, and the roasted apples and pomegranate reduction perfectly complimented the light-as-air pâté.
Our entrées, served in large white bowls, arrived while I was extolling the merits of Puerto Rico – balmy nights, warm tropical waters and gorgeous men. Butch raved about the Coquilles Saint-Jacques Du Maine ($28). The plump and perfectly prepared scallops are served with a potato and leek galette, baby oyster mushrooms and a magnificent port sauce. Butch’s only desire was for a deeper sear on the mollusks; a little more smoke. I savored the Plat De Côte Braisé Au Vin Rouge ($26). The fall-apart tender Angus beef short ribs are served atop diced parsnips with potato and ricotta gnocchi, sautéed Brussel sprouts and a rich mouthwateringly delicious reduction of jus and cabernet wine.
Butch said his pairing of 2015 Domaine Sancerre Girault ($13), a pale light-bodied Sauvignon Blanc with hints of granny smith apple and spice, missed the mark. The 2014 Le P’tit Paysan Le p’tit ($14), a full-bodied blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, with cherry and plum on the palate, stood up well to the short ribs.
We finished our meal with a selection of cheeses ($12); a soft mild bucheron, a hard tangy manchego and a pungent fourme d’ambert. Honey comb, apricot relish and slices of date bread completed the presentation.
Owner Ludo Mifsud and Chef Vincent Viale are French natives with impressive résumés and they pour every talent into every dish. Don’t feel like cooking for your holiday guests? Et Voilà French Bistro is offering a three-course Thanksgiving prix fixe for only $37 per adult, and $19 per child. Reservations are highly recommended.
Eat this, hungry readers. You’ll be glad you did.
Et Voilà French Bistro
3015 Adams Ave.
Sun-Thurs. 4:30- 10 p.m.
Fri., Sat. 4:30-11p.m.
Sat. and Sun. Brunch 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
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