Man, looking back over the last couple of weeks......I really haven't been "Little Miss Sunshine", huh? So let's turn things around a bit. Here's the Missus's current date night spot for us. We both have hectic schedules right now and are working like crazy. While my usual routine is to come home and cook multiple dishes of "quick" things and supplement with leftovers (La Rou is always welcomed). We try to save at least one night of the week for the both of us. The Missus was really missing France for a while and our good friend Candice suggested Et Voila! So we decided to check them out and have been going on a regular basis since then.
Located on Adam's Avenue next to Tajima and Hawthorne Coffee, we enjoy the early dinner times....yes, you can call us the "Blue Plate Special" folks these days....but my day at work usually starts around 6am and on recent evenings, I haven't gotten home until almost 6pm. So, on that evening where I can get home at 4, I'm usually already pretty hungry, and having dinner at say, 445pm doesn't sound bad at all. Plus, we don't have to worry about reservations.
We like the atmosphere, while the lighting on the dark side, it's nice and unpretentious and we usually get one of the more comfortable tables when we arrive early.
Recently, the Missus has been getting into cocktails......I do see danger ahead with this one. We enjoy the cocktails here, while not cheap at $12, they are $7 during Happy Hour. My favorite is the Huckleberry Bourbon.
For the Missus, it used to be the Celery Gimlet.
But now, She's starting to enjoy Bourbon, so it's the Blooming Manhattan.
The bread here is simple and par baked baguette which is surprisingly good. Still a bit light in the salt department....we'd gotten used to the yeasty-salty-savory French Baguettes.
The Missus enjoys some butter on Hers and enjoys it, though She'd really like it if there was some sea salt sprinkled on top.
Off to the food! The Missus had always told me She hated Escargot. Heck, if I knew this before we got married....nah, just kidding! But once in Burgundy, I told Her She just had to try them. And of course once She had 'em.....we had to order them during just about every meal in Dijon and Beaune.
This version uses Pastis, which adds an interesting, though not offensive amount of light anise flavor. Being the garlic lover, I'd love a bit more garlic. The Missus just wants more sauce, period. This is a very nice rendition overall, though it doesn't come close to what we had in Burgundy.
We got the Pork Belly, Poached Egg, and Frisee ($13).
This was very nice; the truffle vinaigrette really shined and we loved that the frisee wasn't over-dressed. The pork belly was crisp on the exterior, creamy inside, quite lovely. And the Missus loved the gooey egg yolk all over the greens. Not a big fan of the toasts as the flavors seemed to clash with the pork and salad. But this was a very nice dish.
Going with the "all apps" approach. Something that we really enjoy doing since we just can't away all that food anymore, we ended with, well, what else? Duo de Foie Gras ($26).
We've had so much Foie Gras, that perhaps I should have a category for it. We both adored the foie gras terrine; smooth, rich, perfectly funky, it was decadent and delicious. The regular sautéed version was dry and overcooked having an unpleasant dry-mealy texture. We decided to stick with the terrine on future visits.
Which came around quite quickly, as in the following week.
Starting this time with the Burrata and Beet Salad ($11).
Man, the plating was bit over-the-top for us. Sort of like they hired Jackson Pollack to design this dish. The burrata was delicious though, creamy, slightly milky, with just that hint of acid. Loved the beets, perfectly sweet. Again the greens were nicely dressed, though the balsamic dressing was a bit on the sweet side for us. Still, a nice dish.
And of course, the Foie Gras Terrine ($23).
While a bit "busy" in terms of presentation, that foie gras terrine is really good. I really don't need any of the garnishes, though the Missus likes what I believe is fig chutney. I just like eating the pears by themselves, ditto the brioche, as we almost prefer the baguette for the foie gras.
Man, two rich dishes and we were out.
Only to return a few weeks later. Of course we got the foie gras terrine, but also decided to try the Ravioli aux Champignons ($13). Which had us wondering why we hadn't tried this before.
My goodness, the deep earthy mushroom tones....think porcini, a touch of truffle oil, tempered with a hint of sweet flavors, with a shaving of Parmesan for saltiness. This has become something we order on every visit now. And though the composition seems to have changed, with more broth and cheese; I actually think this is an improvement. The Missus has been bugging me to make my Mushroom Risotto after this meal.
Because there was a special Perigord Black Truffle menu on this evening. Now, having been to Dordogne, how could we resist. In spite of my loathe of par cooked restaurant style risotto. So we got the Black Truffle Risotto ($25). It was actually a good sign that it took over 25 minutes to get to us. And what we got was delici-yoso!
Man, this was so good. The risotto perfect in texture, tender, with a slight chew, no hard granular core. The combination of truffle and mushroom flavors is one made in heaven. And we were definitely there on this evening. And of course we had the foie gras terrine....man, talk about a rich meal.
Next time around was kind of funny. I usually avoid places during Restaurant Week. No offense, but I enjoy visiting a restaurant when it's not totally slammed, or when they don't have a pared down menu, and many places aren't able to show their real capability because, well, they're trying to turn a profit too, right? And in spite of always being offered freebies during RW.....you know how we feel about that here. With all of that in mind, we ended up at Et Voila during RW! Go figure. The menu looked fascinating, so we went for it, along with the wine pairings, which were pretty good.
The Gravlax de Saumon D'Ecosse was superb, I mean really, really, good. I had misgivings because it seemed cut too thick.
But holy smokes, that texture was excellent, meaty, but still silky and sublime. Loved the understated brininess and the mustard was just enough to cut through everything else. You know how we feel about the greens here. We loved the simple perfectly dressed arugula.
Having just had some good Jambon de Bourgogne in Burgundy, I was interested in the Terrine de Champignon en Croute.
First off, the pickles were excellent, simple, but each had it's own unique personality. The pastry was a bit too mushy for my taste; but that mushroom pate was very good; earthy-mushroom tones, just a touch of richness, a bit of pungency to cut down the richness.
I chose the Pan Seared Duck Breast as my main.
There were some nice elements to this dish; the Swiss Chard Gratin was so good; rich, slightly buttery potatoes, but balanced by the light bitter-sweet flavor of the chard. The duck had been lightly smoked and the texture was outstanding; it was still tender and hadn't firmed up too much. Served medium was perfect for this. My only problem was that the sauce was way too salty. I gave up after a few bites and the Missus traded dishes with me. She plowed through this like there was no tomorrow.
What She got and I ended up with was the Braised Shortribs.
The Missus wanted this a bit more tender; but I enjoyed the beefy flavor and the slight toothsomeness of the beef. So I ended up with this. I enjoyed the Red Wine sauce and the charred broccoli. This was a nice dish.
Dessert is the Missus's department and She enjoyed them both.
The Missus enjoyed this so much that She made reservations to return the next night with a friend. Unfortunately, the friend cancelled at the last minute. The Missus was really looking forward to getting the duck again, so I decided on being "plan B" for the evening. This time though, I was going to go a bit easier. While the Missus got the duck, I got the ravioli and the Beef Tartare ($13).
Man, this was at least 6 ounces; quite large. There was a bit too much filler in this version, along with being a bit heavy handed on the mustard for my taste. There was something in this that gave it almost a fishiness that both the Missus and I didn't care for. I may try this again in the future, though I'm not so sure.....
We've been back a couple of times since then, mostly ordering the same old items. Though one night we went with both the foie gras terrine and the charcuterie and fromage plate ($22).
Man, this was a lot of food. Loved the pate as it was earthy and delicious. That camembert also hit the spot.
We enjoy the vibe here; a bit more grown up, unpretentious, the service genial and professional. That's perfect for us.
The price point is not cheap; we haven't spent less than $80 for a meal, even with just appetizers here....but of course, we love those cocktails. We've been to many of the more well known places in San Diego, but have never wanted to return (hence no posts)...Et Voila though...well it's on the rotation.
3015 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116