Sunday, December 30, 2007
La Voile, Back Bay
There's something about studying abroad that makes you feel so connected to your temporary home. Thoughts of Tuscany, especially Siena, bring back good memories for me. I can only assume that my friends Melody and Zina have the same feelings about France, where they studied. I know I can always suggest French food with them, so they were the perfect people with whom to try La Voile.
La Voile is one of the newest additions to Newbury Street, and it has had rave reviews. The staff is almost entirely from Cannes, and the atmosphere feels very much like a French brasserie. I was greeted by the maitre'd and the owner (?), who checked off my reservation, took my coat, and offered to seat me. I opted, however, to wait at the tiny bar, where I had a glass of wine and some lovely fried balls of goodness - pate chou with herbs and maybe a little cheese. They were wonderfully salty and really whet my appetite.
My friends arrived, and we took our table, where we spent a good chunk of time pouring over the menu. Another amuse buche was brought to us, this time consisting of wonderful salami, gougeres, and the most perfect Caprese I have ever had. The little bites left us wanting more. We were also given French bread to go along with this, which was served in a little cloth bag - a "bag"-ette, per Melody. (See, I told you you'd get a quote ;) )
We shared a goat cheese salad, but the dressing on the greens outshone the rest of the dish. I could easily eat a big bowl of that salad, which included a variety of greens and plenty of pine nuts.
Luckily, my meal came with more of the salad (this time, without pine nuts). I ordered steak and potatoes, with herbed butter. The steak was a great red shade, but not bloody, and was not too chewy. The potatoes were very tasty and included tomatoes and mushrooms (I hate mushrooms, but these were really good!). I tend to prefer frites with steak, but this was a good alternative.
Besides fantastic food, we also had great service. As I mentioned, the host/owner/manager (I couldn't tell exactly) was very friendly and was overseeing the restaurant and giving tips to our waiter. Our waiter, apparently the only American working in the place, was personable and helpful with the menu. I even got a phone call the next day to follow up with our meal, and the manager was particularly interested in what they could improve. More restaurants should pay attention to the customer in this way. I hope La Voile succeeds, because I'm sure I'm going to want that meal again sometime soon.