Et Voila! - A Belgian Bijou In The Palisades
It was just last year that I was introduced to Et Voila!, thanks to my good friend Brigitte and I am forever grateful.
Et Voila! is a hidden gem nestled in the Palisades, a neighborhood in Washington, D.C. As you walk through the door into the long and narrow Belgian and French bistro, you are welcomed by vintage prints from The Adventures of Tintin, the famed comic book series created by Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi. The service is on point and the décor is fun.
A little bit about the uber-talented and jovial Chef Claudio Pirollo. His name may ring a bell, he used to be a chef at Montmartre, the popular eatery on the Hill and then at the Irish Embassy. After that, in 2008, he opened Et Voila!. Chef Pirollo of Belgian and Italian descent brings passion to each dish he creates. Using only the freshest organic ingredients, Chef Pirollo offers a menu that includes traditional Belgian fare such Carbonnade a la flamande (Flemish ale-simmered beef stew) , Liège waffles, speculoos ice cream, but also French dishes such as steak frites, braised rabbit leg and French onion soup.
Yesterday, a few friends and I headed over to Et Voila! for a late lunch and as to be expected, it did not disappoint. As soon as we sat down, we were brought over warm French baguette slices in a basket enveloped in a French newspaper. La classe!
While I perused the menu, my eyes kept jumping from one item to another, but my heart lied with the moules and pastis. For those who are unfamiliar with pastis, it is a anise-flavored spirit and apéritif from France. Just a fantastic and creative combination! As the steamed mussels pot was brought over and the top was removed, a waft of licorice filled the air and it was pure bliss. Not only was the scent intoxicating but it was just so pretty. The mussels, explained by Chef, came from Canada, which are some of the best. Each bite literally left me wanting more and the sauce was so good that I just had to soak it up with the accompanied Belgian frites.
After my delectable main course, I moved on to dessert, and immediately chose the nutella crêpes. The perfectly triangle-shaped crêpes, topped with powdered sugar, were filled with a generous portion of the hazelnut chocolate spread. Délicieux!
Let's just say that I left the restaurant with a huge smile and a very content belly. Merci beaucoup Chef for the warm welcome!
If you have not yet been to Et Voila!, I strongly recommend it. It is consistently named one of the “100 Best Restaurants” by Washingtonian and once you have a meal there, you will understand why.
Here are a few images from my memorable meal.
Fresh warm sliced baguette
Moules au Pastis
(Pastis Mussels with Tomatoes, Shallots, Garlic, Saffron and Ricard Liquor)
Crêpes au Nutella