Location: 226 W Chicago
Cost: About $40 per person
Cost: About $40 per person
Back when I was writing for Blackboard Eats, I had the opportunity to check out the bar menu at Bistro Voltaire because we were running some sort of special. It was great and all, but I didn’t get to dig into the main menu. Luckily though, I was invited back to try out more of what they had to offer.
As you might remember, my last meal at Bistro Voltaire was on the front patio. It was too cold to try that out this time and we squeezed into a cozy table on the back wall. The restaurant seemed to be filled with regulars, or maybe that was just because the owner was working the room so well. It was pretty crowded for the middle of the week, and I'd recommend making a reservation for a Friday or Saturday night. Also, there was plenty of street parking to be had nearby.
I had the same waiter as when I was there the last time, and this guy was spot on. We let him guide the menu, and there were no complaints. They have a nice wine list with some reasonably priced options. I was hoping to dive into some of the French beers on tap, but I guess they were having some issues with the kegs. Our meal was complimentary, but to give you an idea, most entrees were around $25.
Our first course was a bowl of French Onion Soup and the Oeuf En Cocotte, a traditional dish made of truffle mousse, sauteed mushrooms, and egg. The soup was piping hot. The bread kept enough texture while still being able to break it up with a spoon. The cheese was plentiful, but I was kind of hoping it would make more of a mess. I'd never had something like the Oeuf En Cocotte before. Being so mushroom-centric, I was bound to like it though.
The Oeuf En Cocotte
The French Onion Soup
The main course included the French Style Gnocchi, the Seared Scallops, and the Beef Burgundy. The gnocchi had a good texture to it and went well with the light herb dusting. The scallops were served over a bed of pureed parsnips alongside some brussel sprouts and pancetta. The pancetta was too chewy for my taste but the scallops were cooked properly and the brussel sprouts had a decent crisp. Most importantly though, the beef burgundy was tender and bone warming.
The Seared Scallops
The Beef Burgundy
For dessert our waiter brought out an Apple Tart of sorts. The vanilla ice cream on the top would have been enough, but the crust on the bottom tasted just like those shortbread butter cookies. Not that we needed any more richness in our meal, but it was a nice way to finish things off.
The Apple Tart
The biggest takeaway from Bistro Voltaire was the feeling that I could take my Uncle Harry (a rather critical francophile) there. With winter staring us right in the face, this is a good place to have in your back pocket for a warm bowl of french onion soup and some beef burgundy.