"La Voile Brasserie, one of the oldest and most appreciated restaurants in Cannes, France has sailed and anchored lock, stock and barrel in Boston." La Voile: [Fr. vwal]- noun, the sail.
Dinner, Sunday evening: A short flight of steps leads down to the entrance of this new brasserie below the Newbury Guest House. Passing through the door, I was honored with a friendly greeting by hostess, Stephanie, lovely blond wife of owner, Stephane Santos. At 6:15pm I was the first to arrive. I stepped over to the small bar and lounge/waiting area. Behind the bar is a majestic, shiny chrome expresso machine. I was able to chat with Stephane, Stephanie and manager, Philippe Canton-Lamousse about their new adventure in Boston.
I know next to nothing about French wines and Phillipe was delighted to tell me about the wines of Southern France. He's created an extensive French wine menu with several from each category of reds and whites available by the glass. He was offering a special this evening, that I tried, Chateau Malartic-Lagraviere blanc Pessac Leagnan, '03. Wow! [92.00 by the bottle, this evening [only] by the glass, 18.00]
At this time, La Voile has a license for wine and beer.
Wood paneled walls, pictures of sailboats: a nautical theme prevails. To add to the pleasing ambience, soft french ballads waft over the music system. The dining room is divided into two sections, set up bistro-style, with 2-tops covered with white table cloths. Waiters look smart in their white jackets, black aprons and pants. I could be in France: the owners have brought over with them their restaurant, their chef, Sam, and two of their waiters.
The menu that they offer is much the same as they served in Cannes.
LES HORS D'OEUVRE: fish soup, soupe du jour, bone marrow, endive salad, ravioli, leeks, fois gras, roasted lobster, scallop salad, cold cut selection, and cheese platter. Prices range from 8.00 to 20.00.
LES TERRINES MAISON: duck fois gras, country pate, chicken liver mousse, muscat veal. Prices from 15.00 to 43.00.
LE POISSON: mussels, baby squid, halibut, seabass, dover sole, and bouillabaisse. Prices from 15.00 to 43.00.
LA VIANDE: chicken, sweet bread, filet mignon, beef fondue, veal steak frites, veal and lamb. Prices from 18.00 to 38.00.
DESSERT: There are about 10 selections---sorry I don't have the particulars. They're all 7.00.
The menu is in French with the English immediately below in bold type.
My dinner for one: The meal begins with slices of Iggy's French sourdough contained in a warm, cloth sack and a butter pat. [The bread, it 's claimed, is the only thing not made in the restaurant.] I chose the sparkling mineral water, Badoit, "Frances' Favorite." I selected, for hors d'oeuvre, Les Petites Ravioles de Romans au Pesto/ French Mini Cheese-Filled Ravioli in a Pesto. This is a generous portion of ravioli served in a soup plate in a creamy sauce, subtly seasoned and yummy: French comfort food. [12.00]
My main course was La Marmite a la Marseillaise preparee en Bouillabaisse/ Fish Stew "Bouillabaisse" in a Saffron Broth: large, tender peices of halibut, seabass, shrimp, and mussels in a thick broth. Small slices of grilled bread along with 3 sauces accompanied this. It was superb. [29.00]
I was full and content. Philippe recommended a small dessert, L'Expresso Gourmand. This is a tiny cup of chocolate mousse, and one of creme brulee, along with 2 mini cookie-bars. Perfect. I substituted the expresso with a pot of camomile tea.[7.00]
And then the grand finale, a small glass of dessert wine, Cancaillau Cuvee Gourmandise Locarno, '95.[12.00]
Sunday was a slow night for La Voile, maybe 5 tables were occupied when I left. When word gets out, a crowd could be overwhelming for them. Because their challenge is to augment and train a proper wait-staff: a wonderful opportunity for the right person to work there.
This is an outstanding restaurant: impeccable service, delicious French-Mediterranean fare, a pleasing ambience, and the management and the crew who know how to be welcoming and pleasing. This is a restaurant that I'm excited about and I can't wait to go back.