Welcome to The Buzz, a feature where we look at what the Internet is saying about brand new restaurants. It’s too early for a review, but when has that ever stopped anyone?
La Voile, Newbury Street’s newest bistro, has quite the back story. As reported in the Herald, the restaurant’s staff, chef, decor, and menu all come directly from Cannes, where the original La Voile was open for many years. The menu is very traditionally French, which poses an interesting question: might there be too many classically French bistros in the neighborhood? Bouchee is, after all, only a few blocks away from La Voile and Gaslight and the South End branch of Petit Robert Bistro are well within walking distance as well. Our suspicion is that La Voile needs to turn it out and become the dominant bistro in order to make it. Early reviews suggest that this won’t be much of a problem. Let’s take a look, shall we?
The Good: In an overwhelmingly positive review, Yelper Suzanne M. writes that “What’s to like about La Voile? For starters, the interior - the basement of the Newbury Guest House - is modern but classically elegant. The food is high quality although not extraordinarily expensive. … La Voile was a great night out at a lovely new addition to the neighborhood.” Happy Chowhounder lorpa very much enjoyed his or her meal: “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. 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. 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.” ‘Hounder MaggieMuffin mostly agreed: “The food was EXCELLENT. In fact, this was some of the best classic French fare we have tried in town, and we have been to most French restaurants.” Finally, Zagat enthusiast AndresR665706 very much enjoyed his meal: “Excellent food and service at this very French, French Bistro. … Great atmosphere and good knowledgeable and attentive service added to the experience.”
The Bad: The only element of La Voile that seems to have come under any fire at all is the service. Zagat-er TommyW0967 was quite dissatisfied with his experience: “cute place. great location. AWFUL SERVICE. Disrespectful Management. I live in back bay and I’ve never been treated worse at a restaurant. I was with two friends who were both vegetarian (group of 4 people) and the menu has two apps that are veggie-friendly and no main entrees. The kitchen’s solution? Make a large cheese platter? After high expectations, we politely left after the server asked us if the menu was TOO expensive for us. WHAT? I understand your french, but you’re in america and trying to open a new restaurant! I will never recommend this place to anyone nor will i return.” MaggieMuffin also had some service issues mixed in with the stellar food: “The service to get us to our table was terribly disorganized: from deciding who would seat us to sorting out the menus. … The waiter was French to the point that he barely understood English and was not familiar with American habits. For example, one of us ordered dressing on the side, but the request was met with a great deal of incomprehension. However, once our orders were in, the food arrive promptly. There was one mix-up with an order, but the problem was resolved quickly. … They really need to work out some of the kinks in their service, as it was borderline disastrous, but the food quality suggest this place should do well.”
The Bouchee Comparisons: As we mentioned earlier, Bouchee definitely looks to be La Voile’s major competitor. Is a Newbury Street bistro battle poised to happen? If so, it would seem that popular sentiment is rooting for La Voile. Says Chowhounder tamerlanenj summed it up nicely with “I’m starting the official Bouchee deathwatch. too bad, so sad!” and “hahah, Bouhee indeed.”
[Photo: American Sail Training Association]