Et Voila!’s Mussel Burger made the Washington DC Eater list of the top 25 essential burgers in DC.
What makes a burger essential in D.C.? Some of these are insanely popular, or very well-executed. Others have stood the test of time, or have a significant place in D.C. burger history. Still others are newer burgers that have already made a splash after a relatively brief time on Washington menus. What they have in common: they’re all worth a try, and they’re all at least a year old (go here for hot new burger action).
11 Et Voila!
The burger: the Mussel burger. The mussel burger might be one of D.C.’s weirdest burgers, but it’s a true original.
By Anna Spiegel | March 30, 2015
Easter is this Sunday, April 5, and plenty of restaurants around Washington are celebrating. Many of our 100 Best Restaurants are joining the festivities, offering special brunches, Greek Easter festivities (most of which are Sunday, April 12), all-day prix-fixe menus, and in one case, a vegan-friendly spread.
5120 MacArthur Blvd., NW
Festive brunch and dinner specials round out the regular menu at this Palisades bistro, such as lobster salad, braised lamb shank and artichokes over gnocchi, and a chocolate egg dessert.
100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 90 Et Voila!
Reviewed by Todd Kliman, Ann Limpert, Anna Spiegel, Cynthia Hacinli
There are more imaginative restaurants than this storefront charmer in the Palisades. But few are more consistent or more dependably satisfying. That’s not damning with faint praise – it’s exactly what you want from a classic French-Belgian bistro.
You want to know that the greens will be dressed tartly but lightly, that the bread will be crusty, that the duck confit will come apart easily, that the chocolate mousse and creme brulee will taste just like they do in Paris. Every so often, chef/owner Claudio Pirollo springs a surprise on you, such as a delicately rendered sea-bass tartare that would be the envy of every trendy bistro downtown. Not that plates like this portend a new direction for the chef or his cafe–no, not even the teensiest embrace of trends. That’s just the way you want it, too.
- Country pate
- Mussel burger
- Steamed mussels with cream and endives; beef carbonnade; floating island; waffle with blueberry compote; profiteroles. Moderate.
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.
2013 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
October 10, 2013
Dinner at this snug Belgian restaurant in the Palisades always makes me wish I lived closer. Every neighborhood deserves an Et Voila!, a source of steamed mussels and beer-based beef stew that is priced for regular workdays but could just as easily host a celebration.
This is the rare restaurant where, recently at least, appetizers take a back seat to main courses. (Warm pea soup in summer? Tuna tartare still?) That said, I love the all-white, crisp and sharp salad of chopped endive, diced apple and blue cheese. Lobster risotto is beautiful and luscious; crisp-skinned branzino comes with fresh ricotta gnocchi; and duck confit with pureed potatoes puts me in a Paris state of mind.
So do the desserts, which include very good profiteroles and a cloud of meringue on a pool of vanilla custard — an ile flottante that floats my boat.
2012 Fall Dining Guide
By Tom Sietsema
Sunday, October 21, 2012
This narrow dining room in the Palisades could double its 48 seats and still not be able to accommodate all the regulars who gather here, crowding the tiny foyer as they wait for a table. Now that’s proof of the power of a proper moules frites. Tender mussels and golden fries aren’t the only draw. The Belgian kitchen helmed by Claudio Pirollo also sends out noteworthy country pate, duck confit and grilled trout, each delivered by the kind of quietly expert servers you find on vacation abroad and dream of taking home as souvenirs. (By the way, the best spot for a group is the tall chef’s table in the back.) Now and then, Et Voila! reminds us it can be imperfect; sadly, the crunch in its plump mussel burger might be grit. And regulars get seated ahead of unknowns, even when the unknowns have reservations. But more often than not, this lively bistro addresses a pressing need on the scene: neighborhood restaurants that you could see yourself in, often.
New York City, August 6th 2012, Chef Claudio Pirollo and Sous Chef Eric Frisch received the honor to be invited at the prestigious James Beard Foundation for the “Best of DC” RAMW.