Thursday, December 29, 2011

Le Voltaire

569 North 155th Plaza (in Pepperwood Village Shopping Center)
Omaha, NE 68154
(402) 934-9374
Open for lunch Thurs and Fri, dinner Tues thru Saturday, closed Sun and Mon 

A fabulous idea for NYE ... especially if you'll be hanging out with your parents. 

The interior was dazzling, but there was still something very "West O strip mall" about it that I can't quite put my finger on. Our server diligently refilled our waters after every single sip, which is good if you're on a kidney cleanse but bad if you want to be left alone. With a wine list ranging from $7 glasses to $1200 bottles, nearly all indiscriminately yet impressively French, there's something for everyone. (Just not fans of Keystone light.)

Glass of Pinot Noir Vieilles Vignes, Albert Bichot 2008:
Light bodied, but with complex fruit flavors.
Didn't leave purple mouth.

The lunch menu is affordable enough for the average underemployed foodie ($13.95 for app + entree). The escargots, glistening with olive oil and herbs, disappeared faster than you can say "I'm eating snails!" Underneath the thick cheesy canopy of the French onion soup, a delicate broth was revealed. The duck leg confit was a great winter dish, with buttery potatoes and abundant aromatic rosemary. I wasn't blown away by the sandwich végétarien, since it seemed like another extra-cheese-for-meat trade every vegetarian is probably used to. I appreciated the effort to serve everything very, very hot, but it was too bad that once the fries cooled off their true blandness shone through. These must be what "Freedom fries" taste like, 'cause it was the one thing on the menu that didn't seem French.

Chef Fichepain -- after ten years of being opened -- seems content with ultra-traditional French fare, but perhaps that's just fine. As Voltaire once said, "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien (perfect is the enemy of good)," or as I like to say "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Le Voltaire fills the niche of classic French cuisine brilliantly, and is a great place to impress your girlfriend's parents.

Escargot Exhibit A

Escargot Exhibit B

Soupe á l'oignon gratinée au fromage--
That's French for "chunk of cheese served on a doily."

Duck Confit with Red Potatoes, Roasted Tomato and Herbs

Sandwich Végétarien:
"Open face sandwich served with grilled vegetables, goat cheese, and gruyere cheese. Topped with nuts."
The veggies didn't seem grilled, but rather a heavily sauteed ratatouille of mostly peppers.

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