Now You See It ...

The food at Voilà French Café is incroyable!

I spent several days rhapsodizing about Voilà's food to anyone within earshot, then called the place to find out who on earth was manning the stoves there. Was it even possible that Voilà's management had found a chef even more marvelous than Habassi? Had I happened upon the Best New Chef of 2003?

Voilà French Café has no chef.

Since Habassi's sudden departure, the management has yet to settle on a replacement. In the meantime, according to co-owner John Green, Voilà is operating with a cook, but without a chef. Green says that at one point somebody even called in a favor and got Burt Reynolds' personal chef (I kid you not) up from Florida for a week to work on the menu. When a new chef is brought in, Green adds, Voilà may undergo yet another name-and-menu change. It may even go Italian. For now the situation is so uncertain that when he learned that the RFT was going to run a review of the place, Green fretted that he'd have to expand his hours of operation to Thursday through Sunday the week the piece got published. (Needless to say, reservations are recommended.)

Co-owner John Green says Voilà may undergo yet another name-and-menu change
Jennifer Silverberg
Co-owner John Green says Voilà may undergo yet another name-and-menu change

Location Info


Voila French Cafe

4501 Lindell Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108-1846

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: St. Louis - Central West End


Fig-and-walnut salad $5.95
Chateaubriand $16.95
Entrecote a la bordelaise $17.95
Profiteroles $3.95

314-367-4100. Hours: Fri.-Sat. 5:30-10 p.m.

4501 Lindell Boulevard

All of which, as far as I'm concerned, only serves to make the place that much more precious and worthwhile right now. I often say that food alone is not what makes or breaks a restaurant. I often say that good food -- even great food -- matters little if service and atmosphere are lacking. Voilà has proved itself the exception to the rule. Not only do I plan to go back there for the food, but the food is so worthwhile and joyous that I now think Voilà charmingly unpolished. I get a kick out of the kind but weak service, unknowledgeable and at times inexplicably absent. I laugh good-naturedly at the unforgivably insufficient wine list, a meager hodgepodge of cheap selections. I do want to have fascinating converstions and audacious romances. I root for Voilà. I want it to mature; I want it to succeed.

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