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Where are the bad La Voile and Angela's reviews?

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Seriously, it's been a couple months. This can't be happening. Not on Chowhound.

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  1. Angela's? Is that place still around? ;-b

    Sometimes a restaurant is so good that it's tough to find any bad reviews on it. I haven't been to La Voile, but I can say that Angela's Cafe is one of the best restaurants I've been to this year. Perhaps someone will go to Angela's on an off-night and write a negative review on it, but so far I guess it hasn't happened.

    This might have the makings of a really good topic. Something like "Which Boston-area restaurants get the highest percentage of positive reviews on Chowhound?" Actually, I'm guessing the topic has been done before in one form or another...

    1. Two meals at La Voile, both excellent, one with terrible service (I think I lucked into the sole American waiter there, and I don't mean good luck).

      Seven meals and counting at Angela's, with nary a false note.

      I don't hold back on bad experiences here, even at places I love.

      I'm trying to think what my worst meal of 2007 was. I think it probably had to be my second dinner at Vintage Restaurant in West Roxbury: spectacular ineptitude from both front and back of house at every turn. It since has mercifully been taken over by the chef from 51 Lincoln, who is 86ing the luxury steakhouse concept.

      1. Can't imagine it would be possible to come up with a bad review of Angela's. About the only thing I think anyone could critize is that they don't have a beer and wine license, but who cares they have tutti-fruiti!

        1. I've only been to Angela's once and I really liked it. The guac and all the assorted apps were outstanding. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/462655

          However, my complaints are limited to these:

          1. white meat chicken for all the outstanding sauces (mole, pipian verde, etc).

          2. pozole - while having an amazing flavor, was overly salted. It also could have been hotter instead of warm (but this is mostly because of point 3).

          3. it was freezing when I went and it did take away from the enjoyment of the food. When I have a hard time moving my fingers, it's hard to keep a firm grasp of the fork.

          These are the things that stuck with me on my one visit but in the grand scheme of things, relatively minor complaints.

          3 Replies
          1. re: beetlebug

            Maybe if enough of us ask we can get a dark meat chicken option.

            1. re: Aromatherapy

              While I much, much, MUCH prefer dark meat to white, my theory is that Angela's incredible rich mole - combined with dark meat - would create an overly rich dish.

              Still, I'd order it in a second.

            2. re: beetlebug

              My thoughts:
              1) Was very cold the night I was there - and I am almost never cold. Not so cold that I didn't wish for a nice ice-cold beer, though.
              2) The sauces were fantastic (the best mole I have had since moving to boston) but the chicken was merely passable.

              I know that Angelas emphasizes their sauces, and they are why we go. However, even the best sauces need an acceptable base on which to be displayed. I think dark meat chicken would be an improvement, but it really seemed like they had a vat of boiled supermarket chicken in the back that was slapped on a plate, then lovingly garnished with laboriously hand-made, elegant sauce.

            3. I've been to La Voile twice now and the food was great both times. The service was a bit spotty on the first visit but nothing I was too worked up about. I think part of the issue was the language barrier which I realized when no matter what I asked, the bartender responded with "as you wish". The bone marrow is delicious and quite a large portion for $8! One thing I have noticed is that the portions seem to be pretty big across the board.

              1. Our one visit to La Voile with a group of friends was very good, and after months of weekly visits (sometimes twice a week) to Angela's Cafe, I agree with MC Slim - "nary a false note".

                I have to say that soliciting negative comments about family-owned CH places like Angela's Cafe (where mom is working hard in the kitchen 7 days a week) strikes me as a bit anti-Chowhoundish (is that a word?).

                13 Replies
                1. re: Rubee

                  I was soliciting negative reviews, I was trying to be funny.

                  1. re: tamerlanenj

                    I thought it was funny.

                    1. re: tamerlanenj

                      er, that should say "wasn't" soliciting negative reviews

                      1. re: tamerlanenj

                        LOL, hopefully people weren't reading it the other way. ("I was soliciting negative reviews, I wasn't trying to be funny.") :-D

                    2. re: Rubee

                      I doubt these pieces of constructive criticism about Angela's will deter any hounds from going out to Eastie. To me, this is a reminder that every place, whether dive or high end, can be improved upon and that research on any place will have positive as well as negative comments. I like to be prepared either way(hence, managed expectations for my dinner at Gaslight) and then make my own decision as to what I think about a dish/place.

                      Angela does work extremely hard in the kitchen and those sauces are not just sauces. They are works of art. But, I think that the white meat chicken does nothing to enhance the various sauces. Just like a pinch of cayenne can bring out the flavor of chocolate, a better cut of meat can make that unbelievable sauce into an exceptional dish overall.

                      Moreover, just like King Fung Garden, if you go to Angela's in the winter, dress in layers.

                      1. re: beetlebug

                        I think that's exceptionally even-handed and gracious post, and I agree. Angela's could raise the bar by ditching the chicken breast. Doesn't stop me from stuffing my pie hole with that guac or the tacos arabes. BUT we should be able to point out the good the bad and the ugly here of all places. I still don't understand the original solicitation for bad reports as I remember you pointing those things out in the original write-ups. Maybe you just didn't rant enough.

                        BTW -- I recall that someone recently posted that they resolved the heat problem -- wonder if any recent visits back that up?

                        1. re: beetlebug

                          Have you been back recently? We were there a couple of weeks ago and it was warmer, and Luis said they had fixed the heating problem. In fact, he mentioned it to us the minute we sat down.

                          Traditionally, mole is made with turkey (both white and dark meat ), though I've never seen it here; only in Mexico. The meat is often boiled ahead of time so that the broth can be used to thin the mole paste, though can also sometimes be added raw to the sauce. Angela's other dishes with braised beef or pork, such as the adobo, are very good too.

                          I have no issue with someone reporting on the pros and cons of a restaurant. I know it was started in jest, but as I said "it strikes ME" as unusual to start a specific, 'humorous' topic asking for bad reviews so people can mention negative comments they've already posted in other threads. I was making a statment, and didn't expect everyone to agree with me.

                          1. re: Rubee

                            Now turkey would be great! It would be interesting to see a mexican place that organized their menu like the indian restaurants - would have the sauces along the top with the meats in a column. Goat Mole, anyone?

                            Rubee - why is mole always served with poultry? I imagine it would easily complement pork, if not beef. Have never tried it that way, or seen it offered. I would try it at home, but mole is one of the few dishes that seem too much work to make at home (especially when angela's is available)

                            1. re: tdaaa

                              //but mole is one of the few dishes that seem too much work to make at home (especially when angela's is available).//

                              Brilliant idea, tdaaa! Angela, sell your mole in quarts (actually, I'll take a few gallons) at the restaurant. Pleeeaaaase?

                              1. re: tdaaa

                                I don't know why it is so, but it is traditional: moles are almost always served on chicken or turkey.

                                1. re: tdaaa

                                  That's an interesting question. I remember reading one of the myriad stories of the origins of mole - many center around nuns at a convent in Puebla serving it to an unexpected visiting dignitary - and supposedly they only had a turkey. Also, I should clarify that it's the classic mole poblano that is traditionally served with poultry. There are other types of moles served with beef or pork such as mole amarillo (yellow) or mole verde (green).

                                  I made mole from scratch once. It was delicious, but oh so much work and so many ingredients and steps. It took me two days of cooking and cleaning, including boiling the turkey and making turkey stock, toasting, rehydrating, and pureeing three kinds of chiles (and I burned the first batch and had to go buy more), toasting and grinding spices, nuts and seeds, hydrating dried fruit, and roasting tomatoes, garlic, onions, etc. That's just to prep some of the ingredients. After that, there was even more work (frying, reducing, pureeing) to make the mole paste, before you can add the broth and let the meat simmer in the sauce. The kitchen was a disaster. It just makes me appreciate all the more that Angela does this on a weekly basis. It was so much work that now we just buy a jar of Dona Maria mole and doctor it up. Actually, that's not true anymore. Now we just go to Angela's Cafe.

                            2. re: Rubee

                              The post was definitely done in jest. And seeing that all of the "negative" reviews are highlighting huge positives and giving more good word for the restaurants, I do not think this thread is anti-Chowhoundish or Un-American!

                              1. re: heWho

                                ChUAC says you'll never eat in this town again!

                                I also liked la Voile the one time I was there, though service was initially kind of a clusterf*ck, I'm not sure they knew what to do with some having dinner at the bar. But they had 1664 on tap and all was well. I didn't like it enough to rush back though.

                            3. And some actually prefer white meat in their mole...

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: chowfamily

                                Do all of the sauces at Angela's contain ground sesame? I have a dreadful sesame seed allergy.

                                1. re: Prav

                                  Heat update: As Rubee said, attention and care is going into this - There are also several heaters available, so you could ask for one near your table...Warmer curtains, with those lovely big windows, are also in the works, I hear...

                                  Sesame: Luis could tell you - and there are also all those wonderful tacos - I LOVE the chorizo gordita - that may be more likely not to have sesame seeds...

                                  1. re: fredid

                                    Is there a menu online or could you tell me about the tacos they have available? I'm not a big mole fan, but I love tacos... Though if i haven't gotten to Eastie for Santarpio's, I'm not sure I would for Angela's. I need to get more chowish friends, I think...

                                    1. re: maillard

                                      I'm on the run, but do a search for our chowdown/meal descriptions - chorizo (undescribed I think) is Mex. sausage with a well made small tortilla - VERY flavorfull - It's easy to get to, not the boonies!

                                      1. re: fredid

                                        Chorizo is not just Mexican. It's used in a lot of Latino cuisines...with some variations.

                                        There's a little shop in Maverick Sq..sort of bear left as you walk straight out of the station..and it's on your right. They sell a Colombian Chorizo that's factory made in Jackson Heights..not bad; but also a house made chorizo..great cumin flavor and worth picking up if you're in the area.

                                      2. re: maillard

                                        These are some of the one's I've had - tacos arabes (a rolled flour tortilla made with shredded pork), tacos al pastor (one of my favorites, pork garnished with fresh pinenapple in a soft corn tortilla), chorizo, and rajas (roasted onions and poblano peppers). I'm pretty sure they have chicken and a steak taco too.

                                        1. re: Rubee

                                          Yum yum yum. Thanks for the descriptions, everyone. I am going to have to try harder to get out to East Boston, I guess... Those all sound awesome.

                                  2. re: chowfamily

                                    While I have yet to get to Angela's, I know Bob and Carolina at TaQueria la Mexicana quite well, and they tried to use braised legs for their chicken. And why wouldn't they - it saves money. Anyway, customers insisted on white meat and they had to give in.

                                  3. Here's a review I wrote for La Voile's New Year's Eve prix fix dinner originally posted on Yelp:

                                    La Voile has the honor of being the only restaurant to actually make me sad. I am a happy lassie, but the prix fix dinner I had here to celebrate New Year's Eve/my birthday was horrendous enough to disappoint me to the point of actual melancholy.

                                    I made a reservation here a week or so in advance for New Year's Eve, which also happens to be my birthday. We arrived at 9:30 and were seated immediately. I did get really excited when I noticed that the knives were Laguiole, bumblebee and all, but that's about where the good impression ended. The only way to describe the madness that ensued is in chronological order:

                                    9:45 - Someone finally comes over to ask about water/wine. Though the list is fairly extensive, they don't offer half bottles of anything and only 4 or 5 glasses of things I wouldn't want to drink anyway (Chardonnay, Merlot). We ask for still water and I ask for a recommendation on the wine. The waiter holds up his finger and runs away. Huh.

                                    10:00 - We get our amuse bouche trio. A nice, buttery goose mousse with green apple on puff pastry, bland, lightly fried choux pastry with chervil, and... mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto on a baguette? Is it July? Am I not in a french restaurant? Also, can we please have some water? I'm really thirsty.

                                    10:20 - Bonne soiree, it's the sommelier! I ask which wines he'd recommend and he just says, "Champagne!" and points to a mid-range bottle I've never heard of. I say I was thinking more along the lines of a Pinot Noir. He looks at me and blinks, still pointing to the Champagne. I consider switching to french but don't want to insult his comprehension of English. I wait for some kind of description or info about the Champagne. He blinks again and I realize it ain't coming. I finally just shrug and agree. Do I want to drink Champagne through 7 courses? Not really, but hey, it's New Year's Eve! It's my birthday! I can totally roll with it. We'd still really like some water, though. Thanks

                                    10:30 - The folks next to us get their first course. Hey, weren't they seated at 10:00? What's the deal, yo?

                                    10:45 - Course #1 arrives an hour and fifteen minutes after we're seated. Salmon three ways. The "rillette" was, well... not. 'Twas salmon salad, a la mayonnaise. Bland, oddly lukewarm, and full of red onion. Yuck. Then there was a slab of smoked salmon flopped on top of some arugula dressed with lemon juice and finally what appeared to be a spoonful of marinated salmon tartare mixed with some shallots and more chervil. All of this was served with... toasted Wonderbread sliced into two triangles. I kid you not. Shocking.

                                    10:55 - Oh, look, a sliced baguette. Hey, and here's a bottle of Evian. Terrific.

                                    11:20 - The champagne arrives. It's fine, though a little sweet for my taste. Hmmm... the table seated at 10:00 has already gotten through half a bottle of wine and is on to the third course. This takes a little bubbly out of my bubbly, if you know what I mean.

                                    11:30 - The "brandy sorbet" arrives. Brandy sorbet, you say? Frozen brandy raked with a fork I say. Served in a mug. Weird.

                                    11:35 - I ask if we can just skip the 3rd course. From what I can tell from other tables, it's sea bass, it's plated terribly, it seems to be a WHOLE filet, and it's not getting good reactions. Plus, it's effing late.

                                    11:45 - It's been over two hours, we've had a total of 3 of 7 courses, and I realize there is no way in hell I'm going to get to see the fireworks, an event I anticipate beginning sometime in November. I decide to do the obnoxious thing and bust out the pissy french to the waiter. Translation: This sucks, you've ruined my birthday, get us out of here. He asks if we want the remaining courses to go. I say no, no, just the check.

                                    11:50 - The 4th course is set down in front of us. I resist a major freakout and try it. It's a medium-rare filet mignon served with an absurd amount of foie gras, oily, oily green beans and an incredibly salty demi glace. The plating is awkward, the flavor profiles are anything but harmonious, and the grease is overwhelming. This course solidifies La Voile's nod to ill-conceived banquet fare in my mind.

                                    12:00 - Happy New Year. Still waiting for the check.

                                    12:20 - The check arrives, along with the remaining courses, packed up to go. Grr. We leave cash, get up and go over to the coat check area to find the coat checker making time with some dude at the bar. Super. I wander around until I find the coat closet, burrow inside until I find our coats, consider the fact that I could walk out with whatever I want in there, don't, and leave.

                                    Here's the thing about all of this. I've worked in restaurants for most of my life. Things can go terribly wrong and you have bad nights. This all would have been cool with me if someone had let us know what the hell was going on at any point in the evening. The only evidence I have of this being an off-night for them was the conversation I walked into in the bathroom hallway between the owner and his wife: "Everything is fucked!" he was yelling in french. She just shrugged and smiled at me. Thanks, lady. Did I mention it's my birthday?

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: perpetual waitress

                                      Oh, that's awful, although breaking out the pissy french sounds awfully fun!

                                      1. re: perpetual waitress

                                        omg, that sounds effing horrible. But your account of it was hilarious, esp. the "everything is fucked!" part. hahaha. It's too bad that the CH love affair with la voile had to end though, before i made it for dinner..

                                        1. re: that_reeks_ugly

                                          I wouldn't read a New Year's Eve experience as representative, especially NYE in the restaurant's first two months of operation. NYE dinners are always a crapshoot: booking a NYE dinner at a place that's only a few weeks old is restaurant Russian roulette.

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                                            slim, i definitely agree. After all, the effect of any small service kinks that might usually be glossed over by above average food and good prices must have been greatly magnified, given most diners expectations on NYE.

                                            I was kinda rooting for La Voile, given its practically flawless record on Chow; I'm not at all surprised that the first trainwreck report from there was on NYE. But i'm sure that it's still a great restaurant and am looking forward to eating there for the first time.

                                            1. re: that_reeks_ugly

                                              i agree with both of you; given the previous rave reviews, my guess is that order would be restored if you visited again sometime soon (though i just heard another sub-par account from a friend, but i'm not sure i trust her judgment entirely).

                                              i do maintain my wish for some sort of information about what was going on in the kitchen at some point during the meltdown. it's always better to let your tables know that things won't be going as excpected and attempt to accomodate them than to smile through gritted teeth and hope no one pulls a walk out on you...

                                      2. Folks if you have a comment on the food and service at La Voile or Angela's (whether on NYE or any other time), please go ahead and post here. If you want to have a general discussion about whether restaurants can offer acceptable service on New Years Eve, please start a new thread on the Not About Food board.

                                        1. Incidentally, The Boston Globe's Devra First gave a fairly strong review (2.5 out of 4 stars) to La Voile today, citing early raves by Chowhounds in the process.

                                          1. Here's my question for the experts. My only disappointment at Angela's is the lack of a really spicy salsa or bottled hot sauce. Is that not a feature of cocina poblana? I now bring my own bottle of Yucatanian hot sauce. On my last visit, Luis gave me a plate of pickled jalapenos and onions that Angela prepared for me, but it didn't provide the heat level I like.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: Blumie

                                              I agree with this one - Yucateco and Tapatio are two of my favorites : )

                                              Angela and family are trying to listen to everyone. For example, Luis and his mom added the chilaquiles to their breakfast menu when they opened at this new address (with mom), but his great breakfast reputation and neighborhood clientele from the previous place. Everybody who had never had chilaquiles and tried it loved it , but it was bit too spicy for some, and not enough for others. Luis said there is a regular (and I like to believe he's a Chowhound!) who always asks for his chilaquiles very, very spicy.

                                              If you order any dish that you would like with some heat added to the dish, just ask for it spicy. (E just looked over my shoulder and said "mas picoso"). Especially if it's an adobo, pipian , or mole. Angela will add a bit of homemade seasoning paste made from a combination of dried peppers, or a dried sprinkling of certain peppers to make it spicy. That way Angela makes it with a lot of heat while she is cooking.

                                              For condiments at the table - I LOVE Angela's fresh homemade salsa verde and salsa roja with chips. -

                                              Heh - I got a bit sidetracked. Again, YES, I agree - Mexican hot sauce at the table is a great idea. My vote would be a little bowl of Angela's homemade marinated chipotles with garlic. And then Tapatio, and Yucateco red, green, or habanero.

                                              Here's one of my favorite habanero salsas - El Yucateco "KutBil-Ik XXXTRA Hot Sauce" and a recent Chowhound report for a lime and aioli dip for cocktail shrimp:

                                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46535...

                                              1. re: Rubee

                                                Yucateco habanero is what I've been bringing with me. Tonight, I mixed it in with the guac and added it to my tacos. Yum!

                                                1. re: Blumie

                                                  Nice!!! I'm impressed.

                                              2. re: Blumie

                                                Actually, in answer to your question: no, food from the Puebla region is not particularly hot and spicy: the careful melding of flavors is way more important than heat level. Although ironically, one of the main cities in the Puebla region is Cholula, which of course lends its name to my own preferred brand of Mexican hot sauce! But it doesn't come from Puebla, it's from Jalisco.

                                              3. i'm a vegetarian. is there anything at all i can eat at angela's?

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: overlapgreen

                                                  I imagine that depends on what kind of vegetarian you are. I would call and ask: I'll bet that Angela would whip up something to accommodate you, and it would be amazing.

                                                  1. re: overlapgreen

                                                    I think MC is right - here's a post with some ideas - but I wouldn't "settle" for a rice and beans burrito if she could add mole or adobo sauce! (Don't know if these have chicken stock or some such...) They also have very nice "green" and "red" sauces...Rajas - sliced peppers with crema have been a big hit - ask Luis, as they often have them but may not list them...And the guacamole, of course, is great! Also, her homemade tortillas (again, ask for these) have a lot of flavor - with her also very good rice and beans, and some red or green sauce, it would be a nice lunch...

                                                    I'll talk to Luis tonight when I go, and ask him for ideas - and when you go, why don't you post as you're the second person to ask this?

                                                    1. re: fredid

                                                      Whoops! Here's the post with some ideas for vegetarians - As I posted below, Luis and Angela are working on some additional possibilities. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/470298

                                                    2. re: overlapgreen

                                                      There isn't a lot for vegetarians, but they will go out of their way to help you find something really good. My son is pretty tough to feed, given health-related restrictions. He doesn't eat meat, wheat, dairy or yeast, so there wasn't much for him (other than Asian places, that's pretty much the case everywhere.) He wasn't particularly hungry, anyway, and ended up quite happy snacking on guac (the best I've had), chips and terrific salsa. They offered to make a roast vegetable burrito,and probably would do roast vegetable enchiladas. Call the day before or early the day you go and request that they cook some beans without lard or meat. The more people that call and ask for veggie items, the more likely that there will be some standard daily offerings.

                                                      It is an awesome place, and so warm and accommodating.

                                                    3. We ate at Angela's tonight for the first time, and it is IMO the best Mexican food we have eaten in Boston. I am still thinking about the chicken enchiladas mole, excellent quacamole, chicken with a red sauce with sesame seeds (I forget the Spanish name for the sauce), very subtle complex flavor. Thanks for the recommendation!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: veggielover

                                                        The chicken tonight (I was there, too!) was a pipian rojo (Angela also sometimes makes pipian verde) - Now I'm sorry I didn't get it! I mentioned to Luis that friends were interested in vegetarian choices - He and his Mom (Angela, for those who might not know that!) will figure out some options, and he promised to let me know - Of course, I'll pass them on! He was going to ask Angela tif she could make some mole without chicken broth....I'm not sure if this would be by special request, or on a regular basis. I'm sure that Angela will first want to experiment - She'll want to make sure it's as good as her usual mole - She takes such pride (in the best possible way!) in her cooking...

                                                      2. Okay. I am not an expert chowhound or anything, so my opinion probably doesn't matter that much.

                                                        I've been to Angela's once and I wanted to enjoy it, but it didn't impress me.

                                                        The food was edible, It was just eh... I don't know, not much character? Maybe it was an off day. I went there in the afternoon and ordered a chicken mole enchiladas and coffee. The coffee was lukewarm, the food was kinda cold, except for the rice that was kinda warm. I thought the mole was bland and almost tasteless, maybe it was my fault for not ordering it spicy or extra spicy. Usually, when I have a regular and not spicy mole, it supposed to taste rich. The one I had at Angela's wasn't. The chicken was cold and tasteless. I took half of the food home and heated it up.. still didn't improve the taste. :(

                                                        I would give it another try, when the weather is warm, so I wouldn't have to deal with cold food. I really want to like this place..

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: 02139

                                                          Don't bother with the chicken enchiladas...not that great,I ordered it by accident once. Get the chicken breast with mole... it's huge and great. Ask for spicey...I think they are conservative with spice as not to turn some people off. They have some good spicey sauces that you can add to anything if you want. Don't give up...they have so many good things. I ordered the steak (if you are in the mood) that was very flavorful the last time I was there.

                                                          1. re: bostonron

                                                            I agree the mole sauce is great but the chicken breast was disappointingly dry when I tried it.

                                                            1. re: bostonron

                                                              I had it with mole because I wanted to try the mole. I don't know if it's gonna be a big difference if I ordered chicken mole.

                                                              I don't think I've had the best mole in Boston, but the one I had at Zocalo in Arlington was quite a bit better than the one I had at Angela's.

                                                              I'll give it another try, though..

                                                            2. re: 02139

                                                              You don't need to be "an expert chowhound" for your opinion to matter. You either like it or you don't; that's all that matters. Many of us love Angela's, but that doesn't make your opinion any less valid.

                                                              (Same thing with wine, btw. People should not be intimidated by the "experts.")

                                                            3. Well, I hate to be a lone voice in the wilderness, but I was not blown away by La Voile tonight. Decent food + slow service (+ physically uncomfortable room) = average experience.

                                                              We were seated immediately by the very friendly and attentive host and hostess. The dining room was mostly empty at 6:30, but rapidly filled and was bustling (and deafening) before 8pm. The room was deathly on a hot night, easily 80+ degrees inside - ugh. At about 7:30 a waiter finally opened a window which helped immensely.

                                                              Very long wait for water, longer wait to order (wine as well as food). Cute amuse bouches - mini pissaladiere, lobster bisque shot, salmon rilletes. All good, nothing mind-blowing. I ordered mini ravioli with pesto, and country pate. Oops, they're out of cuttlefish, DC has to reorder - she got the halibut, plus endive salad. Very nice bottle of Sauvignon Blanc ($36). Moderate wait for 1st course - ravioli for me and salad for her. (Why wasn't the pate served first and ravioli second? Ah well.) Both were very good.

                                                              Then we wait. And wait. And wait. An hour later, out comes the pate and halibut. Cold pate, tasted okay. Apparently the halibut had sat under a lamp a while; it was dry. An hour wait, for cold pate and overdone halibut? Ehh. At that point we skipped cheese or dessert and headed out. $106 pre-tip for 3 apps, an entree and a bottle of wine (and a bottle of evian).

                                                              I would totally go back for wine and cheese - the bar area was cute and the cheeses looked aMAZing. But dinner? Probably not. Well, maybe to try the sweetbreads - they sounded tempting.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: laura jean

                                                                I have to say I was very disappointed in La Voile. I guess my expectations were high due to the level of buzz on this board, but overall I put it well below places like ESK or even Les Zygomates.

                                                                Went with a group a few nights ago. Surprised to learn there are no cocktails; just wine (not even clear if beer is available), and I guess cassis, if you want a kir. And $7 for a bottle of sparking water!

                                                                Started with the bone marrow, which was good, but pretty hard to screw up - the salad it came with was uninspiring (and seemed to make an appearance on many other plates served that evening). Milk-fed veal was tender, but swimming in some godawful brown gravy that took away most of the subtlety of the dish. Vegetables on the plate were underseasoned and nothing to write home about. Others at the table had various salads for starters, quite a few folks ordered the steak and potatoes, which was just that - a steak, with some potatoes - I'd have a hard time getting excited about it.

                                                                The food was just fine, nothing incredible. What pushes it over the edge for me was the clumsy service -- the waiter did not seem to be familiar with the menu and there were real communication problems -- even though one member in our party was a native French speaker. On various occasions the owners and maitre d' were having a good old time, hollering at each other in French -- all in good fun, I'm sure, but if they were yelling in English it would not have been quite as amusing.

                                                                I'm just not sure I'd make it a destination. I guess if you're up for the full-on French Bistro Experience, language barrier and all, then it might be interesting, but for my money there are at least half a dozen other places targeting a similar price point and concept that do a better job.

                                                                1. re: Sgt Snackers

                                                                  I was with Sarge's group and thus, echo the sentiment, but can add a few more details.

                                                                  I had the scallop salad, which I thought was well-executed, both nicely seared scallops and properly dressed greens. After learning they were out of 3 other seafood dishes, I settled on the halibut. About 10 mins later, the waiter came back, tossed menus on the table and said abruptly "Halibut is finished". The 2 of us who ordered it had to identify ourselves by picking up the menus. So more than half of the seafood entrees were unavailable (although it could have been even more than that). I got the steak and potatoes. Steak was fine, nothing to write home about. Salad on the plate resembled the greens from scallop salad but was undressed and thus, unappealing. Side of potatoes were greatly underseasoned and all at the table who ordered this dish added lots of salt. Wine was fine; I didn't scrutinize the list but if I recall seemed slanted toward a higher price point than necessary.

                                                                  For dessert , a pruneau-gateau error led to prunes arriving instead of chocolate cake (this despite 2 people pointing to the cake on the menu and the waiter telling us he recommended ordering it, even over another chocolate cake on special that night). Waiter seemed sure we were wrong about what we ordered, but in the end some very tasty warm chocolate cake arrived.

                                                                  In sum, there were some good dishes, but overall I would say that both food and service were uneven. Staff were effusive in their use of bon apps, bon soirs, and other French pleasantries (but not in a way I found welcoming; rather more in a way that made it uncomfortable to answer in English, which I did anyway). Perhaps better food than I normally would expect from Newbury St, but well below my expectation from the hype. WIth too many restaurants and not enough time, there are other places in the price range I would return to before this one.

                                                              2. I just went this weekend as we had some family in town. I have to say I was a little disappointed based off all the hype I've seen even on Chow. First off, even though I made reservations a month in advance, I was given the table right off the door, in the room with the bar. What's also surprising is that they have a bus tray right next to the table, they use it as a holding area for food coming out of the kitchen, but also for plates being cleared from tables. The unfortunate is as tables are cleared, plates of fish, chicken off the bone, lamb shanks, mussel shells, etc were literally being placed on a tray right next to our table. It was so close I literally bused some items off our own table without getting up.

                                                                Anyways, it was quite at 7:30 when we sat, but by 8:30 when the bar began filling up I was getting bumped every 30 seconds by a patron, a bus boy, the host or a waiter. I even had trays of food go over my head and the cheese cart knock into me. When I complained I thought I received a very patronizing answer from the host, though my waiter was very apologetic. In the end, they did apologize again and gave the table a round of champagne which was nice at least.

                                                                But more importantly the food...I'd say it's touch and go depending on what you order. And perhaps beef isn't really what they are as good as. The lamb shank was VERY GOOD, really moist, fall off the bone, great braised dish. The mussles nothing too special but good. My wife had the steak and pommes and I had the sliced filet. I think both were somewhat poor. My wife's was a thin cut of really sub-par meat. There was even some silverskin still on the meat. We both asked for medium-rare and received rare. The steak was cool, it wasn't even warm, which isn't my definition of medium rare. But some of the other dishes were really solid, the scallops appetizer and cheese plate was great. The mini raviolis were awesome! The creme brulee fois gros was also very good.

                                                                Desserts were also a little mixed, the napolean didn't have that much flavor and the pastry was a little tough. The tarte tain was the best of all the desserts.

                                                                Service overall was pretty good. They were trying, but overall I was a little underwhelmed by my experience. I'm not sure it's the savoir of Newbury Street as I've seen some people post, but I guess I'd give it another shot in a while. Though I definitely won't order beef there!

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: InNOutBurger

                                                                  Steak doesnt appear to be a strong point, as your review echoes other disappointments...especially with the awesome awesome steak frites at Vlora nearby.

                                                                  However, the braised dishes, the sweetbreads, the veal blanquette, and many of the other traditional comforty favorites are really very good. I agree that one must consider ones order carefully.

                                                                  1. re: InNOutBurger

                                                                    I agree. I went there last night with a party of 6. Our reservation was at 8:30pm and we were seated immediately. The service is extremely friendly. We ordered our food at around 8:50pm and got our starters 30 mins later. My bf & I got the pan seared foie. They gave us a huge chunk, so I'm assuming it was duck not goose. It was pretty good, but we've had better (ie: No9).

                                                                    By 10:00pm our entres still havn't arrived. The place was packed and they looked really busy but we were all getting inpatient and it really felt like forever. We followed up with our waiter and the dishes came about 15 mins later. For me personally, the super long wait meant that the food had to be extremely amazing to make up for the wait.

                                                                    Here's a few things we ordered:
                                                                    *muscles - they give you alot, and they're big, but it was dry and the wine sauce wasn't that great - a lil fishy tasting.
                                                                    *lamb shank - it was the best thing any of us ordered that night. the presentation was nice and the lamb was fall-off-the-bone soft.
                                                                    *steak & potatoes - we asked for medium, but it came rare to medium rare. We actually heard the table next door also complaining about their rare steak
                                                                    *Filet Mignon & bone marrow - I was served 5 large slices but it tasted kind of bland. The green pepper saucewas bland too. I kept adding the sauce & sprinkling pepper but it was still very bland.

                                                                    BUT the desserts were pretty good. We ordered the rice pudding, chocolate cake (like a molton chocolate cake), and apple tart. The best was the chocolate cake.

                                                                    The bill came to about $50pp. I'm not sure I'd go back again. I would still prefer PRB.

                                                                    1. re: kweesee

                                                                      What's funny is that our foursome had exactly the same main dishes you had and I totally agree word for word on the complaints on the dishes. I also kept adding salt, pepper and sauce to my Filet to no avail, not to mention it being undercooked. The lamb was definitely the best dish for our table that night as well.

                                                                    2. re: InNOutBurger

                                                                      I have to say, we were a little disappointed with La Voile based on the hype as well. Overall, the service was great and attentive and we liked the space. The amuse were good. I had the soupe de poisson and the quantity for a starter was staggering, but it was good, not great. I had the sole for an entree, and while the table side service was impressive, again it was good not great. The dessert wasn't memorable, I assume, because I do not remember it. That being said, the bill was staggering, so there was a disconnect for me in terms of how much liked the food and how much I paid for it. I'll give it another try, but it will need to hit things out of the park with what's on the plate. There's definitely promise here, it just wasn't what I was expecting based on other comments.

                                                                    3. I thought the much heralded mole sauce was a little on the sweet side, the beans and rice were average at best. My taco arabe was dripping with grease and if there was supposed to be some middle eastern flavor in there, it was lost on me. Also, I really don't enjoy eating in restaurants with water-stained drop ceilings and that have insulation hanging down - kind of a dump with a fresh coat of paint.

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Mr.Og

                                                                        I am so surprised to read this about Angela's. I don't like sweet flavors and think her mole is deep and nuanced and not sweet at all. Also, my tacos arabes have never been greasy. Decor aside, I'm dismayed by this report since it so doesn't jive with my Angela's food experiences.

                                                                        1. re: yumyum

                                                                          I agree. This review is entirely inconsistent with my experience.

                                                                          1. re: Blumie

                                                                            To quote you " You either like it or you don't; that's all that matters". I guess that is unless you disagree...

                                                                            1. re: Mr.Og

                                                                              I don't know who you're quoting, but I don't mean to suggest that you're not entitled to your opinion. But we're certainly entitled to point out where your observations are inconsistent with ours. We're not saying you're wrong; we're just saying that our experiences differed.

                                                                        2. re: Mr.Og

                                                                          Although to be fair, no, there's not supposed to be middle eastern spice or anything like that in tacos arabe. That's just a reference to the presentation of chunks of meat in a flour tortilla: it's akin to a kebab.

                                                                        3. Unfortunately it sounds like La Voile may actually be french for "flash in the pan".

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Gabatta

                                                                            The price spike was the first warning sign. I still insist the veal blanquette and the sweetbreads are terrific.