226 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60610
We walked in the door and voila, “we’re back!” – in Paris that is. Bob and I had just visited Paris in August for our delayed honeymoon. I was missing the bistros and cafes. Bistro Voltaire is exactly what everyone has said, a step into Paris. We were greeted at the door by none other than Ned Boukram, (they call him Nat) the owner and chief operator, a native of France himself. Nat told us he is from Marseille, which is the second largest city in France, after Paris.
Bistro Voltaire is cozy and the seating is tight, exactly like a Bistro in Paris. But that is what is so much fun about Paris! The room was filled with diners and lovers, talking and laughing at intimate little tables. The setting is black and white checked floors, red banquettes, small tables, white tablecloths, candles and fresh flowers and a long candle-lit bar. The walls are dotted with pictures of famous French people and we sat at a romantic little round table that had Victor Hugo’s picture above us; we had just visited his house in Paris. Across from our table we gazed at a wall mural with a large etching of Voltaire. Bistro Voltaire’s background music is very romantic too. Édith Piaf (December 19, 1915 – October 11, 1963) was one of France’s most beloved singers; she sang several songs to keep reminding us we were back in Paris. Other favorite romantic French songs such as “A Man and a Woman” played throughout the evening. Oh, and did I mention that the lighting was dim and romantic?
We started with a lovely glass of Canard-Duchene Brut, Champagne; after all we were back in Paris! Steven our waiter recommended this recent addition to their wine list when we mentioned we preferred a dry champagne. Nice choice Steven, it was lovely! For our first course I decided on one of my favorites, Escargots de Bourgogne, and Bob selected something new to us, Oeuf en Cocotte. This is a sheered egg atop sautèed mushrooms, crème fraîche and porcini truffle mousse. I looked at that on the menu and thought, no thanks because of the egg, but was I wrong. I almost finished Bob’s first course. It was fantastic!
I selected Magret De Canard – seared duck breast, organic brown wild rice, red wine braised apples and red cabbage, with a sweet and sour sauce for my main course. If a restaurant has duck on their menu I always want it, but sometimes hesitate because I’ve had some really awful presentations of duck. Am I glad I threw caution to the wind and ordered it. It honestly was the best duck I have ever had. It was slightly crunchy on the edges and very moist and tender. The sauce was to die for and I literally wiped my plate clean with the last piece of French bread. Before I forget, the French bread came to us very hot and fresh from the oven. We devoured it and it was replaced immediately. Bob ordered his favorite, which is Carre D’Agneu Au Romarin – roasted rack of lamb, butternut squash, fingerling potatoes, mushroom, with rose-mary demi glace. Equally wonderful, Bob reported, and I tried a bite to confirm that. It was juicy and tender. We ordered a wonderful wine to complement our dishes – Marie de Beauregard Chinon -100% Cabarnet Franc. I don’t think I have ever had 100% Cabarnet Franc before, it was powerful with a long lasting finish.
Dessert was easy. I ordered Gateau Au Chocolat – warm chocolate cake with espresso ice cream and candied vanilla. Bob ordered one of his favs: Profiteroles – choux pastry, vanilla ice cream, warm chocolate sauce. Both were luscious. Needless to say, we will be back. It may be a while before we get back to the real Paris. Bistro Voltaire will help hold us over until then.
Some photos courtsey of Kurman Communications, Inc.