Food critic

The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2019 Fall Dining Guide.


Mussels at Et Voila! (Et Voila!)

(Good/Excellent)

My mom is such a fan that she requested this Belgian restaurant in the Palisades for her 90th birthday, where she would have ordered waffles (“the best!”) had only they been served at night. Me? I go for the superlative steamed mussels in a double-decker pot, the top of which is used for empty shells. My current pick involves a base of creamy red curry, resonating with lemongrass and ginger. But the stars of the show are the plump Dutch-style mussels themselves, which chef-owner Claudio Pirollo buys from a Belgian family in Maine. Eaten with crisp golden fries, the best around, the mussels make a joyful meal for just under $25.

No one-trick pony, the restaurant checks off a number of boxes. Its hamburger is a tower of juicy Oregon beef and glossy toasted bun; its desserts run to such lovelies as floating island; and if you’re looking for privacy, this charmer, renovated two years ago, offers spaces in three sizes, my favorite of which is the tall, 10-seat chef’s table in the rear.

2.5 stars (Good/Excellent)

Et Voila!: 5120 MacArthur Blvd. NW. 202-237-2300. etvoiladc.com.

Open: Dinner daily, lunch Tuesday through Friday, brunch weekends.

Prices: Dinner mains $19-$36.

Sound check: 73 decibels / Must speak with raised voice.