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Cafe Voila, Albuquerque, NM

Café Voila is back after a brief closing. I haven't tried it since the changeover, but I've heard some promising reports. Let me know if you try it!

This is a fairly new French country-style restaurant at 7600 Jefferson NE, in the Journal Center Market Place on the west side of I-40 between the Jefferson and Paseo del Norte exits. They're open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner.

We've been there only once, for lunch, but everything was first-rate. Nice, open, airy room; good service; and the food adhered to the classic French principles: fresh and perfect produce, simple preparations, and nothing heavy or overcooked.

We started with a pair of soups, always a tough test: cream of watercress, and a winter squash soup with pancetta, walnuts, and dried cranberries. Both were outstanding, with plenty of flavor, subtle spicing, and good balance.

The second course was the Salade de chèvre tiède: warm goat cheese croutons, field greens, and oven-dried tomatoes. A fine grade of goat cheese, and greens as good as any other topnotch local restaurant.

My companion had the quiche Lorraine, and it was equal to the best quiche I've had anywhere. The eggs were light and moist and the crust was flaky.

I chose the Feuilleté de volaille et champignons, légumes du jour: a perfect pastry shell with chicken and mushrooms in a white sauce. The pastry was flaky and light, the chicken was tender, the mushrooms were tasty yet retaining texture, and the cream sauce just right. There were two sides. The ratatouille was just about as good as I've had it anywhere. But the other side took my breath away, simple but elegant: winter squash shreds maybe a millimeter square in cross section. I don't know what else was in it, but the squash flavor was distinct and terrific.

Unfortunately we didn't have time to check out the desserts, but we'll definitely be back.

Next: Cafe Spoleto, Albuquerque, NM
See also: Albuquerque restaurants gone but not forgotten
Previous: Le Cafe Miche, Albuquerque, NM
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John W. Shipman,
Last updated: 2003/03/12 02:21:25