Voulez Vous Bistro in La Jolla Shores prepares for upgrades to ‘true’ French cuisine
By Kelley Carlson
A hungry beachgoer might not expect to find a French restaurant nearly hidden among a sea of surf-themed businesses in La Jolla Shores. But that’s all about to change if everything goes according to plan, said Voulez Vous Bistro propriétaire Christian Malécot.
Hoping to make the eatery more prominent, Malécot intends to make a handful of upgrades, including expansion and a change in theme.
“A restaurant is all about the ambiance, service and the food,” he said.
With the decor, the focus will shift more toward a true French bistro rather than the tropical French Polynesia. It will still be casual and comfortable, yet quaint — a place where visitors can grab a cup of coffee, read a newspaper or complete a school assignment, hook up to free Wi-Fi and casually note the people strolling along Avenida de la Playa, Malécot said.
The partially covered patio will be repainted and draped with vertical gardens and extended to the sidewalk. A cast-iron fence will define its boundaries, and customers’ dogs will be able to rest on a glazed brick floor. New umbrellas will replace the circular Polynesian-style grass canopies and four TVs will be added.
Inside will still feature display cases filled with baked goods, but the back wall containing the tropical-themed murals will be knocked out to allow for an expansion of the “boulangerie” (bakery) and seating area.
The modifications are expected to be completed within the first weeks in November, Malécot said.
Other changes are under way, as well. Voulez Vous now closes at 5 p.m., which will continue through next spring. Because of the new hours, the breakfast and lunch menus have been expanded.
The bistro offers authentic French cuisine “with a California touch.” Malécot takes the farm-to-table approach, buying produce from small companies that source locally and eggs from a free-range chicken ranch in Ramona. “Care is given to the details of our food,” including the homemade sauces and dressings, he said.
Breakfast is served all day with choices such as omelettes, crepes (including the Ham & Cheese with a north France-inspired Hollandaise sauce made from scratch), and Eggs Benedict.
To add a bit of sparkle to the day, Voulez Vous presents mimosas made with orange, mango or guava juices.
Patrons who desire lighter fare or a dessert can satisfy their cravings with pastries obtained from Malécot’s parents’ restaurant, The French Gourmet, in Pacific Beach. Delivered to Voulez Vous at 7 a.m. daily, the assortment ranges from buttery croissants and icing-laced danishes to dessert-like treats such as the Millennium Cake, consisting of layers of espresso-soaked sponge cake, silky chocolate mousse and hazelnut cream; and the Strawberry Bagatelle, a white sponge cake dabbed with kirsch syrup, filled with Bavarian cream and strawberries and covered with marzipan or white chocolate shavings.
Customers who desire specific items can special-order by 2 p.m. to receive them the next day. Lunch at Voulez Vous can be as simple as a soup or sandwich, or as elaborate as Escargot a la Bourguignonne – a half-dozen snails broiled in garlic butter.
The bistro’s homemade signature soups include Soupe a L’Oignon Gratinée (French Onion Soup), a family creation that is topped with a baguette slice and melted Swiss cheese; and the Tomato Bisque, often among the “Soupe du Jour” selections.
Soups can be partnered with sandwiches like the Grilled Chicken Panini with tomato, basil aioli and jalapeño jack cheese; or the Tuna Wrap, a spinach tortilla stuffed with seared ahi, Wakame (an edible brown seaweed), tomatoes, chives and romaine.
The vegetarian crowd may relish the Avocado Delight, a bowl filled with avocado, tomatoes, beets and a spicy Asian vinaigrette on a bed of mixed greens; or the traditional Salad Nicoise.
Steak and seafood specials are offered daily, which can be paired with craft beer on tap (specifically from Helm’s Brewing Co. in Kearny Mesa) and a variety of wines.
Voulez Vous Bistro
Address: 2168 Avenida de la Playa, La Jolla
Phone: (858) 459-3131
The Vibe: Casual, relaxed
Signature Dishes: Soupe a L’Oignon Gratinée (French Onion Soup), Tomato Bisque Soup, Ham & Cheese Crepe
Open Since: 2012
Patio Seating: Yes
Happy Hour: No Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily
On The Menu Recipe
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This week: Voulez Vous Bistro’s Vinaigrette
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