Name: José Dahan
Job: Owner and chef
Business: Et Voilà
What he said then:
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In April 2009, The Tribune featured Et Voilà, an upscale French bistro tucked in a strip mall between two Los Osos Valley Road car dealerships in San Luis Obispo.
There, owner and chef José Dahan offers a limited but ever-changing menu, planning dishes to fit the weather and the best available ingredients.
“I’m by myself in the kitchen,” said Dahan, “and with a short menu, I can control every ingredient and what goes on the plate.”
With regular lunch hours Tuesday through Friday, Et Voilà began opening for dinner 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays after a 2008 expansion doubled its size.
But Dahan, who is also in demand as a caterer and for private parties, warned diners to call ahead to make sure the restaurant wasn’t closed for a special event.
Last year, the chef also began serving a weekly soup to go.
What he says now:
Catering and private events still take much of his focus, so Dahan hasn’t kept public dinner hours consistent — particularly over the summer.
This month, for example, Et Voilà has only opened to the public one night. Still, his concept seems to have a strong following.
“I think our customers are very understanding,” Dahan said. “It’s a busy, busy summer. I’m going to try really hard to open for dinner on a regular basis after Labor Day.”
To keep his diners in the loop, Dahan sends an e-mail update each Monday with the week’s hours and menus to a list of more than 2,000 addresses.
Customers can sign up in the restaurant or at www.etvoilarestaurant.com.
Lunch entrées are priced at $13.95, with an optional first course or dessert for $3. When offered, three-course dinners cost about $29.
Dahan’s weekly soups have proven popular. His prepaid soup club has more than 100 members. For $20 a month, they receive a weekly 32-ounce container and a slice of homemade bread. Non-members can buy one for $6.
The first Tuesday of each month, Dahan adds the French language to the luncheon menu. For two-hours, individuals converse in his native tongue over a two-hour meal for $20.
The French Table attracts 15 to 25 people, he said. Regulars range from those just learning the language to those who teach it.
Dahan’s cooking classes, which focus on techniques rather than specific dishes, also book well in advance. Limited to 10 students, he charges $250 for four sessions.
His 2,000-square-foot bistro can seat 60. The larger dining area gives him more flexibility to hold private parties, ranging from anniversary gatherings to pharmaceutical company dinners.
“I’m the only business around here open after 5 p.m.,” he said. “People can make as much noise as they want.”
— Raven J. Railey