3696 Fifth Avenue, San Diego
Hillcrest’s Voyou Wine Bar is no more. Following a quickie remodel, the restaurant has re-opened as La Bonne Table. Where Voyou aimed at a modern look, the new place looks to evince a kind of French country bistro effect, with darker cozier effects. Hardwood tables and chairs replace the white sofas, and candlelight replaces reflected sunlight. The place is still cute by any measure, but it’s perhaps more pleasant now, though somewhat less hip and whimsical.
The charm ends there, however, as the menu delivers little more than overpriced mediocrity. The old Voyou’s menu of shareable plates was only average, but it was at least wine-friendly and credible. In recreating the restau as La Bonne Table with the intent of doing French bistro food, the mark has been missed entirely. Dishes that should be affordable and wholesome arrive at table with little to say for themselves.
A $25 dish of steak and fries, perhaps the most iconic of all bistro meals, comprises an inferior cut of steak and a heaping pile of poor-quality, pre-frozen fries. The promising “magret de canard,” roasted duck breast for $20, looks forlorn. Thin slices of duck fan across the plate, with an unassuming green peppercorn sauce spooned across the top. The single side dish, a potato gratiné that tastes strongly of nutmeg, is merely adequate. At no point does the dish meet its own asking price.
The escargots manage to taste of pond water, despite the profligate use of butter and chopped herbs. At $8, each of the six snails costs $1.25, and it’s not exaggerating to say that the money would be better spent on a Powerbar from a local 7-11.
Dinner for two, with a few drinks in the mix, easily stretches to $100-plus at La Bonne Table, and it’s simply not worth it. The journey to Au Revoir Bistro is less than five-hundred meters from La Bonne Table. Make it.