My husband and I visited this past weekend to celebrate our anniversary and we couldn't have chosen a more intimate or charming place. There is limited street parking, but complimentary valet parking is available. At the entrance there is an outdoor patio with heaters and a traditional French fountain with an area for lounging and dining. The wine room is the first space as you enter, with seating around the room as well as on either side of the two islands situated in the middle. The suspended glass blown lights in the center of this room were designed to resemble prosecco bubbles. The bar is the second area as you continue beyond the wine room. The bar, with its own food menu, has seating throughout and along the bar, with a huge crystal chandelier as the focal point. The final room past the bar is the dining room, with plush, moss green, velvet tufted benches lining the walls, matching leather seats and wooden tables. The room has ample seating, but still feels intimate. One wall of the dining room houses the wine, a large panel of glass showcasing the variety available. Dark green swagged drapery divides the three rooms.
Aside from the impeccable interior, the food is what really takes center stage. I ordered a glass Saint Bris Sauvignon Blanc, which our attentive waiter assured me would pair nicely with my entree. If wine is not your first choice, there is a full bar and plenty of beer options. Warm bread and butter, both house made, are offered throughout the meal. We started the Chicken Liver Pâté with toasted bread, house mustard and cornichons. The pâté was very fine and smooth, filled with flavorful nuances. Next we split the Salad of Bluebonnet Leaf Farm lettuces with shaved spring vegetables and lemon vinaigrette. This generous salad worked well for two and had a really nice dressing that was light enough to allow the ingredients to shine, but still lent a brightness to the dish. Shaved carrots, and perhaps even fennel, brought a spring-like freshness. My entree was the Pan Roasted Massachusetts Cod with beluga lentils and warm beet vinaigrette. Very simple and delicate with great texture from the lentils and an earthy note from the beet vinaigrette. My husband ordered the Wood Oven Bouillabaisse with squid, clams, blue prawn and rouille; a favorite of our server. No words can describe the fragrant and multi-layered broth that is the center of this dish. It was a showstopper with very generous pieces of assorted seafood. With our entrees we had a side of Grilled Brussels Sprouts that were skewered and served with a chili sauce. Perfectly cooked with a mild hit of chili.
For dessert I could not resist the Warm Brioche Donuts with vanilla bean pastry cream and berry jam. Light as air and brought to even higher heights when dunked in the berry jam and cream. This is an easy to split dessert since there is a total of six donuts to an order. My husband ordered a single scoop of salted caramel ice cream, trying to restrain himself from a full fledged dessert. But along came our server, Abraham, with an unexpected complimentary treat--the Olive Oil and Berry Clafoutis with pistachio ice cream and salted caramel. He said it was his way of apologizing for bringing the brussels sprouts a little late to the table. The clafoutis was quite good with added flavors from the caramel and the pistachio ice cream. The service at la V is extremely attentive. We felt like we were completely taken care of in every way. There was no need to ask for anything since each desire was anticipated in advance. Only one very minor issue with regard to the design of the plates gave me pause. The rim of the plates are designed in such a way that placing utensils on them is rather difficult, which resulted in a fork falling into my lap more than once. A minor quibble to be sure that can be easily resolved. With romantic and well designed interiors, stellar food and incredible service, la V is now one of Austin's top fine dining establishments. (Cathy)