Fall in love all over again with Le Voltaire French Restaurant
Photos by Christopher Tierney
Omaha loves its restaurants, and with so many new options opening all the time, sometimes we forget about those that have been around for years. But all it takes is one visit and we’re quickly reminded why a particular restaurant has stood the test of time. Le Voltaire French restaurant in Pepperwood Village off 156th & Dodge Streets is one of those places. Owner and Chef Cedric Fichepain has been offering comfort French cuisine for 16 years and continues to offer classics such as Boeuf Bourguignon and Coq au vin along with some of the freshest fish in town.
Le Voltaire itself hasn’t changed much. It still has the same quaint, charming décor and intimate feel with a private party room in the back. Much of the staff is also the same, including General Manager Nic Henke, and Executive Chef Wilson Calixte who has been working with Cedric for the past six years after winning a Chopped-inspired interview process. Cedric gave each chef interviewing for the position a “mystery box” of food with four ingredients and gave them 30 minutes to create a dish. “Wilson was the best, hands down,” Cedric said. The two continue to have a natural flow in the kitchen, and Cedric encourages him to come up with creative, expressive new specials.
One of Cedric’s favorite is fresh fish. He said that just within the last few years, it’s become easier to have fresh fish flown into Omaha daily. And he especially enjoys the variety available, such as monkfish, mackerel, and branzino, which is a type of European sea bass. “We can get fresh grouper from the Caribbean that’s so fresh it’s on your plate within 36 hours of being caught,” Cedric said. “It’s also a challenge to cook fish well, so I enjoy that.” It’s one of the reasons why the Bouillabaisse de Marseille (seafood stew) is his favorite item on the menu. It contains a medley of fresh fish, muscles, tomatoes and potatoes in a fish fumet broth, served with a fresh baguette topped with aioli.
Beef, pork, and bison are also popular menu items, and Cedric is a big proponent of locally sourced food, with beef from Nebraska, pork from Iowa, and even bison from the Dakota’s. Most of the cheese and wine are imported from France, and Le Voltaire has won the Wine Spectator Award for the past 14 years. Although Le Voltaire includes traditional French dishes such as escargot, duck confit, and foie gras, it’s not the stereotypical small amounts of food served on large plates that some picture when they think of French cuisine. Cedric describes their items as “comfort food,” including many of his grandmother’s recipes, all of which led him to be inducted into the Omaha Restaurant Association’s Hall of Fame. Additionally, he’s an instructor at Metropolitan Community College’s culinary program, and serves as Honorary French Consul for the states of Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota.
In 2013 Cedric opened Le Petite Paris Bakery next door, and recently opened a second bakery in Papillion, which serves both lunch and breakfast. Watching his original vision continue to flourish and provide high-quality, consistent food and customer service means everything to him. And he doesn’t plan to make any changes. For those who want to rediscover Le Voltaire, Valentine’s Day would be a great time. It’s three-course, all-inclusive dinner comes with a bottle of wine per couple and two seating options. Cedric invites anyone to come dine at Le Voltaire and fall in love all over again.