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Bouchee

Went to Bouchee (new restaurant in the Dubarry building on Newbury Street) last night with some friends. I like the atmosphere. There's a nice outdoor patio though we won't be able to put that to use much more until winter is over. Nice bar area, decent size with a few tall tables. Pretty lively crowd last night. There is seating both upstairs and downstairs. We opted to dine upstairs last night which is a bit more quiet. The menu is typical French bistro--roast chicken, steak frites all pretty reasonably priced. Our table had two apps, one the pate' which was quite delicious though I am spoiled by the bargain at Petit Robert (which as huge portions for about $8) The portion at Bouchee wasn't nearly as big but still plenty for an app. The other was the cod brandade which I thought was quite tasty.

For mains, one got the steak frites though opted for asparagus instead of the frites. The steak looked to be cooked very nicely and my friend said she really liked it. They have a few different types of flatbreads which one person ordered. It looked good and was a pretty decent size. Another person had the warm beets and goat cheese which I tasted and thought was good. I had the chicken hushwalla which was an interesting addition to this menu. Had more of a middle eastern flare. It was shredded chicken with almonds served over rice pilaf. It tasted pretty good, was a big portion, though the presentation was nothing special.

All in all, I think this is a nice addition in a neighborhood with so so restaurant choices. The food was pretty good and the prices reasonable. I had heard some bad stories about the service. Ours wasn't great but it wasn't bad either. Our water glasses were always full (which is a big plus in my book) though our waiter was almost too honest (didn't have anything overly positive to say about anything on the menu). There were four of us and with two apps, two entrees, one flatbread, one salad and a bottle of wine, I think it came to $30-35 each including tip.

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  1. I went in for lunch just the other day and sat outside on the patio. Decor is a nice addition to the neighborhood, but it truly just like Charlies from Paris. The food just doesnt cut it IMO, especially at the prices. I am sure that they will be slammed in the summer with all the newbury people, but what makeds it different from the rest of the mediocre cuisine on newbury.

    They were using Abe and louis check presenters too, which was funny.

    1. My wife and I went to Bouchee last night just for a quick dessert,oooh was it ever so bad!!!!. We ordered the Crepes Mascarpone, which was suppsoedly to have been prepared with " Grand Marnier pan-flamed fruit". The sous Chef must have had a very light hand on the bottle, we could not even taste a hint of the Grand Marnier. When we pointed this out to our waiter he gave the lame excuse of the alcohol burning off only to leave a faint taste of the ambrosia. Well I guess they used a flame thrower bucause it wasn't there. the crepe itself was greasy and the fruit looked as if it was defrosted with the same weapon they used to "burn" off the Grand Manier soggy,lifeless and limp.

      So we decided to give the Creme Brulee a chance. Well things got worse. The consistancy of the Creme Brulee was like oily mayonase, gross and with such a faint smattering of vinilla bean that I wondered if they measured it out in micro grams.You would do better. I was bold enough at that point to lean over and ask the table next to us how there dessert was, The reply was it was O.K. but for the price they charge it should have been great!!!. Decor and ambiance was nice, it deffenatly had a Paris feel and did well to match the pretentiousnes of a paris Brasserie but I don't think I'll go back for the glorified bar food at their $$$$'s

      1. i go often and think it's good. not great, but good. have had the duck confit, pork rilletes, mussels, different salads, a few sandwiches and oysters. all decent, and priced less than a lot of its neighbors.

        the wine list is very reasonably priced. i always eat at the bar and have had good service. i like the design and feel of the place too.

        it's open all day, so fits in that window between lunch and dinner when many places close. and it's a way better option than most of the places in that neighborhood. they've only been open 4.5 months btw.

        to chrisb1: what about your experience was pretentious? just because the desserts failed? and further why do you equate that with paris? i usually find service in paris much better than here. even in the tiniest little place.

        6 Replies
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          Well I have lived on and off in France for five years. Pretentious, well why act like parisian Brasserie when you are not? that's all, don't get me wrong I liked the atmosphere snobbish and all. Plus your french must be pretty good in order to not get a smug look in Paris ;o)

          1. re: ChrisB1

            I've seldom gotten smug looks (until this past trip in March and that wasn't in restaurants) and my French accent ain't so good. I liked my one time at Bouchee but it was a very quiet post-holiday weekend. Looking forward to going back for that wonderful duck confit salad.

            1. re: Joanie

              I hope you enjoy your duck cofit,and the second time is a charm as well as the first. As for me I think i will look elswhere for a quick fix for sweets.

              1. re: ChrisB1

                I'm not sure what sweets have to do with duck confit salad or Bouchee, but good luck on your search.

                1. re: Joanie

                  Well I guess nothing at all except when they are offerd on the same menue... at Bouchee... you think????

                  1. re: ChrisB1

                    I have to admit, I was confused by your post as well, perhaps because I interpreted "sweets" as "candy". But now I see from your original reply to lissy's post that you had visited Bouchee for dessert only. Thank you for the tactful clarification.

        2. I've only been here a couple of times. Yes, it feels a bit like French for beginners, and has a little of that Back Bay Restaurant Group flavor of service (i.e., a bit formulaic and chain-y), but I thought it was decent, and certainly a big improvement over many Newbury Street options. I'd rather they did a hanger or something else more chewy and flavorful for their steak-frites: sirloin just seems wrong, if a bargain.

          And I agree: I've gotten great service in most places in Paris. But I've never been in August, when a lot of Americans go, and the service is allegedly predictably miserable (the rest of the city is on holiday).

          1. We were at Bouchee a couple of weeks ago because we were in the neighborhood for something else and wanted to have a relatively inexpensive/casual dinner. We were not looking for an over-the-top dining experience.It was pretty busy, but our large party of six was seated very quickly as a large table opened up when we came in. The hostess was very nice. All food was pretty good. We had steak frite, coq au vin, escargot, beat/goat cheese, and burgers at our table. Everyone was satisfied with what they got. Steak was a cut above (strip) what you usually get with steak frite. Frites had a nice rosemary flavor. We did not get desert, just coffees and cordials.

            The service was good. We had an older waiter who was very efficient and just fine.

            Prices are reasonable for that neck of the woods. I think it is a good place to have in that neighborhood and would go back. It was what I expected.

            1. I've had the burger at Bouchee for lunch, and I thought it was...get ready for it...

              OUTSTANDING!

              Tremendous beefy flavor. Maybe the best burger in the neighborhood...though Abe and Louis and Solas both make a great one. Bouchee's isn't quite as big, but has the most flavor.

              1. You can practically see Boucee out our office window, so we have been ther quite a bit.

                IMO Boucee is the Charlies of Bistros. Mediocre at best but not horrible enough to avoid altogether.

                The onion soup is terrible. That's one thing I won't order again. Watery and bland -- I actually had to add salt to it recently as the kitchen had apparantly forgotten to add any at all. Once served with unmelted cheese.

                You have to really work to make salad dressing that bland, too.

                The Croque Monsieur is very unappetizingly soggy every time.

                The frites are ok and the quiche specials have been pretty good, though the pairing of ham and gruyere with fine herbs was a bit weird.

                Have not tried the confit or the flatbreads or the burger. Yet.

                Boucee certainly doen't hold a candle to Brasserie Jo, IMO. I'd go their over Boucee every time if not so lazy.

                3 Replies
                1. re: C. Hamster

                  That Croque Monsieur is indeed terrible. Drowning it in Bechamel or Mornay sauce as they do at Bouchee just makes it gloppy and worse. It's also in a ridiculous portion, kind of Cheesecake Facotry-esque. I know Brasserie Jo has its detractors here, but I'm a fan, and they do that sandwich much better, I think.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      Hey now. Thanks for pointing that out!

                  1. Yes, while I was at Bouchee I commented that it reminded me of Brasserie Jo, but the Brasserie Jo was a step above.

                    1. How are their deserts?. Honestly we love Asian/Indian food but can't find satisfaction with most desert options offered. We hit up the small cafe's or a bistro for that small craving mabey to the chagrin of some servers.

                      1. Desserts were limited. I have only had the creme brulee, which was good enough but not exceptional.

                        1. Having read about Bouchee online, I went last night with a friend and found it comically disappointing. The place is pretty enough and the servers are friendly too, but, to the food --the steak frites was weak. I decided to voice concern about the meat (overcooked and underseasoned and, um, tough), but just kind of silently shrugged my shoulders at the fries. If the cook considers those passable frites, I'm the least of his worries. (The aoili was better forgotten.) But the atmosphere was friendly enough. We regrouped and thought we'd have a go at desert. Alas, the flourless chocolate cake seemed curdled, the texture being grainy and sub-par. Freezer burn? Untempered eggs? After six months in business, you'd think questions like this wouldn't be raised. The host was super nice about it and gave us a discount in a way that made me think she's heard plenty of complaints before. I agree with previous posts, it's too bad a place that has spent a lot on decorating and charges a lot on the menu doesn't deliver food to the standard the atmosphere suggests.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Winter

                            Really, how can a place be this bad? I think this place is cursed. The French placethat was there before (years ago) was also terrible, comical. Such a great location... so sad.

                            1. re: WineTravel

                              I've eaten there three times, and every time I had a mediocre, sometimes less than that, experience. It's like Disneyworld French, which is a shame, since I'm a huge fan of Tim Partidge's cooking. All I can figure is that his hands were tied with this venture.

                              My theory is that the only restaurant groups that are willing to spend such a huge chunk of their budget on Newbury Street frontage are the ones where creativity of food isn't necessarily Concern No. 1. The Back Bay Restaurant Group (which also owns Joe's American and Paparazzi) tends to shoot toward the lower (if not lowest) common denominator, in my experience.

                              1. re: wittlejosh

                                The actual list is Abe & Louie's, Atlantic Fish, Charley's, Coach Grill (wayland), Bouchee, Joe's American Bar & Grill and Papa Razzi. They have 7 brands and more than 30 shops, with a good number in malls.

                                Obviously, pleasing the masses is their purpose. They are not geared to those who seek creative culinary artistry. This is food that is meant for others not for hounds.

                                I only wish some of these locations in the Back Bay were freed up for a few places where hounds could celebrate high value dining.