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Jan 28, 2007 07:51 PM

Petit Robert Bistro South End Tonight

Went for an early dinner with four friends. We were seated right away and offered the wine list. Decided on and ordered a bottle of Louis Philippe Rose Champagne (we were celebrating!). Server came back and told us that the bar had just been stocked today and the bottle was not cold enough to serve. We were not going to order the other rose option as it was nearly twice the price so we ended up with a bottle of Duval-Leroy NV Brut which was good, but the whole experience was rather irritating. We realized actually that the very same thing happened to us on a prior visit. I won't go so far as to say bait and switch, but yet...it seems to me that I've rapidly chilled champagne in a bucket of ice and water and this option should have been presented.

On to the food - it was all delicious. Everyone was happy with what was ordered and eaten:
Green salad
Green salad with warm goat cheese
Onion soup gratinee
Trio of Pates
Steak frites bordelaise (substituted spinach for the frites)
Seared scallops with Rice Pilaf (substituted mushroom risotto from the special for the pilaf)

I cannot stress enough that the food was all delicious and excellently prepared. In that respect, and as far as our gathering of friends it was a perfect night.

The one dark spot on the evening was the service. It was indifferent and confused at best and accusatory and rude at worst. There are too many instances to detail, but highlights include:
A mix up (on their end) that resulted in one starter (green salad) arriving 10 minutes after other starters (and a reminder by us). Food runner apparently felt we were to blame for the mix up (truly not) and let us know it.
Every plate of food brought to the table was auctioned off, as in: "garden salad" - followed by harsh glares from the server who was apparently waiting for someone to raise their hand
Above-mentioned champagne issue
Entrees arriving (and being auctioned off) while our finished appetizers are still in front of us

I'm quite disappointed about the whole thing as the space is beautiful, the food delicious, and the prices truly reasonable. I just don't understand why the service is so poor and unapologetic. I'd really like to see this improve as the food is almost enough to bring me back again, but if I want this kind of service I'll go to Chicago and eat at Ed Debevic's.

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  1. Bistros are casual, neighbourhood places. PRB is one of the few of its kinds and it been able to keep tp its true image (good food at reasonable prices) then friendly , casual service should do it.
    I would prefer the auctioning off of the dishes versus paying unreasonably at other 'bistros' justified by white linen & iron-faced servers.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Zabelle

      I can accept casual service when it is friendly, but there was nothing friendly about the food service last night.

    2. I must agree with heathermb. Service is key, even in casual rests. Apps should be clear and the runner or whoever brings the food should have a clue.

      2 Replies
      1. re: trufflehound

        And more importantly, clear the freaking table before bringing the entrees. That's so annoying.

        1. re: Joanie

          The best part was they acted as though we were at fault for those plates still being there and just kind of waited for us to move them, with the glaring.

      2. I was there with Heather last night and her post is right on. The food was delicious and we had a lovely time but the service was mostly irritating. I do appreciate that a bistro is a more casual spot but I think their service kinks should be mostly ironed out by now.

        1. The food is delicious, but I've only ever eaten at the Kenmore location. The service there was fine - maybe it varies by location?

          1. i do agree that the food at PRB is excellent, especially for the price. HOwever, i too have found the service to be quite indifferent! everyone always seems to be in a rush and they always seem to just throw things on the table!