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Brasserie Jo

I'm being taken to Brasserie Jo for a belated birthday dinner Tues. nite. I've heard the martinis are good (yay!). How is the food? Any recommendations?
Thanks.

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  1. There aren't too many outright misses on the menu. I think their best dishes are the stereotypical French bistro and brasserie classics: tarte flambee (sort of a flatbread pizza, the one with bacon is my fave), steak frites with any of several sauces (the Bordelaise is probably my favorite, excellent frites, too), onion tart, raw bar, coq au vin, frisee salad with poached egg, croque Monsieur (a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, available at the bar only), shrimp in parchment, steak tartare, choucroute (cabbage cooked in white wine, topped with a bunch of meats and sausages, very Alsatian), liver and onions. Very good cocktails (and giant sized -- be careful!), a pretty respectable wine list (predictably French-heavy), excellent profiteroles for dessert.

    8 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      is brasserie jo still doing a tableside chocolate mousse?

      1. re: BostonCorkDork

        I don't know about that dessert: how do you do mousse tableside? Maybe you mean the profiteroles, which they serve with a bit of tableside flair, bringing them out unsauced, and pouring chocolate sauce onto them from a big yellow pitcher until you say "when".

        1. re: MC Slim JB

          They used to do the same thing with the mousse, scooping quenelles tableside, then fussing it up with white and dark chocolate sauce. But last time I was there (it's our standard office outing restaurant for Christmas, when people leave, etc.), the mousse came preplated. Personally, I prefer the bread pudding. And I always get the steak frites with Roquefort and the pate plate. Other people always get the onion tart or onion soup, and people also like the salads.

      2. re: MC Slim JB

        Amen to the steak tartare, and I love the french onion soup, too.

        1. re: tatamagouche

          It's good to see that Brasserie Jo has opened a location in Boston. I have eaten at the Chicago location quite a few times over the last 10 years, and have always enjoyed the food and drink.

        2. re: MC Slim JB

          Love the carrots they put on the table--what's in them? I always wind up getting the mussels--best I've had anywhere!

          1. re: Lgalen

            I think the carrots are a classic French crudité : they're just shredded and dressed wtih a little Dijon vinaigrette. Addictive. Agree with the other poster who cited the excellent bread and butter.

            1. re: Lgalen

              If you're looking for the actual recipe, it can be found in the book The Boston Chef's Table: The Best in Contemporary Cuisine. Yummy! (I just ate at the Chicago location with friends. Great meal, and I loved the carrots...so I did a little more digging to find the actual recipe. Well worth it.)

              -----
              Boston Chefs
              875 Main St Ste 3, Cambridge, MA 02139

          2. I second all of MC Slim JB's recs with special stars for the oysters, frisee aux lardon, and choucroute. I would also add the escargots, skate, and cheese trolley. Plus, their complimentary at table dish of dijon carrots and a nice baguette with wonderful butter.

            4 Replies
            1. re: tomaneng

              Two cheers for the skate wings entree. Yum!

              1. re: lescaret

                Ditto...only place to have good skate in the city :-)

                1. re: Spike

                  Only place for good skate? No way! What about Hamersley's, Lumiere and Rendezvous? All have excellent skate.

                2. re: lescaret

                  I forgot about the skate wing - that was pretty good the last time I had it!

              2. I have an especially warm place in my heart for their onion tart, tartes flambees, moules frites, steak frites, and roast duck breast.

                They no longer do the mousse table side, which was fun and over the top, but not necessary.

                2 Replies
                1. re: gini

                  I've always enjoyed myself there. There is a seafood preparation served in pastry that's very good, too.

                  1. re: pemma

                    The shrimp in a bag or something like that. Haven't had it in a long time, but I remember enjoying it lots too.

                2. I've never had a bad meal at Brasserie Jo. I recommend the profiteroles for dessert. The chocolate sauce is to die for. Have fun & happy birthday.

                  1. Enjoyed the shrimp in a bag with lobster sauce and the cheese platter for dessert. Baguette was great and carrots were a nice touch.

                    1. I checked out their menu yesterday, need to go back. Also read in Improper that they're having some sort of happy hour where you get free tarte flambees with a beverage in the evening. I think that was the deal at least and that's definitely worth checking out.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Joanie

                        Yep, and they're also doing something special on Fridays now, French Kiss Fridays or something w/ wine flights, deals on certain dishes etc.

                      2. I had the most perfect dinner there last night. The smoked salmon appetizer was outstanding. Growing up in New Jersey, I ate a lot of smoked salmon, and Brasserie Jo's was very fresh, with a lightly whipped horseradish sauce that married wonderfully with the tiny, wafer-cut crispy potatos. The steak frites with mustard butter was another classic. The mustard was quite subtle, and complimented the faint pepper seasoning on the steak. The fries were the first I've had that rival (and perhaps surpass) the house cured pommes frites at Temple Bar in Cambridge.

                        The dining room is very romantic, not in a stuffy dark wood and candlelight way, but in an airy, spacious, and luxurious sense. It has gorgeous art deco chandeliers, fixtures, and mirrors, with a white mosiac floor. The front windows, stretching the length of the restaurant and reaching from floor to ceiling, flood the interior with light. I usually focus much more on the food than on the decor, but in this case the space was so attractive and relaxing that it really made the dinner special.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Guilty Glutton

                          We go to Brasserie Jo about a dozen evenings a year, primarily following symphony. It is a very special place, and most of our favorite plates are covered above. Only thing remaining is a huge shout-out for the staff. Hugo and Meg, the evening hosts are perfect, and the wait staff is superb.

                          -----
                          Brasserie Jo
                          120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                        2. I think the food here's pretty over-rated. The carrot crudites were overly oily, the butter not all that special. THe baguette was warm, though, so that was a plus. I had the onion tarte, which had good flavour but no texture contrast, and the crust was very lack-lustre--could have benefited from more butter. It got pretty boring after a few bites. The simple greens salad it was served with was decent, though.

                          The belgian endive salad was fresh but nothing special--just your typical combination of walnuts (tasted rather stale), apples, fennel, endives, and roqueforte.

                          THe food comes fast, but the quality really isn't anything to shout about.

                          -----
                          Brasserie JO
                          120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: kirbybirdie

                            I think that the food is typical brasserie food; It tastes pretty much like what you would get in Paris.

                            It is not innovative and exciting, but I think that it is well done.

                            1. re: kirbybirdie

                              The carrots were oily? They're lightly pickled, I think; I've never tasted much if any oil on them at all. Anyone else?

                            2. I realize this is an old post, but having just returned from a stay at The Colonade 2 weeks ago, the one thing that was very standout for us was the friendly, excellent service at Jo. I just can't say enough about how terrific the entire staff was to us. The food was enjoyable. Not the MOST exciting food I have ever had, but that's not what they are trying to be. The food was classic, well-executed and tasty. We like it.
                              We also had good dinners at Lucca and Post390, too.

                              -----
                              Lucca Restaurant
                              226 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: MRS

                                Amen, MRS! Brasserie Jo does what it does quite consistently and well, it's utterly reliable for classic brasserie fare. Thankfully it's in my neighborhood, and I'm lucky to be able to call it a regular go-to joint for dinner or weekend lunch. On a whim I coasted in there yesterday for tasty steak frites, and can report from frequent sampling this summer that the steak tartare is still best in town.
                                And you're right, the staff is outstanding. The barcraft is securely old-school, no flashy mixology stuff but solidly professional. John and Michael are my faves, and better bar pros you will not find.

                                -----
                                Brasserie Jo
                                120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                                1. re: marais

                                  Another vote for Brasserie Jo! We used to live around the corner, and it was also our go-to joint. Since we would usually sit in the bar area on weekdays, Cesar was our usual man. Generously portioned martinis (my favorite martini of all time is still the Colonnade Royale), great warm baguettes, "secret" hard-boiled eggs on request, and dependable fare.

                                  -----
                                  Brasserie Jo
                                  120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                                  1. re: youngho

                                    They used to be on the bar (the eggs I mean). No longer?

                                    1. re: tatamagouche

                                      The eggs were on the bar last week at lunch. Brassiere Jo is an under rated spot in my opinion. The entire hotel is under the radar with exception of the rooftop pool in the summer. I think it is consistent and tasty. Not every meal needs to be a mindblowing experience. Consistency counts and you get that at Brassiere Jo

                                      1. re: Winer

                                        I would agree, brassieres are indeed under-rated.

                                        1. re: Nab

                                          I understand they have "Sports" ones now - sounds very untraditional to me.

                                        2. re: Winer

                                          The eggs on the bar are painted wooden eggs! (like the old Far Side cartoon of the cavemen, "No eat parsley, Og. Just for decoration.")

                                          I'm sure I'm not the only one to discover this by reaching for the salt with left hand and egg with right, tapping the egg on the bar and it won't open. Bartender tells me healthcodes don't permit keeping eggs on the bar.

                                        3. re: tatamagouche

                                          If they're not on the bar, you can just ask for them (along with a little mustard). Goes great with beer!

                                  2. The bar staff is great there. Very professional. I like dining at the bar there quite a bit.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: cassoulady

                                      Have always way preferred the bar to the dining room, and have always considered the place to be a "whole package" treat—it's as much about the ambiance as the food, which,I agree with others, is rarely disappointing, occasionally great, and just plain solid the rest of the time.

                                      1. re: tatamagouche

                                        They have a dining room?!

                                        Seriously, what cassoulady and tata said. Also, the private dining rooms are great.

                                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                                    2. Count me in as one of it's fans. I may have to go to lunch there today!
                                      Enjoy,
                                      CocoDan

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: CocoDan

                                        I just made plans to meet an old friend there for lunch Tuesday because of this thread.

                                        1. re: cassoulady

                                          That will be it for the rest of the day! And why not?
                                          enjoy,
                                          CocoDan

                                          1. re: CocoDan

                                            Another vote for Brasserie Jo. You know you'll always get a good meal there and the atmosphere is upbeat. Also, if you're with a group there's something for everybody on the menu, even picky eaters. Prices are very reasonable for the area. It's an especially convenient and great place to go before the Symphony.

                                            -----
                                            Brasserie Jo
                                            120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                                      2. Shocking that this is the only decent place to eat within walking distance of Symphony. By walking distance I mean 5 minutes, not a hike to the South End.

                                        1. I'm surprised to see all the positive reviews about this place but I am intrigued enough to give it another try. Last year I went there three times and had two pretty good experiences at the bar (beer and red wine by the glass, French onion soup, escargots, steak tartare, etc.), but the third time when I sat down in the dining room and ordered a full dinner, I was pretty disappointed. They had a roast capon on the menu as well as coq au vin, which they touted as one of their signature items. The capon was extremely dry to the point of having that sandpaper consistency when chewing. Meanwhile, the coq au vin was dry and too fatty at the same time, with a sauce that was gray/tan in color and just had the consistency of onion-y slop. There were no discernible root vegetables or other solid ingredients in the dish other than the chicken itself, and the color and flavor of the sauce made me wonder if any wine actually went into making this dish at all. Based on scoring 0/2 for entrees (I had only had appetizers at the bar on previous visits), I decided I wouldn't go there again, but seeing these reviews, it looks like there are some solid choices. What did others think of the coq au vin? What are some other solid entree items other than the skate, duck, and shrimp in parchment that were already mentioned?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Mike5966

                                            The mussels and steak frites are both excellent, as they would have to be if they wanted to be worthy of the term brasserie.

                                            1. re: Mike5966

                                              This is not choucroute weather, but you must try it there when the weather is cooler and your appetite allows (tremendously filling). Among the nightly specials, the cassoulet is another cooler night winner and the bouillabaisse is pretty tasty. And if you see calves liver there (and like it generally) you will not be disappointed.