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Brasserie Jo

ShelT54 Apr 15, 2007 09:53 AM

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?

  1. MC Slim JB Apr 15, 2007 02:32 PM

    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
      BostonCorkDork Apr 15, 2007 02:42 PM

      is brasserie jo still doing a tableside chocolate mousse?

      1. re: BostonCorkDork
        MC Slim JB Apr 15, 2007 03:27 PM

        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
          curiousbaker Apr 15, 2007 03:40 PM

          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
        tatamagouche Apr 15, 2007 03:41 PM

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

        1. re: tatamagouche
          redchile Apr 15, 2007 03:47 PM

          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
          Lgalen Apr 16, 2007 08:11 PM

          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
            MC Slim JB Apr 16, 2007 09:25 PM

            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
              nrd Apr 4, 2010 02:50 PM

              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. t
            tomaneng Apr 15, 2007 03:52 PM

            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
              lescaret Apr 17, 2007 07:48 AM

              Two cheers for the skate wings entree. Yum!

              1. re: lescaret
                Spike Apr 17, 2007 08:59 AM

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

                1. re: Spike
                  CivettaCom Apr 17, 2007 09:10 AM

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

                2. re: lescaret
                  gini Apr 17, 2007 11:37 AM

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

              2. gini Apr 17, 2007 07:52 AM

                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
                  pemma Apr 17, 2007 11:22 AM

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

                  1. re: pemma
                    tatamagouche Apr 18, 2007 06:40 AM

                    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
                  izzyeats Apr 17, 2007 06:03 PM

                  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. s
                    ShelT54 Apr 17, 2007 08:12 PM

                    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. Joanie Apr 18, 2007 04:45 AM

                      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
                        tatamagouche Apr 18, 2007 06:42 AM

                        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. Guilty Glutton Jul 9, 2008 04:21 PM

                        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
                          terrycatch Apr 5, 2010 08:06 AM

                          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. k
                          kirbybirdie Aug 28, 2010 07:01 PM

                          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
                            cambridgedoctpr Aug 29, 2010 07:15 AM

                            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
                              tatamagouche Aug 29, 2010 10:30 AM

                              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. m
                              MRS Aug 29, 2010 02:14 PM

                              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
                                marais Aug 30, 2010 07:18 AM

                                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
                                  youngho Aug 30, 2010 03:47 PM

                                  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
                                    tatamagouche Aug 30, 2010 04:44 PM

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

                                    1. re: tatamagouche
                                      Winer Aug 31, 2010 04:41 AM

                                      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
                                        Nab Aug 31, 2010 06:22 AM

                                        I would agree, brassieres are indeed under-rated.

                                        1. re: Nab
                                          nsenada Aug 31, 2010 06:28 AM

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

                                        2. re: Winer
                                          Niblet Aug 31, 2010 07:05 AM

                                          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
                                          youngho Aug 31, 2010 05:51 AM

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

                                  2. cassoulady Aug 31, 2010 06:22 AM

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

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: cassoulady
                                      tatamagouche Aug 31, 2010 07:05 AM

                                      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
                                        MC Slim JB Aug 31, 2010 07:26 AM

                                        They have a dining room?!

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


                                    2. CocoDan Aug 31, 2010 07:44 AM

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

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: CocoDan
                                        cassoulady Aug 31, 2010 08:06 AM

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

                                        1. re: cassoulady
                                          CocoDan Aug 31, 2010 09:32 AM

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

                                          1. re: CocoDan
                                            pemma Aug 31, 2010 10:17 AM

                                            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. whs Aug 31, 2010 05:16 PM

                                        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. Mike5966 Aug 31, 2010 05:56 PM

                                          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
                                            Jenny Ondioline Aug 31, 2010 08:13 PM

                                            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
                                              marais Sep 1, 2010 08:45 AM

                                              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.

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