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Jun 15, 2007 05:46 AM

Petit Robert, Kenmore

After culling the encyclopedic knowledge of everyone here for months, I thought I'd finally chip in a review. Went to the Kenmore Petit Robert last night for a post-Sox start dinner, no wait at all for 3 at 8pm. We got two of the Salad Nicoise and a Beef Bourginoin. The salad was wonderful, a slightly heartier mix of greens with a perfectly cooked egg, new potato, and haricot vert with a decent-sized hunk of just barely seared and lightly seasoned tuna. I've apparently only ever had downmarket versions, since the anchovies were new to me - but what salty slabs of joy! The dressing was a creamy thick mustardy deal that went wonderfully with the spicier lettuces. The bite of beef I had was delicious, but at that point I was more focused on slamming in as much toasty demi baguette and butter as possible.

Since I'd been awaiting the dessert menu with breathless anticipation, I was disappointed that I seemed to get the dud of the three choices. The best part of the chocolate gateau was the two bite Eiffel Tower that came with it. The cake itself was dry, with a strong and slightly unpleasant alcoholic taste to it. DCs desserts were MUCH tastier - the Ile Flotant, which I'd never had, a flan-shaped meringue in a martini glass of creme anglaise and caramel mousse (appropriate, as I could have sipped the creme anglaise straight), and peach-stuffed crepes with poached peaches and a peach-almond sauce over the top.

Our server was wonderful (my only complaint is that he steered me away from the chocolate mousse and towards that cake), attentive and perfectly willing to indulge my Francophone friends while I attended to the baguette. I'll definitely be back!

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  1. That flotant thing is the shit.

    1. I was impressed with the bread also, they ship it in from Montreal.

      8 Replies
      1. re: chezchristine

        A Boston restaurant getting bread from Canada? That is really hard to believe. I've never heard of ANY restaurant getting bread from that far away. Why would they? How can it be fresh? ..Any place that cares that much about the bread usually makes it themselves. They bring it in frozen? Im a little confused.

        1. re: WineTravel

          I didn't ask how the bread is shipped, but since they serve it warm, they might finish baking it themselves. While I agree that restaurants are better off making their own, sometimes they don't have the facilities like a brick or wood oven in which to make truly great bread. It's some of the best bread served with a meal I've had in Boston. Since the bread is from Montreal, with some of the huge French influences, I'm not all that surprised that it's from there.

          I also think their prices are reasonable, especially since their lunch menu is served until 5PM and almost everything is under $15.

          1. re: chezchristine

            Makes no sense at all, given that they're barely over a mile from Clear Flour, who make one of the best baguettes in the US (not just my opinion - they won the US silver medal in the Baguettes and Specialty Breads category in the most recent international baking competition.)

            1. re: BobB

              It doesn't seem to make sense, but that bread is delicious. It's not dissimilar to Iggy's ciabatta, except I think it's a bit tastier. Wonderful for smearing with butter and mopping up every last drop of mussel broth.

              1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                My favorite meal at PRB! With a mixed greens salad and, a profiterole for dessert.

              2. re: BobB

                The baguette is freakin' brilliant. And yes, they do finish baking them on site. Last Valentine's day Husband and I were staying and cooking a fabulous meal. I called to let him know that our local (Canto) was out of baguette and asked if he could pick something up. He came home with two unbaked baguettes from Petit Robert. They let him buy a couple and told him what temp to cook them at. It was incredible.

                You really can't beat that. (And I personally think those are better than Clear Flour, but that's just me. Clear Flour is still good, though.)

          2. re: chezchristine

            I haven't been to the one in Kenmore, but the south end location is great. The prices are very reasnable and the service is always great! Love it.

            1. re: chezchristine

              i went to PRB when it first opened and my friends and i HATED it. every dish was horrible. after a couple years, we finally decided to give it another chance since we've heard many good things about it.

              i was there tonight and i LOVEDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD the bread. i wanted to buy some but you're right, they ship it in from Montreal. bummer. i said the same thing to my friend tonight "dont most restaurants make their own bread? especially french bistros?" very odd to ship from motreal. and yes, they should just order from clear flour - they make the best breads.

              their foie gras tasted goog but was cold
              the escargo, lamp chops werent bad and the lemon souffle was great!

              the waitress was super nice and let me try different wines before deciding on a white peach bellini.

            2. The Kenmore spot is fine, but nothing more. Service lacks a certain polish and the food, while competent, is a very Americanized version of French Bistro. Prices are fairly reasonable, though.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ShelT54

                For the price they charge, you are entirely correct. The crunchy, plain green beans and carrots made me want to never go back.

              2. We had an early dinner there a few saturdays ago and our waiter was also quite wonderful, and the desserts were divine. On previous visits we were too full for dessert... never again. my husband 's chocolate mousse was so good he would only give me a tiny bite and I was ready to growl if anyone took my iles away before I had scraped up the last bit. We complimemted the host on our waiter on our way out - wish I remembered his name - he was a young frenchman but not european and hope he's our waiter again - we're definitely going back.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ginnyhw

                  Hi Everyone:

                  I have to add my recommendations for Petit Robert too. One of the things I like about is that you can drop in at just about any time of day and get a good meal. They don't seem to have specific hours for lunch or dinner. On top of that the food has always been great too. I also enjoy the baguette and usually end up eating more of it than I should. I tend to stick to the daily specials most of the time but my favorite on-the-menu dish is the roast chicken. I also have to agree with the others regarding the desserts. I really like Ille Flotante, something you don't often find in the U.S., and their chocolate mousse. On top of everything else their prices are very reasonable for the type and quality of food they serve.

                2. Ok, here's my 2 cents. I mentioned this last year, but my experience there last year was terrible. Perhaps the account is still around. So many people rave, but IMO its just average. I have no reason to bo back there. If I needed a place in Kenmore Sq... I'd soon go to Eastern Standard (as long as it was an off peak time when its more laid back)... ES has improved things a lot in the past 6 mos.