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Aug 23, 2007 06:30 AM

Review: Gaslight last night

Went to Gaslight last night for an opening party that was actually (unbeknownst to us until we arrived) sponsored by Morgan Stanley. The great news was that we got to be amongst the first to sample the full dining experience. With the exception of a rather strong and pervasive citrus aroma (cleaning products?), the space was very cozy and inviting. Good lighting, nice subway tile walls, the whole French bistro effect (think Brasserie Jo meets Aquitaine). Didn't get to fully appreciate the French-made zinc bar because it was so packed. In fact, when we arrived for the second seating at 8, they had already run out of the ingredients to make 3 of the cocktails on the cocktail list, including their signature, the Fleur de Lys (which looked very good). However, I had the Du Coin 75 (French 75) which was fantastic, although rather small since it was served in a champagne flute. I don't think a French 75 (despite the fact that it contains champagne) should be served in a flute, but maybe they were running low on glassware as well? The tables are set with dishcloths for napkins, which adds to the casual, bistro vibe, as does the fact that the house wine is available by the "carafe," which is actually a plain glass bottle. There were about 10 of us seated at our table, so we ordered several carafes for the table. Didn't even look at the wine list, as carafes of the 2 house reds served our large group well. I believe one was a cabernet blend and one was a merlot. During our meal, the cabernet blend was 86'ed (they must have underestimated the drinking power of this group!) so we continued with the merlot. A warm, crusty bagette is served in a paper sleeve with a tin of butter. There were no bread plates on our table, which made enjoying the bread a bit messy. Not sure if this is part of the "casual" theme, or if it was an oversight. Most of the menu items were available, with the exception of one appetizer, all of the sides, and a few raw bar items. The menu has nice variety, and is perfect for all-day and late-night dining, with several sandwich items (burger, croque-monsieur) that looked yummy. We had heard good things about the steak frites from a diner who was seated at the earlier seating, so I ordered accordingly. The steak frites is the priciest entree on the menu, at $19.50. I am not even a regular fan of steak frites, but this one was delicious. It can be ordered with butter or bernaise sauce. I chose the latter, which was out of this world. My only suggestion for improvement would be to find a more creative serving for the frites, which came on a small plate on the side. The frites were good, but the presentation could be a bit more interesting (a cup or a paper cone, maybe?). Overall, I was very pleased with my meal and found it to be a good value, as well. Other diners in our party ordered the tagliatelle ("good"), more steak frites, and the "bar steak," which also got good reviews. The desserts we sampled were also very tasty. I especially liked the tart tatin. The service was friendly and attentive. At the end of the meal, we were given a survey about our experience, but after multiple glasses of wine, I was generally very happy with how the evening had turned out. In retrospect, I might have mentioned the bread plates, or made a suggestion or two for the frites presentation. Overall, I am very happy to have the Gaslight in the neighborhood and can see myself spending many a rainy Saturday afternoon tucked into one of the banquettes there, enjoying a cocktail or a sandwich and wine. I look forward to going back when the full menu is available (cocktails and food) and the scene is a little less crazed. Bon appetit!

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  1. The place looks nice. But doesnt it look like a complete replica of Pastis, Balthazar, Schillers? It does to me down to the uniforms too. I know that those place are mere replicas of parisian classics as well, but perhaps a slightly new take on it. Do you think it will hurt aquitaine's biz?

    2 Replies
    1. re: jpeso

      Sounds to me like they're going for something louder, cheaper, more casual than Aquitaine (which is run by the same restaurant group). There's certainly more competition all around in the neighborhood: I was able to walk into and get immediate seating at both The Franklin and The Beehive during prime dining hours recently.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        I would say that louder, cheaper, and more casual is accurate (hence the Brasserie Jo comparison). But the place still feels cozy (like Aquitaine). I'm an Aquitaine fan, but I'll probably spend more time here, simply because it's around the corner from where I live. I think today is the official opening, so I'm looking forward to hearing what others think!

        MC, I think the crowds have been light lately because everyone is on their "last hurrah of summer" vacations. The city has been empty (not that I'm compaining).

      1. I went to one of the opening nights and was really happy with what I saw. The space is fantastic and I had an amazing meal. It was a soft opening and I did not have to pay, but for two of us to have 2 apps and 2 entrees it would have cost $44. Wow. I will eating there alot.

        1. I went to Aquitaine for the first time a few weeks ago and there were no bread plates. Verrrrry interesting... *twirls mustache thoughtfully*

          1. Why do I have a feeling that hamburger is going to kick ass. And for $9!