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Sep 10, 2007 06:36 PM

Gaslight report

Had no problem landing a 730 reservation for 2 this evening on Opentable. Arrived a bit early , bar hopping , seated immediately in the first dining room against the wall. Decor did remind me very much of Brasseries in Paris .Really liked it even with early kinks . We shared a half carafe of sancerre ( more like a quartino at Otto's in NYC 1.5 real glasses). Tasty , dry enough and smooth at maybe $18. DH started with pate served with wicked mustard and cornichons . He was very satisfied. I started with onion soup ( was chilly enough outside) . Not too much bread or cheese and ladened with sherry . And there were several hunks of what I think were short ribs in there. Large serving and for an app I could only do half .I am an onion soup freak when in Paris and this would have made my top 5 list. DH ordered steak frites and was perfectly MR as ordered and frites ( agree with the McDonalds analogy) were hot and well seasoned . He said the beef was good and finished every morsel. I did the weiner schnitzel . Breading a little thick, veal tender and 3 thumb sized steamed potatoes which were fine but forgettable. Sauce ( blue cheese based ) was decadent and I too finished everything and enjoyed it. We went off the reservation with a reserve list bottle of Vosnes Romanee which doesn't count on the overall price to value calculation. It was delicious and worth it .Skipped dessert. I like the decor , yes it is loud and at times really a cacaphony of sounds ( music , laughter, plates etc) but again authentic for a Brasserie image. Server was more than pleasant and accomodating. I am not going off the deep end re service snafu's due to the youth of the place. ( no bread served, serious wait between water pour , menu delivery and ability to order and no one came back to check if we were needed anything after mains delivered.) Perhaps most egregious was that one of the bussers when cleaning off apps from table next to us dropped a used knife right onto my main plate was at the edge of the plate and the butt end and bounced off so I didn't get crazy but he also didn't offer to replace my entree,which I likely would have declined but still the clank and intrusion deserved more than a muffled " sorry". Think I was too shocked to react. All in all we will deinitely be back and if they keep the apps south of $10. and the mains south of $20. and the quality where it is I don't know how it can't be a keeper.

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  1. here's my post from last week. i thought the place was very ok.

    1. Where is the restaurant located?

      1 Reply
      1. re: kt1969

        560 Harrison Ave. A couple of blocks down from Rocca Same side and free and large parking lot

      2. Anybody know why the Franklin didn't open here as planned?

        10 Replies
        1. re: trufflehound

          By the way: The fries not just analogous to McDonald's; they're actually the same product (though cooked according to Gasslight's specs---which may or may not be the same as McD's).

          1. re: wittlejosh

            I'm curious about this notion that Gaslight could have the exact same product as McDonald's. Aren't McDonald's fries exclusive to McDonald's franchises? Or can you get them from Sysco or some other big wholesale supplier?

            Having had McDonald's fries and Gaslight's frites in the last couple of weeks, I detect a distinct difference in them. To me, nothing has the smell/taste of McDonald's fries, or the same ability to induce deep regret twenty minutes after eating them.

            Gaslight's frites seem to me exactly like Union's fries: not remarkable, but not fast-food bad, either. My issue with Gaslight is that they have twice served me frites that were stone cold, unacceptable with a steak frites.

            1. re: MC Slim JB

              I thought the same thing when I read this post, MC. I was sure McD's fries were some proprietary recipe. I think McD's are much tastier. Gaslight's are just "meh" (mine were hot, but just rather boring). I have never had Union's fries, so can't comment on them, but I guess I'm saying I wish Gaslight's frites were McD's-good. They need to be hot, crispier maybe (that might be the key), and well-salted. They shouldn't be quite so pale, and maybe crisping them up a bit would help. As I've said before, I also think the presentation is lacking, and that they might be more appealing if served in a more creative fashion.

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                i call foul on this too. mickey's has exclusives on products, and establishes specs for the farmers and the factories that produce everything they sell.

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Maybe so, maybe so. Still: One of the Aquitaine Group principals told me they were the "same frozen fries McDonald's uses."

                  McD's may use its own specs, but that doesn't mean another customer can't demand identical specs (I actually live with a food importer who supplies national chain restaurants with canned-food products...). And with frozen fries, there aren't that many parameters. (shape, size, type of potato, precooking time, etc.).

                  It seems probable that the company gets them from a distribution company like Sysco.

                  That said, once they get into the restaurant, the oil temp, etc., could make them seem not so similar.

                  1. re: wittlejosh

                    I'd bet money that their fries are made by Lamb Weston, who make a variety of excellent frozen fries. You've had them everywhere from the East Coast Grill to the Summer Shack. For some reason they're often on the menu as "hand-cut french fries."

                  2. re: hotoynoodle

                    i can go even one step further. The hybrid potato is patented.

              2. re: trufflehound

                I thought The Franklin II was slated to open in another nearby location, not the Gaslight's, but I'm not really sure.

                The story I heard was that the Franklin's owner and the Harrison Ave location's landlord had a handshake deal in which the latter had agreed do some necessary structural repair, a deal that he later reneged on after The Franklin's owner had sunk quite a bit of money into design and development work for the site.

                The Franklin's fallback plan to double its capacity in its current location by expanding upstairs was effectively shot down by the abutting neighborhood associations.

                1. re: trufflehound

                  I think they were supposed to open across the street (base of condo building) but the building is right up along the property line. The landlord who owns such adjacent property wasn't going to let the Franklin built a vent that they needed, since it technically crossed onto his property line.

                  1. re: trufflehound

                    I am happy Franklin didn't move. Prefer the cozy Franklin atmosphere to the loud bustling Gaslight.

                  2. I ate at Gaslight twice within the first week they were open (and was pleased), then went back last week to eat at the bar. I have been refraining from posting this on here, because I know it was just one odd bad experience, but the service we received from one of the bartenders was so offensive, we we paid for our drink and walked out. The bartender made it clear that she did not want to make any cocktails that were not on the cocktail list (even though she had all of the ingredients to do so), and suggested I try their signature cocktail, which I had already had on a previous visit and didn't really feel like. I told her that I had already tried the fleur de lis before and, apparently, this really ticked her off, because once I made another choice, she ran off to make the drink and never asked my DC what he wanted. She then proceeded to ignore us completely while she talked with other patrons at the bar. Still no drink for my DC. We sat there, horrified, until I chugged down the cocktail and decided that we would not be staying for dinner. We left and went to Union, where the bartenders know us by name and provide the service that keeps customers (particularly the locals who live a few doors down) coming back. Rather than running off, we should have tried to hunt down a manager to explain what had happened, but it was already 10:00 and my DC was starving. We'd like to be able to include Gaslight as one of our regular neighborhood drinking and dining options, but it will probably be a while before we head over there again, at least when that particular bartender is working!

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: hsquare2southend

                      A very disturbing report. I've had better luck with service at the bar so far.

                      Several of Gaslight's bartenders worked most recently in nightclubs (ex-Saint, one of them told me), not restaurants. I hope their management understands that nightclub attitude is not the way to win loyal neighborhood trade.

                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                        That explains it. This woman's attitude was distinctly "clubby." Which would be fine if I were in a club, rather than in my potential neighborhood hangout. I will add that we dined at the bar at Sage last night and had a lovely meal - with excellent and friendly service from the bartender - there. I will happily continue to patronize Union, Sage, and the Butcher Shop as my go-to spots in the nabe until Gaslight's management can exorcise the "too-cool-for-school" 'tude behind their bar.

                        1. re: hsquare2southend

                          i really hesitate to ding any restaurant for glitches in the 1st few months of opening, unless the offense is egregious. especially with foh staff, they always over-hire so they can cull the weak. a polite aside with a manager is always appreciated, rather than just not returning. the feedback helps them, and you in the long-run!

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            So......I finally made it over to Gaslight last night --sat at the bar ---and though my impressions are generally favorable, and I will be back ---service was really, really frazzled. (And that's a nice way of putting it.)
                            My DC and I arrived at approx 6:45 last night (thurs night) and the place was already packed. The bar was full; many tables in the dining area were open but it was clear they were being held for a reservation. I put my name in with the friendly hostess who predicted a 45 minute wait. I was thinking we would get there early enough to beat the rush, but apparently not the case. As we went over to the bar to have a drink while we waited, another couple let us know they were about to get up, so we were lucky enough to snag their two bar stools. So far, the evening was definitely off to a good start. The bartenders seemed friendly and pleasant enough....but it was clear from the minute they sat down that they were woefully "in the weeds" (those who are in the restaurant biz know that is a nice way of saying "crazy busy" and "unable to keep up")..and as the night progressed, it only got worse. I'll talk about that first because that was really the only criticism I had about the place last night. There had to be about 6 or 7 bartenders, but there really seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to what they were doing and what their function wasn't like we had one bartender who took our drink order, or brought us our food..and we were constantly trying to flag them down whenever we needed something ---a drink menu; a dinner menu; trying to order a drink; trying to order dinner; trying to get the bill; trying to give them the money for the actually started to get a little comical at the end..The odd thing was --it didn't seem like the bar was was everywhere, but we couldn't seem to make eye contact with anyone!! But i think they were just really disorganized --and there's no question the place was rocking last night --and as a result, it was clear they weren't operating efficiently. At one point I heard one of the female bartenders say it was the busiest night she's seen since she's opened --and I believe it. When we did get the attention of a bartender, he/she was always perfectly friendly and pleasant...but it was just trying to get their attention that seemed to take the effort --forget about the whole "how is your dinner? is there anything else we can get you?" mentality --that wasn't even a possibility last night. When runners would bring food to the bar, none of the bartenders had a clue where it went...I watched my steak frites sitting at the end of the bar for a few minutes and bartenders puzzling over who it could belong to --apparently they were so busy they weren't putting table or seat numbers on the tickets, so no one had a clue as to where things were supposed to go.

                            Anyway, onto the food and drink as that is the mostly positive part of the night. My DC got the signature "fleur de lys" which was perfectly delicious and refreshing. We both really liked this. We then ordered the onion soup to start. It was good too, with nice flavor--perhaps could have used just bit more cheese on top and a little more of a salty, hearty, broth..but it was perfectly acceptable. The steak frites followed. Perfectly cooked MR steak, very flavorful, accompanied by a really tasty bernaise sauce. Excellent. The fries, as previously hounds have reported, were definitely McD'like --so..perfectly passable, not all that memorable, but even after sitting at the end of the bar for a few moments, still hot enough to enjoy. So..the food we had was good. And reasonably priced. And we might very well have gotten some more if we'd had a bit more attention --but....what we did have was perfectly prepared and filling. I wish we'd had a chance to try that piping hot bread served in a bag --unfortunately that also was neglected...

                            Obviously the atmosphere was bustling and full of energy, not necessarily a "south end" crowd, clearly all sorts of folks here --an afterwork crowd enjoying drinks at the bar; people clearly in from the 'burbs enjoying dinner; a few solo diners having dinner at the bar --it's definitely "Baltazar"-like and certainly a change of pace many other Boston restaurants...certainly not the place to go for a romantic dinner --as others have previously commented, it's really REALLY LOUD... didn't bother me so much at the bar but the noise seems even more intensified in the main dining area....on another note --we had friends who ate in that main area --they sat at a communal table and said they were almost glad it was so loud --they didn't have to worry about overhearing the conversation of the folks next to them. They also enjoyed their meal and said service was very good. Which leads me to believe that what we experienced last night may very well have just been going on at the bar...Even with such scattered service, my overall experience was a good one & I look forward to going back and giving them another chance...and maybe getting to try just a bit more food!

                            1. re: twentyoystahs

                              Great review, and 100% consistent with the 3 experiences I've had so far - 2 good ones in the dining room, and 1 not-so-good one at the bar. We observed the same thing that night - many people behind the bar, but no one interested in providing any service to anyone. Once they tighten the bar up, I'll happily include it in my neighborhood rotation.

                      2. re: hsquare2southend

                        Just got back from dinner at Gaslight. The food was not bad, I really liked the onion soup. BUT the service by the bartender/waitress was HORRIBLE. We sat at one of the high tables near the bar, so the 2 bartenders were the ones waiting us. One was friendly, but there was a blond one who was extremely rude with lots of attitude. She slammed down my water with her back to us. Everytime we asked for something (more water or ketchup) she just looked at us for acknowledgement and walked off. WE asked for more water and the dessert menu and it took at least another 5+ minutes. Then when she finally came back again to ask us waht we wanted for dessert, it was another 5+ mins later. I told her we dont wnat anything because it would be an even longer wait. She just gave me an annoyed look. SUPER RUDE! my bf was so mad (and he never gets mad) he only gave 10% tip. We were extremely turned off by the service there.

                        1. re: kweesee

                          Bummer about the bad service. I do have a question, though: how does a server slam down water with her back to you? That sound like a pretty tricky maneuver.

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            she pretty much just walked by our table, put the glass on our table, and walked off. always side or back to us.

                          2. re: kweesee

                            We were at Gaslight this weekend, dining in the same area, and service was painfully slow. But, they were slammed, and the waitress was very apologetic,a nd then they comped a couple of our appetizers. We were quite happy with te response. Can'thelp a slow kitchen sometiems.

                            1. re: tamerlanenj

                              our waitress was slow in getting more water, the dessert menu, and the check.... :(

                        2. Went back to Gaslight last night and had a wonderful time. We gathered a group of 8 for our friend's bday, and the staff was super helpful when we made the reservation. Since we were a large group, they asked if there was a special occasion, and when I said it was for a bday, they asked the bday boy's name. When we arrived last night for our 9p resv, we were between 5 & 10 min early. Yolanda, whom I'm guessing is a part of the management team, greeted us, asked which one was the bday boy, and offered him hearty congrats. Then she said she was sorry our table wasn't quite ready (which was fine, of course, we were early!), and so treated all 8 of us to our first round of drinks at the bar. The bar staff was better organized than other posters here have experienced, and despite us having to shout the orders to him, the bartender who made our drinks was efficient and the drinks were well executed. It wasn't more than 10 min after we arrived that the table was ready for us -- we were seated just as the bartender finished making the last of the 8 drinks.

                          Ok, the food. As with my first visit, we found the food to be a very good value for the quality. I had the lamb, which was nicely medium rare. The dish comes with gratin potatoes (which I can't have b/c of the cheese), so I asked for a side of veg. The waitress rec'd the escarole, which was very tasty, but quite lemony, and didn't quite go with the lamb. A small quibble, as both were individually good. MrLit went with the provencale pizza, which he quite enjoyed. Other dishes ordered and enjoyed: the pate plate, the roasted chicken, the alsacienne pizza, and marguerite pizza. Standouts: the escargots (so so good!), the grilled calamari over greens (perfect texture and grill flavor), and the entree of grilled vegetables, which was given a hearty thumbs-up from one of our vegetarians, and which looked lovely. One friend had the cubano, and liked the combo of flavors, but thought it a bit bready. Another friend had the steak frites, which he said was ok, but thought the cut of meat was a bit tough.

                          The drinks: they were great, and I had a chance to try a few that I missed on my first visit. I especially loved the fleur de lis and l'acolyte. On the earlier visit I enjoyed the fee verte (loved it this time, too), and the cuban ice. A friend had la resistance, which he kindly let me taste -- it was nice and well-balanced. Other friends enjoyed the pimms cup and the du coin 75.

                          The service: I have so far found the management and host/ess-ing to be super professional, welcoming, and tightly-run. We have felt totally taken care of on both our visits, which to me indicates that they're as attentive to couples and triples as they are to large groups. The wait-staff still seems to be working out the kinks a little, but have been terrifically friendly, if a touch slow to bring out extra bread & butter, or to check back in for more drink orders. This is a small thing, though, given how personable our server was.

                          One really lovely touch: when we sat down, Yolanda came over and delivered a personalized Gaslight birthday card to the bday boy, signed by the staff. It was such a classy and unexpected gesture.

                          Given our two very nice experiences here, as well as their affordable menu, I will certainly continue to recommend this place. It's a great addition to the neighborhood, and really, who doesn't love free parking??