HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >

Discussion

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 ...like 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 ...it 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.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/437685 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 was..it 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 bill..it actually started to get a little comical at the end..The odd thing was --it didn't seem like the bar was understaffed..help 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??

                          1. Any reports on brunch?

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: bear

                              In the area on Saturday afternoon and stumbled across Gaslight. I had heard of its opening, but was not sure of the location, so was pleasantly surprised to find it. They serve only brunch until 3:00pm, but since they had many sandwiches on the menu, we decided to give it a try. Sat at the bar and after reading the previous reviews, I see our experience was not unique. 1 bartender only, and she was slammed. The bar was full with diners, plus she was the only one making drinks for the whole place- brunch drinks like bloody marys and mimosas. I felt badly for her, to say the least. Toward the end of our meal, a managaer jumped in behind the bar to help her, which was good to see.
                              As for the food, my croque monsieur was delightful. I believe it was made with gruyere cheese and a bechamel sauce- very authentic and delish! The frites did resemble McDonalds in look and taste, although for me, that is not a bad thing (we all have our guilty pleasures!).
                              My DC ordered the "Argentine" hamburger, and this was quite a disappointment. Before ordering, we asked what made it Argentine- possibly a fried egg or something like that- and the bartender explained that there is an "oregano/garlic sauce on it." We thought wonderful- it has chimichurri! To my DC's dismay, it had a very strong, thick green sauce on it that completely overwhelmed the rest of the sandwich, which was on a stale roll. My only thought is that the beef was Argentine, because nothing else on the burger seemed to be. Should have known better than to order anything Argentine in a French restaurant.
                              Overall, I would go back, but it seems to me to be hit or miss. The couple next to us at the bar were having a more traditional brunch (eggs and croissants) and they looked good, although plain. I would stick with dinner next time.

                              1. re: mem53

                                I've found similar unevenness with the menu. I had a potato tartelette one night that was pretty bad, a very stale pastry shell filled with mashed potatoes, a drizzle of truffle oil (none of the advertised truffles in sight), a teeny bit of Roqeufort, and a few mushroom slices on top. This might have been bearable for $6.75 had that shell not been as hard as peanut brittle.

                                On another visit, the steak tartare seemed overthought, the beef flavor utterly overwhelmed by a layer of minced mushrooms (might have been a duxelle, but I couldn't detect any other aromatics), a huge dollop of aioli, and a fried egg on top. With a side of frites (which at least arrived hot), there was just too much going on. The quality of the baguettes isn't as high as I'd like, either.

                                Cocktails are fine until you go off their specialty menu, and then you're potentially dealing with some spotty mixology chops. I ordered a simple cocktail that was very poorly executed, almost unrecognizable in flavor, likely mixed with the wrong ingredients. (Given the scrum in front of and general chaos behind the bar, I didn't ask for it to be remade.)

                                Still a work in progress. Bargain priced wine and the more traditionally-done dishes (e.g., the bar steak) seem like the best reasons to go for now.

                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  I've got nothing to add that hasn't been covered in this lengthy string. But my thing with Gaslight is this...why I would go again when I could get better at Petit Robert or even Brasserie Jo? Proximity to my pad isn't enough to bring me back to Gaslight.

                                  1. re: Monty

                                    I expect to eventually find Gaslight useful, once they get firing on all cylinders. It's cheapish, it's got atmosphere, and additional neighborhood lunch and brunch options are always welcome.

                                    Brasserie Jo I tend to use mainly for drinks, snacks at the bar, and for a quick bite before Symphony (the options around which are quite poor). The private dining rooms are also useful. But I've had consistency issues with the dining room service. It also lacks Gaslight's budget wines. But certain dishes are very fine and quite reliable.

                                    I think Petit Robert has the best food of the bunch, it's a very good value, and that patio can be fun. My biggest issue there is lack of reservations at the South End location. It's a pain to get over there only to discover there's an hour wait for a table.

                                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                                      All good points...and I also think Petit Robert may also be just a tad more expensive than Gaslight. Plus Gaslight has some lighter fare offerings, like burgers, cubanos, nicoise salad, that I don't think Petit Robert (or Brasserie Jo) offer.

                                      1. re: twentyoystahs

                                        Had brunch here today. It was very full as we left and was a bit loud, but not unbearably so. The atmosphere made us pretend that we were back in Montreal. Very fun. Ordered the truffled scrambled eggs, scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and the pommes frites. Everything was quite good and came out fresh and hot. Yes, the frites are reminiscent of McDonalds fries, but happily they do not have the same greasy odor. Coffee, even the decaf, was very good, so was the OJ. Portions were just right, not overly large, and prices were friendly as well. Enjoyed it very much and really want to return for dinner now.

                            2. Very disappointed with Gaslight. I've eaten there a couple of times and left unsatisifed each time. I've tried a couple of the entrees - disappointed with the presentation and the taste has been so-so. Thought I would try the bar so some buddies and I tried several sandwiches that didn't offer much either. My opinion is that it may be a good place to grab a drink and burger, but if looking for a nice meal out, go a block over and dine at one of the restaurants on Washington.

                              1. I had an excellent dinner at Gaslight last night with my SO. We ordered:

                                duck confit - excellent. moist and tasty. this was my favorite.
                                escargot - very good. cooked with the right amount of butter so you could still taste the snails.
                                steak tartare - fried egg and mushroom on top of raw beef. It was tastier than the steak tartares that I've tried at other restaurants.
                                pasta w/ short ribs - can't remember the name for this dish but it was pretty good. I checked their web site to look up the name of the pasta dish but their menus are down because they're updating them.

                                The service was a bit slow because the place was packed from 7-8 PM. The prices are very good as others have mentioned. I would definitely go back but would go a bit earlier to avoid the crowds.

                                Here is their web site:

                                www.gaslight560.com

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: southender

                                  I hope they expand their breakfast-type offerings when they update the menus.

                                2. I really really want to like Gaslight. I want it to be my Boston-based Pastis. But, I've eaten there twice (once right when it opened, hence the second try despite a bad experience) and once last week. I won't go into details because they've been covered already. But, I just need to VENT. This place has such potential and it is sooooo mediocre. While delicious, Petite Robert's atmosphere is off...just not cozy or lived-in-feeling enough. Eastern Standard is delicious, but too grand. Bouchee is like Gaslight in that it has potential, but consistently misses on all counts. Does anyone know of a perfect little French Bistro in Boston?

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: Siren4378

                                    I don't have the problems with ambience you have with PRB, and I think its food is authentic and reasonable for the South End. I like the fact that the Kenmore venue takes reservations, too. Some other thoughts:

                                    Les Zygomates -- a pretty simple menu, like you might see at a small Parisian neighborhood place. Big wines by-the-glass list, a nightly prix fixe, good cocktails, plus live music on one side, quiet on the other.

                                    Aquitaine (South End only, not Bis) -- a bit Americanized and not cheap, but very consistent, with great atmosphere and good service. I actually had a well-made cocktail there recently, too; I wish they could do that every time.

                                    Beacon Hill Bistro -- a bit more creative than true bistro fare, and it is in a small hotel, so has a bit of that hotel restaurant feel vs. a small neighborhood place, but it's also very consistent, and useful for breakfast, brunch, and lunch. The small bar was an excellent addition.

                                    La Voile -- great feel and food, but its cuisine is regional, namely South of France. Also getting more expensive, but a fabulous addition to Newbury Street.

                                    1. re: Siren4378

                                      Try La Voile. It's small, cozy and friendly with delicious food. The service can be a bit slow/off but they're new. Also, they are so well intentioned, it's hard to get annoyed.

                                      -----
                                      La Voile
                                      261 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

                                      1. re: Siren4378

                                        Let me third La Voile. What a fantastic restaurant. We dined at the bar the other day during the big snow storm and everyone was so friendly and chatty. It's by far the best restaurant in the Back Bay outside of L'Espalier. MC is right that the prices went up a bit, but it's still in the same neighborhood as PRB or Gaslight plus a small newbury st. "surcharge"

                                        1. re: Siren4378

                                          Sandrine's in Harvard square is often overlooked, but consistently good.

                                        2. I ate at Gaslight a few weeks ago and I was quite taken with it. I was leery about the service reports, especially since we were dining on a Saturday nigiht. I didn't expect to like it as much as PRB (Kenmore) but I did. To start, the Fleur de Lys cockail was amazing. Ok, I was first taken by the pretty lilac color, but the taste, was light and refreshing. Absolutely delicious. I don't know if I like this better than Eastern Standard's Jack Rose cocktail, but the JR has some serious competition.

                                          It was noisy in the room but we were lucky that we got a back side table. It was less noisy in this spot. What I didn't like was the table set up. While the giant napkins were charmingly used as table clothes, practically speaking, they were an accident waiting to happen. Every time we moved off the table, we almost took the table cloth with us.

                                          To start: the waiter brought over a warm baguette, still wrapped in paper. It was a very nice touch, the paper, I mean. I was starving (surprise, surprise) and it was freezing outside so a hunk of the bread hit the spot. I ordered the snails and these were ok. Of course, anything drenched in butter to be sopped up by bread isn't going to be bad. What was slightly offputting was that the butter in each little hole, had slightly glazed over - it sat to long before being served to me. This didn't stop me though.

                                          But, the winner was my main course. I ordered the bar steak (thanks to either Lissy or Heathermb for the rec. I ordered this medium rare but it came out well done with cool to the touch french fries. I was not pleased but the waiter who noticed my frown, came right over. He whisked my plate away and quickly brought out a new plate. This plate was closer to the rare side (which is fine by me) and had hot french fries. And it was delicious. That sauce with the shallots was amazing. So rich, creamy and crunchy on top of the steak. the fries were ok, but I did dip them in the sauce to jazz them up a bit.

                                          DCs got the duck, skate (fabulous) and the short rib pasta. Everyone was happy. I don't remember the other apps.

                                          The dessert menu didn't excite me but I ordered the sorbet. It was tropical (which was a nice contrast to the wintery day). The flavors were lychee, pineapple and something else. The lychee was delicious but the pineapple tasted artificial. Clearly, the third flavor made no real impression on me.

                                          Even though there were some glitches (overcooked steak) but the meal went well. The service was accomodating and eager to please. Part of it was that I managed my own expectations after reading all the board commentary. But, I would go back again, preferably on a slower night.

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: beetlebug

                                            Glad they brought back the Bar Steak. The steak frites is also nice, but i don't care for the herb butter topper. I think they'll let you order the steak frites with the bar steak sauce..

                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                              I'm so happy that the bar steak is back - it was my favorite on the menu there. Thanks for the good news!

                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                I don't post half as often as I dine all over the city and beyond, but I just have to slap myself in the head in awe wondering why any of the well-versed foodies here even still bother eating at any of the over-priced, attitude-charged,Franco-schtick establishments spawned by the besotted-with-themselves Aquitaine Group. Frozen mega-corporate fries? What do you expect? Everything is a formula, a contrivance- there's no whim, no fancy, no soul. Give me Petit Robert any day.

                                                1. re: hungryi

                                                  As I said, I'm a big fan of Petit Robert, too, though "fanciful" and "whimsical" aren't words that come to mind when I dine there.

                                                  I find your antipathy towards the Aquitaine Group a little perplexing. I don't love Gaslight, but I don't think any of their outlets are poor values, especially since Union lowered its prices. I had a terrific meal at Aquitaine recently, though as I've said, it's not trying for the same authenticity as some French bistros in town. As for attitude, I really don't know what you're referring to: I think their FOH staffs are among the most hospitable in the South End.

                                                  (The frites at Gaslight suck, I will grant you that.)

                                                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                    a little surprised at both the attack and the defense on Aquitaine and "baby" spinoff aquitaines. they are at best adequate formulaic and increasingly soulless places but not nearly as bad as Bouchee, say. I wouldn't consider them in the same sentence with La Voile, ESK, Pigalle, or even Les Zygomates which has, at least, a non-corporate if sometimes chaotic vibe.

                                                    1. re: teezeetoo

                                                      I think Back Bay Restaurant Group is an excellent example of a corporate-feeling group of restaurants.

                                                      I just don't get that vibe from Metropolis, Aquitaine, and Union. I'm curious to hear if other Hounds think these places are formulaic and soulless.

                                                      1. re: MC Slim JB

                                                        We have several friends who love Acquitaine and for some it feels like a second home. Every Sunday morning I can find at least two or three people we know and I love the brunch, the steak frites, and their pepper steak. It vaguely reminds me of a local bistro back home in New York, I find the staff charming and the food quite good and they know just how to make our bloody maries. Maybe not the most adventurous menu but, consitnetly well prepared and relatively simple bistro fare.

                                                        1. re: vonwotan

                                                          This should probably be a separate thread, but...

                                                          Over the years I'm sure I have annoyed fellow hounds with my blind allegiance to Metropolis. For a long time, it was my go-to place for out-of-towners when I didn't want to blow a wad of money. I loved it! Lately, though, it's been really mediocre (the last three meals). I've heard there's been a new chef de cuisine in the kitchen. And I wonder if the opening of Gaslight has spread the talent too thin?

                                                          I agree that Aquitaine Group restaurants are generally much better and less churned-out than, say, BBRG. (Bouchee is horrid, IMO.) I love Gaslight, I often like Union, and I prefer the Chestnut Hill location of Aquitaine to the South End one.

                                                          Re Les Zygomates: I live around the corner from it, and I always end up hating it, be it the mediocre food or the soul-less service. I so want it to be my friendly neighborhood restaurant, but it never has come through for me. I hate the room-temp red wines and the wanna-be simple bistro dishes that each need three ingredients removed. Ah, well...

                                              2. Just for the sake of throwing my two cent in, I've been to Gaslight three time now, and it's quickly becoming a mainstay of my restaurant repertoire. Their cocktails are very good (I'm partial to their Pimm's Cup), the apps are great, the mains are dynamite (with a huge emphasis on their daily specials), and the service is very good. Plus, the prices are very reasonable. I have recommended Gaslight to others, and I will continue to do so. Plus, just having the option to order wine in a carafe vs. a bottle (designated drivers pay attention) is a huge advantage, as I am sort of a lightweight when it comes to booze. Seriously, though, it deserves a look for all chowhounders.