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Eastern Standard?

Heading into the Kenmore area for the night on Saturday - Is Eastern Standard worth the money? The menu looks inviting. Are the cod fritters good? How is the cheese plate selection? Is the hanger steak as tasty as Aquitaine? I'm spying that chocolate brioche bread pudding, too. I should really eat something now.

From the photos, the place looks cavernous. Is noisy and cold? Would we be better off at Petit Robert Bistro?

TIA,
Javagrrl

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  1. I like both those places. Petit Robert I think is probably better all around for authentic French bistro food, and has better desserts. It's smallish and intimate and a bit cheaper. I think PRB's steak-frites is better than ESK's.

    ESK's menu is a bit broader, with some American and Italian dishes on top of the French stuff, plus truly amazing bartending, worth a trip in itself. It has a big, handsome, urban brasserie vibe, more lively. Those salt cod fritters are fantastic.

    1. it most definitely worths (sorry, internets idiom).

      - the saturday beef wellington special is tremendous.
      - love the bone marrow app which is hard to come by anywhere else in boston.
      - i think the steak frites dish is good, but is inferior to aquitaine (some people don't like the truffle vinaigrette, but i'm with you). i do think it's a little better than PRB, though.
      - i have enjoyed the beef short rib bourguignon, which is simple and hearty (and have had a terribly mediocre one at the south end PRB).
      - the mussels app has improved over time. on our first visit shortly after it opened, some were gritty, but now it's a solid standby.
      - the charcuterie plate and baked raclette are great.
      - and, yes, the warm bread pudding beckons...

      ESK is boisterous, but i've always conversed at a normal, comfortable volume there. the high ceilings seem to effectively dissipate the noise. also, half the draw for me is the bar. i'll take any chance to revel in their sazerac.

      1. Food is decent, no more. Bartenders and cocktails are quite good. Nice quiet room in the back for private parties is nice too. Noisy and not as good as it thinks it is.

        1. PRB and Eastern Standard are different in atmosphere. PRB Kenmore is a very good bistro with better service than their South End location but it doesn't have much of a bar area. At ESK I really only ever sit at the bar which you should absolutely do if you are a cocktail lover. Just put yourself in the hands of one of the fabulous bartenders there and you'll be quite pleased (my favorite cocktail is the au provence). I too really like the bone marrow as ESK as well as the raw bar and the burger.

          1. Cod fritters are one of my least favorite things on the menu, tasteless. The charcuterie plate is always good(and always includes head cheese!!!!!!!) Burgers are great. Oysters have been decent. Atmosphere depends on if their is a sox game or not.overall one of our favorite places in Boston

            4 Replies
            1. re: kechefs

              I had mixed feelings about the fritters. I thought they tasted good, or maybe it was the sauce that came with them, but the batter on a couple was raw in the middle. (It did not stop me from eating them, of course)

              1. re: Bob Dobalina

                They've been really good the two times I've had them.

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  I've had mixed success with those fritters. Bob, I've had the raw batter on the inside on more than one occasion but that was some time ago. I haven't ordered them in awhile. My favorite cod fritters are at Toro.

                  1. re: lissy

                    Those fritters at Toro are GOOD!

              2. Cocktails/bar: Eastern Standard
                Food: Petit Robert
                Service in dining room: Petit Robert
                Service in bar: Eastern Standard; Petit Robert has practically no bar

                The cheese plate at Eastern Standard has had three cheeses with varying accouterments each time I've had it. I prefer the bar at Eastern Standard for cocktails and the more typical bar plates, but dining at Petit Robert. Depends what you're looking for, I think.

                1. To me it IS cavernous and noisy and sceney and uninviting, ESPECIALLY the bar, though the cocktails are great. I wish I could love it like everyone seems to around here. Petit Robert is quite cozy, on the other hand.

                  1. I was just there recently, here is a brief review,
                    ...We had lunch at Eastern Standard, the good part was I was able to get a light lunch. We weren't impressed though and the service was incredibly lacking. We shared about 10 oysters which were all good, my friend and I both had the crab and lobster salad which was lacking flavor and although it came with a grapefruit vinniagrette, there i tasted no grapefruit and instead there were pieces of orange?!
                    My husband had the mussels frite which seemed incredibly tiny, like they had been cooked too long! The frites were good and came with a dipping sauce that if I had to describe would be like a watered down Lobster bisque, but in a good way if that makes sense.
                    We ate outside, so not sure about the noise level. I thought it was very nice looking inside though.

                    1. I heard the opening chef left. Who is heading the kitchen at
                      Eastern Standard now?

                      1. I live within walking distance of eastern standard so i go there quite often. The cod fritters are very good. They serve it with some sort of spicy ketchup that is excellent. Love the tuna nicoise salad and the mixed field greens salad with feta. They just updated their menu, but the halibut is very good, as well as the salmon and the roasted chicken. They also make a pretty good burger! I have had the chocolate brioche bread pudding. Honestly, it was just OKAY. Don't know if i would recommend it.

                        Petit Robert is good, but the couple of times i have been there, i ahve had somewhat bad experiences, so ive been turned off a little bit. However, their food is quite good and they always seem to be be busy, so people must like it

                        1. I think ES is "worth the money"...perfectly reasonably priced for a quick and tasty weeknight dinner, and even more reasonable for a fun Saturday night on the town.

                          None of the items you mention are among my favorites, but there are plenty of dishes I love on the current menu. The frisee salad and the bone marrow app are both amazing (though the amount of marrow in an order can vary significantly) and the bratwurst filled with gooey raclette is really enjoyable. They've also had a pork belly special (the "offal of the day") this past week that has been sensational. Among the main courses, my favorites are probably the salmon and the rib-eye. (I know you're going on a Saturday, but if you're ever back there on a Sunday, the prime rib's a treat.) The baked rigatoni is flavorful, rich and hearty - and a huge portion - so I'd recommend it if you're in the mood for "lots" (though I rarely am). For dessert, the rosemary-poached pear on cornmeal poundcake is delectable and the flavor of the pistachio ice cream is delightfully reminiscent of the nutty-salty-fatty goodness of halvah (though, of course, no sesame seeds are involved in it). Also, unless you aren't drinking at all, you must try their cocktails: the Metamorphosis, the Au Provence and the Blueberry Thrill all get my vote.

                          I *think* the dark chocolate bread pudding might be off the menu - or at least the current bread pudding is changed to include baked-in cherries and a liquid white chocolate center.

                          As for the ambiance, it does have high ceilings, but I don't find it cold, and it only gets unpleasantly noisy on Red Sox game-days, pre- and post-game. I've only been to PRB once (for lunch) but I wasn't particularly impressed by the food and the service was indifferent. It's certainly a more intimate venue but I'd take the bar area at ES any day.

                          1. Thank you all for your info! It seems as though both places require a visit, but for my upcoming Saturday night, I think we'll go with Petit Robert Bistro. It seems a bit more intimate for what we're looking for that night. The liveliness of ESK will be something to look forward to another time.

                            Thanks again, everyone!
                            Javagrrl