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Jul 24, 2008 07:07 AM

Pigalle Not Good

Went to Pigalle last night with fairly high expectations based on lots of positive reviews on this board and their website that proclaims that "Food and Wine" named their chef, "Best New Chef" for 2004, but came away terribly disappointed. The positives, the restaurant is very attractive and the waitstaff and hostess were very friendly and professional. The word that keeps coming to mind for the balance of the meal, the portion size, the pricing, the quality of the cooking, is pretentious. It seems to me that they believe that they are much better than they really are.

First, I want to say that throughout our meal, the restaurant was very slow, perhaps 3-4 tables or about 10-12 diners total so there should have been no excuse for turning out poor food, they certainly did not have the pressure of a full restaurant and a backed up kitchen struggling to get food out. One odd (pretentious) thing about the bread service: they served each one of us one piece of what I would describe as very average bread (not artisinal bread) on our own individual plate and when we each finished, the servers removed the barely used bread plate and provided us with a new one for the next slice of bread...a little unnecessary. Only one of the 3 of us got an appetizer which was a mushroom consumme (broth) with a few pieces of shitake and 3 miniscule duck quennelles, it was tasty but certainly not worth the $15 price tag. For entrees, my daughter got the tenderloin ($40), I got the sirloin ($46) and my wife got a mushroom risotto ($38). Both the tenderloin and sirloin, I estimate as between 4-6 oz pieces, not very large for the pricepoint. I ordered my sirloin medium rare and it came out with no observable pink or red, I believed to be medium to medium well. I asked the waiter what he thought and he said he thought it looked more like medium. He offered to take it back if I didn't mind waiting which I had him do and what was a little odd was that he had another piece out in less than 5 minutes saying, "we had another one in the pipeline" but it came out so quick it made me wonder if these had been precooked and were being held? The second piece was equally small, cooked medium rare to medium but lacked a strong beef flavor. My wife's risotto was delicious but noticeably undercooked, a little too much of a crunch, 5 more minutes on the stove would have been perfect but because I had sent my meal back, she did not want to do the same. All I could think of is that if this were "Hell's Kitchen", my steak and the risotto would never have left the kitchen and would have been splattered against the wall in an obscenity laced tirade from the Executive Chef. None of us had dessert but we had a total of 5 glasses of wine and 1 cappaccino. Total bill for 1 appetizer, 3 entrees, 5 glasses of wine and 1 cappaccino was $203 plus tip. Not to be repetitive, but given the pricing, the portions were ridiculous and given that the restaurant was very slow, there was no excuse for sending out overcooked steak and undercooked risotto.

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  1. Thanks for your review. I'm surprised as Pigalle has been consistently good over the years and fairly priced. I don't recall that their strength was grilled meat but still, your entrees should have been better, I haven't been in about 9 months (coincidentally running into Limster who was seated at the bar) so maybe they've jumped the shark. Perhaps others can pipe in about recent experiences

    1. Sorry to hear about your experience. We generally avoid Pigalle in the summer as the chef/owner is generally not around and the consistency most definitely suffers.

      Definitely give it a try again sometime in the fall or winter when it is very consistent.

      8 Replies
      1. re: Gabatta

        That's amazing; he hasn't trained anyone to do his dishes well enough to serve?
        They don't reduce prices in the summer, tho....

        1. re: galleygirl

          It does seem a bit strange, as it is not like he is in the resturant every night between Labor Day and Memorial Day. One can only guess, but as with any business, any prolonged abscence by the boss can lead to slippage.

        2. re: Gabatta

          I think I read somewhere that Orfaly is on the Vineyard guest-cooking at someone else's restaurant this summer.

          1. re: MC Slim JB

            I wish I had been forewarned but they should still have someone who can execute the dishes equally well. I was going to email my comments to him and his partner but their is no contact email on their website.

            1. re: bakerboyz

              I really hope you will send along your report to the restaurant. As gg says, they don't reduce the prices to account for the chef's absence in the summer. There's no reason you should reduce your expectations.

              1. re: yumyum

                I actually emailed the restaurant about 30 minutes ago; I will report back what they say, if anything.

            2. re: MC Slim JB

              He cooks at the Summer House in Nantucket for at least part of the summer.

              1. re: iamsam

                I'm having lunch at Summer House this weekend - really looking forward to it. Maybe I should slip Chef O a note to let him know he should check in on things back in Boston! :-)

          2. I also had a terrible food experience at Pigalle in the past...service was very good, but all four of us were not just disappointed --the food was so salty it was actually really inedible. This was during August, but as other posters mentioned, should this really matter? I have seen so many glowing reviews for Pigalle but I just don't think I'll ever give it a second chance. There wasn't even one glowing redeeming dish out of four of us who each had an appetizer, entree & dessert.

            1. We were there last night as well and heard that comment re " another one in the pipeline " and in fact think you likely got my steak as a replacement which was indeed in the pipeline ...there were 4 of us and we had no complaints ..In fact our guests had never been before and were totally satisfied. DH and I have been 3 times this summer and havent noticed any declination in food. Sorry u had a bad nite. Email is

              2 Replies
              1. re: capeanne

                Curious - did your steak come out after the other three entrees since they presumably had to start from scratch for you?

                1. re: heathermb

                  Nope we were at end of apps when this occurred . entrees arrived at same time maybe 10 minutes later 2 steaks 1 lamb 1 fish .

              2. I didn't think Pigalle was in that stratosphere of high prices. $46 for sirloin, yowzer.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Joanie

                  Mushroom risotto for 38 dollars!! It better had been covered with freshly sliced truffles?!? That is ridiculous.

                  1. re: Elvis74

                    Nope, just drizzled with truffle oil.

                  2. re: Joanie

                    I used to have Pigalle in my top tier of new (to me) places to try, but when I checked the menu a couple of months ago, I noticed a big price jump. I moved it into the second tier, but after reading that even at those prices you can't expect an adequate portion size or quality, it's banished from the list until I hear things have turned around. For me and others who can only afford those prices for a special occasion, it's not worth the seemingly high risk. And that bread plate thing is too precious.