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New Petit Robert Location ?

I almost hesitate to ask, since mentioning Petit Robert usually gets a heated discussion going, along the lines of "why I love" or "why I hate" Petit Robert. Here goes anyway. I heard a rumor this past weekend that Jackie will be opening up in the old Apocrypha location in Needham. Anyone heard this? The western suburbs don't have a lot of bistro food ( read: nice neighborhood place ) and I for one, would welcome him to the area.

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  1. Interesting. I'm still waiting to see if they open in the old Copia/Meze space in Charlestown, as the rumors said a while back.

    ETA this link to an old thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/501271

    I guess the Charlestown location isn't happening...

    2 Replies
    1. re: heathermb

      I'm pretty sure that the idea of a PRB in the old Copia space was abandoned some months ago.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Owners of Tavern on the Water just opened Max & Dylan's in the Copia space.

    2. I was walking by the old Apocrypha location in Needham yesterday and there were people working on the interior, and there were Petit Robert menus posted in the window, so that sounds like a good sign!

      1. After eating at Petite Robert on Commonwealth Avenue a few weeks ago, we excitedly awaited the opening of the Needham location. It's now been open for 1-1/2 weeks.

        The mood of the restaurant, decor and lighting, is warm and modern and the music was nice and could even go a little louder. The crowd on a Sunday night at 6:30 was full of empty-nesters. One family had small children, our children are 10 and 15, and theat wasa the extent of family.

        The waitress was well informed, but a vegetarian so couldn't offer personal remarks on most of the entrees. The service was very good.

        We always order a bottle of sparkling water and they were out of it tonight. Seems odd for a restaurant when it's easy enough to pick up a case from the market a block down the street.

        For some strange reason, my girls didn't feel like eating and both ordered the bowl of lobster bisque. One girl loved it and drained the bowl, the other offered a negative comparison to Legal's lobster bisque.

        My husband ordered the chicken which was delicious but incredibly small. I ordered the sweetbreads. The sweetbreads were wonderful - plated onto top of a puddled creamed leaks and a pile of very buttery mashed potatoes. I think I would have enjoyed a little texture contrast with my meal, but the flavors were wonderful and the sweetbreads perfectly seasoned and cooked.

        I convinced one girl to try a bite and the other refused. I asked the waitress exactly what it was, since we weren't quite sure - I guessed brain, gonads, or pancreas- wrong on all - it was calf's thymus. After hearing that my girls wouldn't touch it, but that didn't change the fact they were truly delicious.

        I really admire the french cuisine for using many parts of an animal -- it seems like an environmentally aware way to eat. And for my friend who says "weird french food", I challenge her to try it to see how delicious it is.

        We will be frequent patrons of this restaurant and we're really glad they settled in our town.

        1 Reply
        1. re: alorenstei

          With the exception of Waltham, there is no concentration of good restaurants in any of the near west suburban towns. With PRB in now open, downtown Needham is quickly becomming a restaurant destination, great news!

          Regarding your "well informed" waitress, who was a vegetarian and couldn't comment on the "most of the entrees"; this smacks of poor training on the restaurant's part. My experience in the past, at the PRB on Comm. Ave, is that the staff was well informed and was always willing/able to make suggestions. In most restaurants, it's incumbent on the waitstaff to either try most of the dishes, or speak with colleagues who have eaten dishes that they haven't sampled. This way, when asked, they can offer advice to the customer, simply by saying, " I haven't tried the chicken/beef/lamb dish, but in speaking with colleagues, the (fill in the blank) is excellent tonight. This waitress is working at a French restaurant, not Vegan Village, and she should be well informed about ALL the food.

        2. Had dinner there and it was really excellent. The space is quite lovely although the tables for 2 with a banquette on one side are a bit of a tight squeeze. There is a small separate room where they can have private parties. The prices were extremely reasonable- looks like the same menu as other locations. Service was excellent, attentive, knowledgeable. Our waitress knew us from Scampo where she used to work.
          I had the trio of pates, the roast chicken and a side of the garlicky salsify and turnips. The chicken came with a gravy boat of au jus, mashed potatoes and a green bean mixture. Chicken had a nice char. The pates- a chicken liver, a pork rilette and a country pate, served with cornichons and mustard, were excellent although the chicken liver was very cold. The side of parsnips and salsify was a bit crunchy and very tasty. DH had the romaine with gorgonzola- he loved it but I thought it a little too vinegary; the coq au vin, which was served with pasta in a big bowl- he said we excellent. The dessert special was a warm mango and pineapple tart with coconut ice cream . The tart was a bit crunchy, soft inside, very fruity and rich. Really, a great experience. Pretty empty as it was early but by the time we left they were half full. Let's hope they succeed as that space has been doomed by the very expensive (Indigo) and expensive and silly (Apochrypha) predecessors.

          4 Replies
          1. re: emilief

            I have had most things on the menu and would have to say the porkchop is hands down my favorite. Excellent place and used to hit up the South End location on a weekly basis when I lived closer. You have to give credit to a place that is actaully authentic, has great service, actually serves good food and all at a reasonalble price. I wish there more more restaurants like this in the South End espeacially.

            1. re: emilief

              Had dinner there last Friday and have to say, I was disappointed. I expect to find comfort food in a bistro, but the food and decor were a little more pretentious for my liking. The folks next to us were complaining about both the food and the service (they all waited about 5 minutes until the last person on their table got her entree). I ordered the venison which was really dry and overcooked (I ordered medium rare) and taste a bit like dried out beef liver. I was bummed, because I really like gamy meats. My GF had the lamb shank, which was much more flavorful than my entree but complained that the portion size was too small. The one hit was the potatoes dauphinoise gratin. It was buttery and creamy and a bit burnt on top. Overall the meal was ok, but certainly not worth a second meal. I might consider hanging out at the bar for apps and drinks. BTW - my fav french is Sandrines in Harvard Square. I like hanging at the bar for apps, drinks and desserts.

              1. re: zizzpudding

                Had dinner there again last night. Although Open Table showed openings in all slots yesterday afternoon, it was really bustling at 7 p.m. Dining room almost full and bar full. They sat us in the smallroom which is not very nice- with a view to part of the kitchen. I think that was because we were 3 and the configuration in the dining room does not lend itself to seat 3 easily. Service was good. I had the romaine, roquefort and vinaigrette. They forgot the vinaigrette! They did bring it to me when I pointed it out to them. Two of us had the local sole muniere. It was excellent. However, oddly enough, one of us had two pieces of fish and the other had one plus a piece so small it was a bite. Very strange. The fish included a side of mashed potatoes and some cooked carrots with some other unrecognizeable something mixed in. Tasty but it appears that the mashed and carrots are sides on most plates and that will get tiresome if you are a regular. I avoided the venison based on your post. Well, Sandrine's is nice, but we often are looking for dinner nearby and this fits the bill.
                BTW, Quince, around the corner, was dark at 8:30. I wonder if Petit Robert is sounding the death knell for them.

                1. re: emilief

                  I tried it for lunch, and to be honest, was not impressed. Service was intrusive and clumsy, and overall, not good. The quality of ingredients in the dishes our table ordered were were inferior at best, and we ordered a large variety. I went in really was hoping to like it, but no go. I wonder if the disparity in those who like PRB and those who don't has a correlation to when Jacky Robert is in the kitchen or not? Just a theory. Is he present at one location more than the others, and does that one location tend to get better reviews?

            2. I ate at the bar about 10 days ago on a snowy Saturday night. The place was full, hence the bar. We had the onion soup, with venison and steak frites for main courses. These three dishes were simply great.

              1. I ate at the Needham location recently- and overall was disappointed. We started with the mussels, which would have been fantastic, however the broth they were supposed to be served with as all mussels are, was non existent -basically a small little puddle at the the bottom of the bowl. Highly disappointing for me. I had the lamb shank for dinner, which I thought was delicious, and contrary to another posting here I though that the portion size was perfect. My DC had the steak frites, and the steak was so over cooked it was basically inedible.

                Just my experience

                1. We went over the weekend, and it was mostly great. The place was totally packed, so I recommend reservations.

                  I echo the posts about the crowding. We were at one of the two round tables in the middle, and the staff kept reaching over my mom's head to get the water pitchers off of the shelves where they were kept. After I said something to the waitress, she immediately relocated the pitchers to the kitchen, although the relocation was not communicated to everyone, so we had to chase off a couple of busboys. Our service was mostly attentive. The kitchen was slow, but not We've Finished All the Bread and All the Wine and the Appetizers Are a Distant Memory and Conversation Has Died and We Are Reduced to Looking at Each Other Over an Empty Table slow. They have added a curtain by the door so the wind doesn't blow down the middle of the restaurant.

                  The food was very good, with the exception of the crème caramel, which had been cooked too fast and had tunnels/wasn't smooth.

                  They didn't have the bottle of wine that we asked for and, after accepting the host's recommendation for a different bottle, we were told they were out of that too. The third bottle was good, but they charged us for the first on the bill.

                  We're looking forward to going again; hopefully more kinks will have been worked out.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ace2

                    So, please tell us what you ate and how it was.

                  2. Had a wonderful dinner there last night - went with a friend and was surprised to see most of the tables occupied at 8:30PM on a Wednesday night (they could use a bit of sound dampening in the restaurant). Service was great and attentive, and the kitchen went out of their way to make crepes suzette (usually a Saturday only item) for my friend, which was outstanding. Had the french onion soup to start, which was spot on with melted cheese, just the right amount of give in the bread, and flavorful broth. Had the frog's legs provencal, which was breaded in panko crumbs and then fried. It was good, but I ordered the frog's legs on a whim having not had them for many years...and they were just not as tender and fall-off-the-bone as I remember getting them on Coney Island :) Perhaps my memory is off, but even still it was good. The whole dish felt a little too buttery though, as the vegetables (onions, carrots, and string beans) were cooked in butter, there was a pool of butter in the mashed potatoes, and the frog's legs were cooked in butter. My friend's trout (served with asparagus risotto and mixed vegetables) smelled great and she said it was tasty.