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Boston rec: French brasseries

Any notable places?

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  1. most traditional: la voile, chez jo - maybe more upscale but recognizably in the category: petit robert, pigalle, bistro du midi

    2 Replies
    1. re: teezeetoo

      By "chez jo" I think you mean Brasserie JO.

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      Brasserie JO
      120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

      1. re: Allstonian

        yes of course - thanks (boiling water has boiled my brain)

    2. Gaslight on Harrison Ave., Brasserie Jo on Huntington, and Acquitaine in Dedham ( & South End) are all good. Petite Robert is o k.

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      Brasserie Jo
      120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

      2 Replies
      1. re: carneyvore

        I like Gaslight.
        Eastern Standard is alsoo kind of a brasserie, but not traditional like La Voile.
        Petit Robert is a bistro. I like it.

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        Eastern Standard
        528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

        La Voile
        261 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

        1. re: carneyvore

          I think brasserie jo is the truest, most reliable pick, but did enjoy Gaslight the one time I went there, and love Eastern Standard where the other comments are accurate. To me, Acquitaine (at least in the South End) is MUCH more a bistro than brasserie based on it's small size and limited, frequently changing menu - that said, I think it's consistently great at its cost point and the service is always impressive.

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          Eastern Standard
          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

        2. My favorite is Brasserie Jo.

          I don't think the food at Gaslight compares, but it has a nice atmosphere.

          La Voile's menu is most authentic and the one time I went it was good.

          Little Bob is also quite good, foodwise, though I have only been to the Kenmore location.

          Eastern Standard is not of the same ilk and I think the food is inconsistant and never really great, though the inventive cocktails are hard to beat.

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          Eastern Standard
          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

          Brasserie Jo
          120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

          1. I guess it depends on how strictly you define the term. Americans play faster and looser with it. I tend to limit it to places that are casual but nice-looking, serve French food at all hours, generally including some Alsatian dishes, and seem to care about beer a bit more than most French places. Brasserie Jo is my personal favorite of the type in Boston, though Gaslight clearly is going for that style and is a bit more affordable.

            ESK has a brasserie feel for sure, though its menu is a mix of French, Italian, and American; it has one of the most extraordinary cocktail bars in town. I think Bouchee on Newbury is aiming for this, but I don't like it: it's Epcot Center French. Sandrine's has an Alsatian chef and menu, but is more of a traditional restaurant.

            I'm not sure why La Voile gets included on this list: it's a Southern French restaurant, and a good one, but it doesn't feel at all like a brasserie to me. Ditto the Petit Roberts: they're straight-up bistros, not brasseries, noteworthy for coming much closer to the French idea of a bistro than most American restaurants that use the term.

            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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            La Voile
            261 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116

            Sandrine's
            8 Holyoke St., Cambridge, MA 02138

            Brasserie Jo
            120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

            12 Replies
            1. re: MC Slim JB

              I've always been disappointed by the food at Brasserie Jo. For very traditional, Petit Robert fits the bill. Another option is Les Zygomate over near South Station.

              1. re: AlisaAAM

                I like Les Zyg, too, but it's another place I'd call a bistro, not a brasserie, and it is unusual by the standards of both with its nightly live jazz.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                1. re: AlisaAAM

                  Ah-thank you! I recently dined at Brasserie Jo and was also rather disappointed in the food there. Im glad Im not the only one.

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                  Brasserie Jo
                  120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                  1. re: fmcoxe6188

                    What did you order at Brasserie Jo?

                    http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                    Brasserie Jo
                    120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      I had their chicken and lamb special of the evening which was fine, not great. The lamb was lamb sausage and had incredibly odd taste and texture to it. My DC had their steak frites and the steak was really tough though great flavor to it. We had ordered a side of ratatouille but it was never delivered. Our service was pretty poor all the way around though so that also gave us a bit of a bad taste towards the place.

                      1. re: fmcoxe6188

                        That does sound underwhelming.

                        I love Brasserie Jo's steak frites, even if the hanger cut they use is a little chewy by most sirloin-, ribeye- and tenderloin-loving Americans' standards. That's a very tasty steak for the money, and their frites are some of the best in town. Very solid bartending, too, even if they're still slinging the now-passe birdbath size cocktails.

                        http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                        Brasserie Jo
                        120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                        1. re: MC Slim JB

                          I prefer Gaslight (especially lately) to Brasserie Jo.

                          Agree on much that was said about Eastern Standard, though I definitely find that it feels like a real Parisian brasserie, despite some of the more eclectic offerings. Love going there.

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                          Eastern Standard
                          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                          Brasserie Jo
                          120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            Completely agree that Hanger is in no way as tender as the other more popular cuts, but this was pretty tough. Its funny I actually had this exactly conversation with a chef up in Maine this weekend and he launched into quite a tirade about why Hanger steak doesnt need to be tough and its all in how you prepare it/cut it. I am certainly no expert on preparation. The flavor was delicious though! Its just not high on my list of places to try again- if at all.

                            1. re: fmcoxe6188

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanger_s...

                              Hanger has a tough membrane running through the center. I and most chefs trim it out before cooking and it never makes it to the plate. If it's not trimmed out, you will have a very tough piece of meat. I cook it rare and it'sgenerally not tough.

                              1. re: 9lives

                                thanks 9lives-thats exactly what they were saying this weekend! I didn't want to misquote

                            2. re: MC Slim JB

                              I'd have to agree on the praise for Brasserie Jo's frites which are especially great dipped in the sauce from the mussels reislings mariniere. This is one of my favorite mussels dishes in the city.

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                              Brasserie Jo
                              120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

                          2. re: MC Slim JB

                            i had the pork chop special a few weeks ago and it was delicious, and there were no complaints from the rest of our party.

                    2. Liking Gaslight and Eastern Standard so far. Do I need reservations for these?

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                      Eastern Standard
                      528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: itryalot

                        Yes, you do. I applaud your choices!

                        1. re: itryalot

                          I like Eastern Standard a lot, but you might want to choose a night when the Sox aren't in town. Even if you don't mind being surrounded by Sox fans, it gets uncomfortably crowded. Be aware that Gaslight is really, really loud when it's full. Both are on OpenTable.

                          http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

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                          Eastern Standard
                          528 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215