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Today's Groupon- Petit Robert Bistro

From the website:

Arm yourself with fresh-baked breads and French fare with today's Groupon to Petit Robert Bistro. Choose between the following meal and location options:

Kenmore Square

* $20 for $40 worth of dinner fare
* $10 for $20 worth of lunch fare

Columbus Avenue

* $20 for $40 worth of dinner fare
* $10 for $20 worth of lunch fare

Needham

* $20 for $40 worth of dinner fare
* $10 for $20 worth of lunch fare

Fine Print:
Expires Jul 17, 2011
Limit 3 per person. Limit 1 per table, 2 per table of 4 or more. Valid only for meal option and location purchased. Dine in only. Must use in 1 visit. Tax and gratuity not included. Not valid with other offers.

http://www.groupon.com/boston

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Petit Robert Bistro
468 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215

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      1. re: Gabatta

        Why not? If you know you will be in the mood for a bistro dinner in the next 6 months, PRB would do nicely and $20 off is $20 off.

        1. re: drb

          I have only been to the Kenmore location. In short appalling service and widely inconsistent food. Plenty of other options to ever give PRB a dime of my $ again.

          1. re: Gabatta

            I go to the Kenmore location VERY frequently. Your experience doesn't sound at all like mine. In fact, I find PRB-Kenmore to be one of the most consistently good, fairly priced, and cozy restaurants in the area.

            1. re: Gabatta

              Wow, I've only had exemplary service and great food at the Kenmore location, as well as the Brighton location.

              1. re: CookieLee

                You've been lucky. We've had a few good meals at Kenmore, but also burnt sweetbreads and seriously undercooked beans in a cassoulet. It's off the list for us, especially with ESK so close by (not to mention the recently-opened Cognac Bistro right in our neighborhood).

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                Cognac Bistro
                455 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446

                1. re: BobB

                  I've eaten there far too many times to chalk it up to luck.

                  1. re: BobB

                    I gave up on ESK after having been served an order of mussels that was 2/3 unopened, (which they did replace), and a noticeable drop in prep + serving from when they 1st opened. Haven't been to CB yet.

                    1. re: CookieLee

                      There seems to be some conflicting information about, but I think the prevailing science says that unopened mussels are in fact safe to eat. You want them to be alive when you cook them, and one off mussel can taint a whole bowl of them, but I believe the notion that a closed mussel is a bad one is false. But I'm not a food scientist.

                      http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                2. re: Gabatta

                  Wow, I admit that service can be occasionally spotty but I consider PRB an essential Boston dining spot. Good bistro fare at a reasonable price....hard to find in Boston's pricier neighborhoods.

            2. I wish the Downtown Crossing location was included.

              1. Odd to hear about consistency issues; I've rarely run into them at the PRBs. I'm at the South End location about three times as often as the Kenmore one. Been to Central a couple of times, never to Needham (which I've heard is the chain's weakest link). I think they come closer to the traditional notion of a proper bistro than many places so self-styled. It's workmanlike, it's not enamored of luxury ingredients (barring a bit of foie gras) or fancy platings, and nothing costs over $20.

                I would call the service pretty traditionally French, meaning it's generally efficient without being too butt-smoochy, which I'm fine with. I can recall one really appalling service experience over the course of several years. Our server that night was clearly a rank, undertrained amateur, but she was a gifted opera (or perhaps classical) singer and regaled another party with a beautiful a cappella song near the end of service, so we kind of forgave her rather complete ineptitude.

                The nice thing about the coupon is that the amount isn't too big; you don't need to order extravagantly to hit the target.

                http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                3 Replies
                1. re: MC Slim JB

                  agreed. Been more than a handful of times and never had any major issues. For it's value, it's one of the better places around. Nothing fancy, just a good place to grab a casual bite to eat for a reasonable price.

                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I tell anyone I bring to this place that it is the most authentically 'french' place you'll go to in terms of service. Things can get pretty slow at peak hours on Fri/Sat nights. I think the food is pretty good at the Needham location; certainly at half price.

                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      Agreed. I've only ever been impressed with PRB given what they are going for. The price point, food, service, even plating is classic French Bistro. I love that they're not trying to be some kind of hip new school Bistro. Still haven't tried PR Central, but looking forward to it.

                    2. Yeah, I've never had service issues at PBR either (only been to Kenmore). This is a good deal if you like the place, for the reasons MC Slim, and others have listed.

                      1. Not worth it. Tried it yet again in the SE (it's in the neighborhood and i really want to like it - see my previous posts). The food was inedible - burnt, dried short ribs and soggy ratatouille. The waitstaff did very quickly notice and very graciously offer replacements but the meal mood was a bit off . . .

                        1. I've been following Groupon in the news lately and I've been studying the financial effects it has on businesses. I don't see how this helps a low profit margin type business like restaurants, but that's their choice to make.

                          I have a question however. How is it possible to use a coupon that effectively discounts a customers liquor bill? Mass Liquor law specifically states: No licensee may sell, offer to sell or deliver drinks to any person or group of persons on any one day at prices less than those charged the general public on that day, except at private functions not open to the public

                          Today’s Groupon is for Sibling Rivalry and it states: for $20, you get $40 worth of seasonal fare and drinks at Sibling Rivalry.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: T.Clark

                            One way to justify participating in Groupon might be akin to the Restaurant Week rationale: you're hoping for repeat business at full price. I wonder what the correlation is between Groupon participation and desperation on the restaurant's part. No idea about the legality issue around effectively discounting drinks.

                            http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

                            1. re: MC Slim JB

                              Think of it as them selling discounted gift certificates, not discounted alcohol/food.

                              Only been to PRB once but enjoyed it.

                          2. We have just used our Groupon coupon for dinner at Petit Robert Needham. My husband has always wanted to dine there. Now we have. We won't be back. The only saving grace to the meal is that we did have a groupon coupon. Even at that, the meal was not worth the money. Nearby Sweet Basil's is far superior both in food and service - even without a groupon.

                            So many people have raved about the bread. Unfortunately we never received any. The waiter claimed it was the bus boy job. We wouldn't know because we never saw the bus boy. The onion soup is a small cup for $8.75. Few onions, mostly bread ( possible leftovers from people like us that never got the bread basket). The Colorado lamb was just that - one small lamb chops. 4 bites and you're done. The accompanying mashed potatoes were barely warm and bordered on cold. I had finished eating when the waiter brought the appropriate knife to use with the lamb and for the skirt steak. We dined with friends. The roast chicken was ordinary and also not terribly warm. The skirt steak was served with McDonald style french fries. Service at best was blaise, and accompanied by a lot of "I don't know's". Restaurant fell far short of our expectations. Too many other good one's nearby to waste time and money here. Very disappointing.

                            -----
                            Sweet Basil
                            942 Great Plain Ave, Needham, MA 02492

                            Petit Robert Needham
                            45 Chapel Street, Needham, MA 02492

                            1. Went there on Sat night and was seriously disappointed. I had the beet salad and cassoulet; DC had the lobster mac & cheese and the sweetbreads. DC enjoyed his dishes -- I shared some of the mac and cheese and really liked it. But my cassoulet... awful. In retrospect, I should have returned it, except that we were having a very intense conversation and I didn't want to interrupt the vibe. I have never in my life had a cassoulet that you could describe as "dry" -- this was just dry-ish beans and overcooked confit. The sausage was nice but the rest of it was just not tasty. So sad -- I don't have cassoulet often, and when I do it's a real treat. This was just sad, sad, sad.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: pamlet

                                Sorry -- should specify -- this was the Kenmore Sq location.

                                1. re: pamlet

                                  Interesting - two of those same dishes are exactly why we took this restaurant out of our rotation a few years ago - burnt sweetbreads and cassoulet served with hard, undercooked beans. Looks like they still haven't gotten their act together.

                              2. PRB is worth it for one very good dish: the beef bourgignon, with their excellent bread. Sometimes a restaurant just has one thing that makes it worthwhile...