Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Gaslight Brasserie du Coin

I shall follow up yesterday's blog with some tidbits on a new restaurant in Boston which I dined at last Sunday called Gaslight Brasserie du coin. The name literally means Gaslight Bar on the Corner. The owner and Chef of the restaurant is Seth Wood of Aquataine fame, so French cuisine is no mystery to him, and with opening this new venture he decided to stay with his strength. For those not in the know, a brasserie is a casual style restaurant concept founded in Alsace, France. They would be what one would think of as a brew pub, selling beer and inexpensive but highly flavorful food. The usual menu for a brasserie contains dishes like charcrute garnie which is a plate of braised sauerkraut along with sausages, hot dogs and a myriad of other tasty meats. Other dishes include the famed steak tar tare, frisee salad au lardons (frisee salad with lardons of bacon and a poached egg on top), steak frittes, coq au vin and many other comfort-style foods of France. I went in that particular night because they serve cassoulet as their special every Sunday. The restaurant has actually only been open since September 24th.

I like any restaurant that calls to confirm my reservation, that assures me that I will have my table ready as-well-as it serves as a reminder as I often get busy and forget I was supposed to go out to dinner. The location is off the normal beaten path, but happens to be next to a parking lot where artists sell their wares on the weekends so it seems appropriate in the bohemian style of this type of restaurant, but trust me the restaurant is only bohemian in concept, not in reality. The restaurant is spacious, high ceilings, tile adorned walls with faux aged mirrors which give a sense of age, but the mirrors also make the room larger. The restaurant is actually below street level, but there are huge windows that go above the street level and then some. The lighting is a number of different style with large old-style gaslight street lamps, converted into electric, along with some other antiquated light fixtures. A row of Richard Pastis bottles adorns the upper reaches of the walls on one side. Maybe someone should inform them that Pastis is a liqueur from Provence and not Alsace, no matter. The high ceilings and large room lead to a lot of noise in the room, which is a good thing as this is not intended to be a fine-dining restaurant, but as noted, a casual brasserie.

The bar is very accommodating, however over crowded. With time maybe this will not be an issue, but at the moment, one would have to fight to get to the bar after 7:00pm probably on any night. This is customary to any new restaurant of this sort until the locals and foodies have all gotten their chance to try it and then it becomes part of the "restaurant scene". I was seated at a nice two-top toward the back of the restaurant and waited briefly for my server, who's name I will withhold as not all my words will be kind. Polite, prompt, professional and courteous as he was, my server was lacking a bit in the English department. Some broken sentences and a lack of knowledge of the wine list left me a little uncomfortable. He however knew the menu well and seemed to be trying his hardest. He did bring me a complimentary glass of Champagne to start with, so I can't say too much bad about him.

My server suggested that I start off with their signature cocktail, the Fleur de Lis. A purplish concoction with a Parfait Amour violet liqueur, Mathilde peach, white grape juice and a Champagne float. Not my normal drink, and certainly will not ever become my normal drink, but nonetheless it was a tasty cocktail and an appropriate start to a meal. As any Frenchman will tell you, to start of with Champagne itself is inappropriate, always start with an aperitif. I ordered the escargot for an appetizer, tender, cooked in the traditional cast iron pan with garlic and herbs. I would've loved my bread to have come earlier to dip into the sauce, but my bread came with my salad. I ordered their signature salad "Salade Gaslight" which was haricot verts, frisse, and spring onions, very tasty and I would order it again.

For an entree, you guessed it, I got the cassoulet. It was made in the Toulouse style with similar ingredients as stated in my last post. The confit was served on top as a whole leg as is popular fashion in most restaurants, I suppose it gives the guest perceived value, I'd prefer it baked in. First observations, wonderful aroma, smells just like when I make it, a nice piece of crispy confit on top, good portion size and a bit of liquid in the bottom of the bowl which can tell me two things, either they cook everything and add liquid to moisten it to reheat, or the beans are undercooked. Sadly it was the latter, the beans were very undercooked and very tough. Now I understand many restaurants do not take the three day process that I do, but they can at least cook the beans until very soft and tender and then combine all of the ingredients in the crock which they browned it under the broiler in. There is hope though, as the flavors were excellent and the dish was well seasoned.

I never order dessert, usually cheese, but as the cheese did not sound exciting to me that evening I went for the Baba au Rhum and a glass of Remy Martin VSOP. The dessert was tasty, but needed more soaking time for the liquid, the cake was still a bit dry, but again it was tasty. I would try other items on the list next time. Lastly, the wine list was good, short because of the location, as beer was prevalent as well. The glasses are probably a 4oz glass, which they seem to fill alright, but for 9-12 a glass, I do not like this type of what I call a "banquet" glass. No room for a 12 dollar glass of wine to gather aromas up to the nose, so you are almost better off buying an inexpensive wine from the list.

Conclusions, well the restaurant is very good. The menu is great, the chef I know is great and the restaurant is beautiful. I feel that once the large crowds dissipate, the restaurant will be able to address the small issues. I will certainly return again, I need to try the charcrute as well as their terrine and steak tar tare. For one person with four courses, a cocktail, a glass of wine and a Cognac, my bill came to about $75.00 with tip. Remembering that most of you will not be eating as much as I did, an average check with a 15 dollar entree, 8 dollar app and 9 dollar glass of wine would cost you about $40.00 a person with tip.

The restaurant's website is http://www.gaslight560.com/

No comments:

Free Blog CounterHandelshaus ...