I'd been to the installment on Columbus Avenue in the South End twice before with Robert. We essentially took turns being completely incapacitated after attempting to down their very rich lobster bisque -- which contains lobster -- and I have since felt challenged to conquer its food-coma inducing powers. The most stand-out memory, however, is the back-handed compliment we received from the waitress on our first trip.
Once we had announced our orders, she said, and I do definitely quote:
"At first, when you came in, I thought you were cheap, but now we must get you to stay forever!"Now, picture this coming from someone who, in speech, sounds pretty much exactly like Celine Dion. Isn't that just fucking precious? What can't French people do...
The Kenmore location, which is where Hanah and I went last night, had pretty much the same atmosphere. A dimly-lit, tightly packed -- and thus, rather warm -- establishment.
When I saw the Restaurant Week pre-fixe, I immediately jumped ship and turned my attention to the regular menu. I was determined to take on a complete four-course gauntlet.
Things started off with their trio of pates, a delicious dish comprised of foie gras, pork, and country pates with cornichions and mustard, plus a relatively soft warm baguette on which to spread them. I've had this dish before and loved it; last night's offering was consistent with previous orders. I will say that toasted triangles of brioche would make this just a little better, but that's a statement that can apply to so very many things.
The lobster bisque that followed was satisfactory. There seemed to be a gentle spice in the nutmeg-cinnamon-clove family going on, giving the soup a softer tone than I'm used to, also somewhat masking how very rich their version of the dish is. I did not, however, fall immediately into a food-coma after finishing it this time. A tribute to my developing endurance!
For the entree -- the main reason I strayed from the pre-fixe -- I ordered the sweetbreads. Sweetbreads just don't show up on many menus, but they're apparently available year-round at Le Petit Robert. Ever-so-lightly breaded with a dash of sea salt, the mixed vegetable and mashed potato sides that accompany them are rendered irrelevant; the sweetbreads dominate the dish and are simply the only part worth paying any mind to.
For dessert, I had the creme caramel, which was basically flan doused in a thin caramel syrup, accompanied by a flaky cookie. It was good, though my sample of Hanah's citron tart brulee informed me that I should've ordered that.
Le Petit Robert Bistro is cozy if not a little stuffy, but thoroughly enjoyable. The menu options, extensive and inviting, are probably suited for no more than two courses on account of how rich most of them are. I look forward to returning in warmer weather for some patio dining; a little more champagne and a little less food.
My stomach may not forgive me anytime soon, but as soon as it does, would do again.