Boston Restaurant Blog -- February, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
One of the best dining experiences that I have had over the past couple of years was at a tiny place on Tremont Street in the South End called the Metropolis Cafe; the food there, to put it mildly, was extraordinary, and the professional waitstaff and the charming atmosphere only added to the greatness of the meal. Well, I recently had another dining experience that rivaled that of the Metropolis, and oddly enough, it was at a place (Gaslight Brasserie) on Harrison Avenue in the South End that happens to be run by the same folks. Coincidence? Probably not.
Gaslight is located in one of the many wonderful old buildings that line Harrison Avenue in the SoWa district of the South End. The interior of the space is rustic and charming, feeling much like a classic neighborhood dining spot that you might find on a narrow side street in Paris. Some of the nicer touches include a beamed ceiling with classic globe lamps, walls lined with bottles and antique-feeling "streetlights," an old wooden floor, and a particularly attractive bar area with a zinc bar, a low beamed ceiling and lots of dark woods used. Indeed, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that there are few dining spots in Boston are more visually appealing than the space in which Gaslight resides.
While most online reviews that I have seen of Gaslight have been positive, it seems that one complaint that occasionally comes up is the fact that service can be a bit of a sticking point. We found, however, that this was anything but the case, at least during our time spent there. Everyone--from the host to the waiter to the busser to the person in charge (who came over to our table to make sure everything was to our liking)--was friendly, pleasant, and professional, with all of our food and drink items coming to us neither too quickly nor too slowly. And the food was indeed something special--the French onion soup with truffled beef short ribs was rich, hearty, and heavenly, though very filling; the handcut frites were perfectly seasoned and crisp without being overcooked; the steak au poivre (which was a special that night) had a wonderful combination of cracked black pepper and a rich pan sauce with cognac and cream on top of the tender cut of meat; the house-made tagliatelle came with little pieces of smoked short ribs, bacon, and mild-tasting pearl onions, making it almost like a high-end version of a carbonara; and the chocolate beignets which ended the meal were almost too rich (we couldn't finish them), but these deep-fried pieces of dough were nearly perfect, with the rich chocolate dipping sauce simply being icing on the cake, so to speak. Drinks included a terrific version of red sangria as well as two classic Belgian beers--Duvel and Chimay. Prices were not all that bad considering that Gaslight is considered an upscale French restaurant, and as mentioned earlier, service was flawless.
Our meal at Gaslight Brasserie was certainly something special, being on par with our similarly unforgettable experience at the nearby Metropolis. I'm not sure that either one would qualify as being a hidden gem (perhaps Metropolis may be closer to this, as relatively few people seem to know about it), but both places pretty much blew up away--and in Gaslight's case, the atmosphere alone probably makes it worth checking out.
For those who want the address for Gaslight, here it is: Gaslight, 560 Harrison Avenue Boston, MA 02118. The phone number is (617) 422-0224.
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