Petit Robert is a bistro style restaurant in the South End (as well as the Kenmore area). It's an intimate setting for a traditional French meal. The walls are a buttery yellow, the rooms, a tight squeeze. Tables are covered in crisp white linen and patrons are sat very close to one another. Their signature metal Eiffel tower stands out front adorned in Christmas lights while waiters dressed in traditional white shirts with black ties and pants scurry around (some with distinct French accents).
Last night, a large group of us went to Petit Robert Bistro on Columbus Ave to celebrate a friend's upcoming marriage. We arrived at the restaurant on time but due to the small size of the place, we had to wait for our table since another large party was still using the table. We decided to get drinks at the bar. Although we had to wait almost an hour (not the restaurant's fault) we had a nice time mingling with the locals (and tourists). The restaurant's bar area lends itself to small chit-chat among patrons and seems like a nice alternative to the bars we normally frequent.
We sat down and ordered wine for the table as we looked over the menus. We were brought bread and butter, which was delicious--but not really enough for our large group who had worked up quite the appetite by this point. Our waiter seemed a bit flustered at the party size but he was very nice and not only took our orders but offered to take our pictures a few times throughout the evening.
Bryan ordered the Coq au Vin (which is traditionally rooster but most restaurants--including PRB--make it with chicken). The Coq au Vin was served in a bowl and consisted of both light and dark meat and was served with buttered noodles. It was the first time Bryan had the dish and he thought it was really delicious. It's a simple dish, but the flavors were strong and it made Bryan want to learn how to make it at home.
I ordered the beef Bourguignon (I like to say this in my best Julia Child impersonation). The beef came in steak-tip sized pieces and was covered in the traditional bourguignon sauce (red wine, garlic, onions, carrots, mushrooms, etc). The beef was good, the sauce was incredible though. After I had finished the meat, I used bread to sop up the sauce and then even picked up the bowl to finish the rest (compliments to the chef!). I looked around and noticed other people at the table doing the same thing.
Since we had to wait for awhile to get our table, the chef sent out a few free desserts. A giant profiterole, smothered in vanilla ice cream and hot fudge, seemed to be the crowd favorite but the chocolate gateau Petit Robert won the prize for coolest looking....a chocolate Eiffel tower adorned the side of the plate. We also had a molten cake that was pretty good, although not nearly as good as the one from Fleming's.
Overall, we had a wonderful time at Petit Robert. This was not our first time going, and so far, we've never had a bad experience. The food, although simple bistro food, is packed with flavor. It definitely beats out Gaslight in terms of food quality and taste (there are no croque monsieurs on this menu). If you're looking for a small intimate setting with good traditional french food, then this is the place to beat. We'll be back again very soon.