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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Petit Robert: A Big Deal

Remember when Kenmore Square was a rundown stomping ground for Red Sox fans to urinate in its rat-infested alleys? Those were the days: the nicest restaurants were McDonald’s and The Underground with a scenic view of the grimy Kenmore bus station. But times have changed: now Kenmore is undergoing a renaissance of sorts with a swanky hotel, an exclusive nightclub, and numerous fine-dining establishments on the rise. Among them is Petit Robert, a relaxed French bistro that has swiftly become one of Boston’s most loved locations for affordable, yet delicious Continental fare.

Located at 486 Commonwealth Avenue, Petit Robert is a charming alternative to the many over priced and stuck up dining venues in the Back Bay. One cannot miss its mini, illuminated Eiffel Tower gracing the exterior. Also, on the outside is an enclosed patio area which offers an intimate change of pace to the often bustling interior. Inside, low lights and exposed brick create a casual dining environment. Decor is minimal yet tastefully selected, creating a low-key backdrop to excellent cuisine.

The menu boasts numerous appetizer, soup/salad, and entree selections. Among its appetizer highlights are a medley of vegan pate composed of a subtly sweet tomato concasse, a hearty mushroom, and a savory herb ($5.50). For the meat lovers, Petit Robert also has a trio of home made pates ($7) that are the favorite of its patrons. Served with fresh bread made in house, the pates are an excellent way to ease into your meal. Also, on the apps menu is a delicious Mussels Marinieres ($7.50) made with white wine, butter, and tons of onions. C’est magnifique! The sauce is so delicious you’ll want to eat it with a spoon.

For entrees, it’s easy for one to not know where to begin. However, with well over fifteen options you will not have a problem finding one to suit your own tastes. I sampled the Native Bluefish with Cream of Corn and Bacon ($13.75). Though the dish yielded a simple, flavorful taste, the fish was overdone and would have been hard to swallow if not for the rich corn and bacon medley. For its side, the Bluefish came with a shredded corn and onion medley basking in a delicate butter broth. I also, tried the Roast Leg of Rabbit Moutarde with Ginger Sausage ($18.95). The hearty rabbit hinted of spicy dijon and herb and was complimented by the rich Ginger Sausage. Lastly, I tried the Pan Seared Salmon Legs with Sorrel Nage ($16.75). For those of you who aren’t familiar with salmon legs- it is not a biological anomaly. Salmon legs describe the way the fish is cut, split in the middle making it look like it has two limbs. This allows for the fish to brown in more areas. The salmon came swimming in a sauce very similar to the Mussels Marinieres (white wine and onion) creating mouthful after mouthful of buttery, savory joy.

After such a wonderful dinner I could not pass up dessert. The pastry bar at Petit Robert is all home made by their pastry chef, renowned Kristen Lawson. Again, there are many options and all are suited as a fine ending for any entree. I had the Summer Pudding of berries with Champagne Sorbet ($5). It was not what I had expected, instead it was more of a tart bread pudding with whole chunks of raspberry and blueberry. The champagne sorbet was sweet and somewhat fizzy, pairing well with the sour fruits. I also tried the Warm Apple Tarte Tatin with Cardamom Creme Fraiche ($6). Warm, sweet, and drizzled with the creamy Creme Fraiche, this was the better of the two. With large, spiced apples and a flaky crust the Tatin was a cozy way to cap off the night.

The service has been a bit of a controversy since Petit Robert’s opening but I found no problem with it. Our waiter was knowledgeable and accommodating, as well as charming. When he mimicked a walking salmon I almost fell out of my chair. Through my several visits to Petit Robert I have found them to be consistently wonderful and I suggest this as a must for a casual, delicious dining experience.

Petit Robert is located at 486 Commonwealth Avenue, Kenmore Square. Reservations are highly suggested: call (617)375-0699