We set out to enjoy a leisurely lunch at the original location of Petit Robert Bistro in Kenmore Square, just over the Brookline / Boston line on a Monday holiday not too long ago. The best adjective we could muster up on this day was, well, forgettable.
Sorry, son of Robert, your Kenmore Square location doesn't even hold a Baguette up to its sister location on Columbus Avenue in Boston's South End, and we question if this one even wants to stick around.
We started with the Annie's Croque Monsiuer ($5.75), which seemed like an "ok" Grilled Ham & Cheese Sandwich in the United States, but compared to the real deal in Paris, it's not even in the same universe. This one was overcooked, making the bread almost inedible, and it was too salty from the deli-quality ham. The salad garnish consisted of unripe tomatoes and soggy greens, and the side of Frittes were unforgivably cold, yet non-greasy, thin and crunchy like Frittes are supposed to be.
Next up were the disappointing Moules Marinieres ($9.25) in a Shallot broth. The texture of the Mussels was gummy and the broth was flavorless lacking Garlic, herbs or any sort of kitchen life preserver such as Fennel or Saffron.
We would have sopped up the Mussel Broth if we weren't so disappointed with the Bread, which to its credit was warm and tasty but seemed to be more of a Ciabatta Bread instead of what one might expect to find in a French Bistro--a crunchy-crusted, chewy-in-the-middle authentic Parisian Baguette perhaps?
We also went with a side order of Potato Gratin Dauphinois ($5.00). The flavor was beautiful, though a bit heavy on the Nutmeg. It had a great browning on top without being burnt, and was overall a pleasant dish.
The prices are very reasonable for food of this quality, even though it did come up short on this day. The ambiance is very nice, understated and definitely has a bistro feel, with tables in close proximity to one another and a long bench that runs along one of the walls. It is also quite clean, with an open-air kitchen.
One of our least-favorite aspects of this meal was surprisingly the waitstaff. While not rude, they were under-attentive, uninformed and not one server could vouch for any of the dishes that we inquired about, and maybe that was our one mistake--we expected more from Petit Robert Bistro in Kenmore Square.
Petit Robert Bistro is located in Kenmore Square, Boston
Hours: Not listed on website