Just a couple of blocks from where the legendary Maison Robert had been located, the latest outpost of Petit Robert opened last fall. Though my dining experiences at the South End and Kenmore Square restaurants had been mixed, I was eager to try Central and even more interested to see the decor. As an admitted HGTV addict, I have been watching interior designer, and restaurant co-owner, Taniya Nayak work her magic for quite a while. The décor is not over-the-top, “look at me I was created by a star designer.” It maintains a modernized French bistro feel, creating an oasis in an otherwise sterile office building.
The list of wines by the glass is balanced between French and New World options, including one of my recent favorite finds Truchard’s Rousanne. But it was the inventive and reasonably-priced ($10) cocktail list that drew my attention. Unfortunately, they had run out of house-made Goji-infused vodka. I asked the bartender for a plain old Vesper, but he seemed to not know the drink, repeating that they had none of the Goji vodka. I ended up with the Fleur Sureau, a light, slightly sweet cocktail made with gin, Sauvignon Blanc, St. Germain, and lime. It was quite good. As was the yeasty and perfectly dry French 75, which I tried next.
Once seated we enjoyed delicious warm and crusty French bread. Collectively, the four of us ordered what might have appeared to be a rather random selection from the menu: two salads, one entrée, and four side dishes. The only highlight of the Garden Salad was the panko-crusted goat cheese, according to one person in our party. The salad was limp and underdressed. The Beet and Soft Goat Cheese Salad, by contrast, was both generously portioned and fresh. Somewhat to the surprise of my companions, I ordered the Calf’s Liver with bacon and onions. The liver was tender and tasted almost like what my mother would make (and that is a compliment!). It came with a generous helping of pureed potatoes covered with julienned carrots and onions that were slightly crunchy, not caramelized as described on the menu. The sides came with mixed reviews: great Pommes Frites, decent Creamed Spinach, and so-so Brussels Sprouts Cream of Garlic.
With its large, welcoming bar, well-priced menu, and close proximity to my office, I am certain that I will be returning, to, at the very least, try the Goji Vesper. <a href=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/4/1545716/restaurant/Financial-District/Petit-Robert-Central-Boston”><img alt=”Petit Robert Central on Urbanspoon” src=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1545716/biglogo.gif” style=”border:none;width:104px;height:34px” /></a>