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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Eve at Brasserie Jo

Some time ago, Barbara and I decided that we would celebrate New Year’s Eve this year by going out to eat at Brasserie Jo. Verdict: definitely OK, but not worth the price.

First of all, as the name tells you, Brasserie Jo is a brasserie, not a classy French restaurant like L’Espalier (which offers “sophisticated and modern New England-French cuisine”). Brasserie Jo offers exactly what the name promises: a huge menu of French classics, primarily peasant dishes. We were initially served a crusty, thin loaf of French bread (in a paper bag, as from a French bakery) and a plate of carrot sticks (overly seasoned with horseradish and some unidentified herb). Barbara had crab cakes (small but tasty); short ribs (cooked just right and also tasty), served with assorted root vegetables; and haricot verts (nicely seasoned and sufficiently cooked). I had lobster bisque (adequate, but with no lobster meat and almost completely devoid of lobster taste); an interesting salad of bibb lettuce, goat cheese, and roasted pear (fresh and delicious, though both the cheese and the pear were too mild, even the roasting not giving much flavor to the pear); and duck confit with braised lentils (both flavorful, though both slighly overcooked).

So, overall it was fine (“definitely OK,” as I said above), but nothing special. It certainly didn’t reach the near-perfection of Icarus or Sel de la Terre. That wouldn’t matter if the price had been more reasonable. But, for the two of us, a bill of $180.00 (including tax, a “moderately priced” bottle of wine, and tip) places Brasserie Jo in the “not worth it” category. For that price, I’d much rather go to Sel de la Terre. For slightly more, I’d much rather go to Icarus.

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