Needham >Food & Dining > Petit Robert Needham
45 Chapel St, Needham, MA | Directions 0249242.282036 -71.236694
Good enough for the burbs - not ready for primetime ! – Given it several tries since it is closest to home relative other comparable (e.g. Aquitaine Bis - Chestnut Hill). Positive: Food is decent, though not remarkable by far, kids menu is available which is a big plus. Negative: service and kitchen are really slow and appear to operate in a constant state of crisis. This appears to be true on any qiven day (Weeknights or week-ends).
Disappointing – Granted, I've never been to the Bistro's Kenmore location, but I've heard people rave about it. So I was excited to learn that one opened in Needham. What a disappointment! The service was obtrusive, very un-bistro like (after practically every bite, the server inquired "How was it?"). The food was an even bigger letdown. It was served appallingly hot (I can't imagine any restaurant in France, big or small, ever serving food at that temperature), with the food clearly having been "nuked" together with the plate (the sauce all but melted into the porcelain). We had to face a dilemma -- either wait for the food to cool off (which at those temperatures would have taken a good 20 min.) or start blowing at it in a childish fashion and waive small pieces of it in the air, hoping to cool it down at least somewhat. We were starving, so we chose the latter. Most of the time, it would still be too hot and require dowsing with ice-cold water (to prevent mouth burns). As far as I could surmise from those few bites, the meat was underseasoned and the vegetables dried out. My dining companion had soup and fish, both of which were equally lackluster.
Best French restaurant in the greater Boston area – I booked a table at Petit Robert Bistro for my wife's birthday (which happens to be on Valentine's day). This was a truly memorable experience. Our waiter was very fast and extremely polite and friendly. The food was delicious. We tasted the home made pates, lamb shank with white beans, liver and finished with a delicious fruit mousse desert. All the dishes were prepared with the same attention for detail, and the portions were perfect. This is definitely a hidden gem in the Boston suburbs that offers great French food like Brasserie Joe, but in a smaller and cosier setting. I am originally from France and this is probably one of the French restaurants around Boston that offers the best value for money and tastes just like home.
What a disappointment! – Needham's Petit Robert Bistro bears no comparison to the Petit Robert in Kenmore Square. The setting is drab, the food preparation is dreary, and the service is poor.
We ate there early in the evening and found the restaurant empty of diners but filled with staff hanging around and chatting with each other. We waited several minutes for attention from them and then had to interrupt our waitress's launch into a recital of the "specials" to ask for a drink. Even though there were two bar tenders and no customers in the bar section, it still took them nearly ten minutes to deliver our drinks -- a neat whisky and a gin martini, nothing fancy. Throughout our meal, as the restaurant half-filled, the wait staff continued to lounge around the room chatting enthusiastically with each other. One of the discussions we overhead centered around their amazement and dismay that the diners were families and middle-aged people, not the young rich people they expected! (Why?? -- it's Needham, not Beacon HIll!)
The dreary food began with a single half-sized loaf of "french" bread with a very hard crust, an interior obviously heated by microwave, and a single pat of nearly melted butter in a too-deep dish. Every spoonful of the lobster bisque contained grit. The blue cheese that topped the romaine salad was in lime-sized lumps. A very over-cooked and tasteless mixture of green beans, onions, and carrots accompanied both the vegetarian dish and the steak dish. The "poivre" sauce for the steak was about 70 % onions, 25% thin sauce, and 5% poivre and the "frites" were tasteless and cold.
I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.
Editorial Review – Needham location for wallet-friendly, dependable French bistro dishes (like Sole Meuniere and Steak Frites), solid wine list and unmissable desserts.
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