French >Sandrine's Bistro
8 Holyoke St, Cambridge, MA | Directions 0213842.372695 -71.117969
Mon-Sat 11:30am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10pm
Poor service and 18% gratuity for party of 2 – This was my second time at Sandrine's - shame on me. When paying $30 for an entree, I expect certain basic service principles such as being allowed to finish our appetizers before having our entrees served. The waitor's excuse was "we're really busy tonight, so we prepared the entrees as the orders came in." I looked around and noticed maybe 10% of the tables were empty. This is a "busy" night? I wonder what the service would be like when this place is booked!!! Another thing I expect when paying $15 for a glass a wine is for the waitor to ask if I'm finished with my wine before grabbing it from the table. Overall the food quality is mediocre and certainly not what would be expected for the price. There are many other provincial french restaurants in Boston that are not as expensive, yet deliver far better service and food. The ambience of Sandrine's is very nice, but no better than other french restaurants in Boston. The presentation of food is also very nice. However, taste and service are far more important to me.
To cap the evening, the bill arrives, and I see that an 18% gratuity has been included for a party of two!!! This is a first for me folks! We're all familiar with the commonly encountered 18% for large parties, but 18% for a party of two? Now, 18% is reasonable to me for good service, but it's just plain insulting to include this on the bill while providing substandard service. Oh, and it was never mentioned by the waitor or in the menu that a gratuity would even be included on the bill. Bottomline: actions such as these make customers feel like they got burned.
I've been to nearly all the fine restaurants in the Boston area, so please trust me when I say that this place does not live up to accepted standards for fine Boston restaurants. I mention this only because it is a common practice for businesses to hire "reviewers" to leave good reviews on websites such as this one (a close friend of mine works for a search engine marketing company that does this). I sincerely believe that the good reviews left for Sandrine's had to have been purchased, they just do not jive with my experiences here. I will never go to this restaurant again.
Specializes in delightful cuisine from the Alsace region of France – This beautiful glass-enclosed restaurant nestled on Holyoke Street offers a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of busy Harvard Square. Sandrine's specializes in delightful cuisine from the Alsace region of France, a vineyard area on the border of Germany's Black Forest. Their signature dish is the irresistible tarte flambee (flammekueche), a light pizza-like baked flatbread filled with savory toppings like smoky bacon or salmon, with caramelized onions, creamy fromage blanc and asparagus. Other notable entrees include the prosciutto tartine, an open faced sandwich with fresh mozzarella, tomato and a pesto served with pitch perfect pommes frites; and the Trout Grenobloise, pan seared fish with capers, spinach and mushrooms. Wash it all down with a selection from their extensive wine list. And for dessert try the rich and decadent kougelhopf, a flowerless chocolate cake with caramel and vanilla ice cream.
Extremely Disappointing – Beginning with the hostess's cold greeting our experience never rebounded. If you like to pay for pretention then this is the place for you. The filet mignon was inedible as it was overcooked: requested medium it was served well-done and charred. The management responded with an offer for complimentary dessert, a short offer considering the whole dining experience was uncomfortable and drawn-out; in the end they did recognize that they were at fault. In general the food rested on its appearance where it did not follow up on taste. This was inline with Sandrine's in general: from the superficial gesture of leaving sparkling water at the table (and then charging you for it) to the paper tablecloths and cheap decor.
should have been better – We were able to get a table at the last minute on a weekend night during Restaurant Week. The hostess rather icily informed us that they were fully booked and reservations were required. However, the proprietress, who was standing nearby, overheard and interceded. She was very welcoming, found space and we were looking forward to a terrific evening.
Fifteen minutes after being seated, our waitress finally stopped by. She was abrupt, clearly not happy about something (Restaurant Week perhaps?) and absolutely not qualified to work in a restaurant of this level. Our menus were snatched away as we were ordering. She then leaned over and yanked the wine list from my husband's hands while he was mid-sentence ordering a wine. After taking bringing the wine, she disappeared for the remainder of the meal. Our meal was served by an assortment of other servers/bus boys. At the end of the meal, the waitress reappeared with the check, wordlessly slapped it on the table and left. Someone else picked it up to run the credit card.
The Restaurant Week menu was rather dull (seared tuna that looked pasty and very unappetizing - a diner at a nearby table sent his back - and a roasted poussin). My lobster of the day from the regular menu was significantly better (baked with a very interesting anise sauce and a wonderful roasted root vegetable melange with fresh figs).
Perhaps this is a restaurant to avoid during Restaurant Week. However, I can only rate this restaurant based on my experience during this week. We'll be back to give this place another try in the hope that we caught them on an off night.
Chef Raymond Ost sets a new bar for Boston-area French restaurants, sporting authentic Alsatian plates like flammekueche and baked escargot. – Sandrine's evokes an auberge you might find outside Strasbourg--particularly for the giant hearth oven that cooks the rich, pizza-like flammekueche. Chef Ost manages to juggle a large menu with grace, emphasizing the hearty Franco-Germanic fare of his native Alsace with some broader French influences. Making choucroute always struck us as magic, akin to spinning straw into gold, and Sandrine's is a delicate delight accompanied by strapping portions of smoked pork and sausages. The winter food is hearty fare--roasted venison, stewed duck leg on tagliatelle noodles, roasted rack of lamb encrusted with powerful mustard. Sandrine's also features several vegetarian offerings.
Photo courtesy of Sandrine's Bistro
THE FINEST FOR ALL OCCASIONS – Outstanding food and service. Very interesting menu and appetizers and entrees served as elegantly as one could ask for. The ambiance of the dining room was measured by its classic elegance, and the environment clean and refined. The quality of the food was superb, and there was a broad enough selection for palates of all tastes. Desserts were tasty and a thing of beauty to see. The service was impeccable and the servers not overbearing.
This is a great place to celebrate any special occasion;guests and hosts will never be disappointed.
Pleasantly romantic. – My wife and I suddenly found ourselve able to make a quick dinner plan when our child was off for an evening at a friend's house. Sandrine's was the closest place with an available reservation on short notice.
A rainy night, we parked in the underground lot just next door. The room was warm and romantic; the service friendly and efficient. While the food was just a shade better than "ok" and the prices a notch too high, it was still such a nice experience that we would be pleased to return if atmosphere was the primary objective.
Sandrine's so-so – The restaurant was very accommodating when it came to seating our large group. My grilled romaine lettuce salad was pretty good, but my duck entree was just so-so: it was lukewarm and the best part was the mushroom risotto underneath. For dessert I had the chocolate cake with caramel center: it was a bit heavy but delicious.
first visit to Sandrines very enjoyable – Looking to try something new, we recently dined at Sandrine's restaurant in Harvard Square. I don't speak French, and we were all both new to Alsatian cuisine, so the menu was a little confusing at first. Our waitress patiently explained everything from flammekueche (alsatian flatbread) to choucroute (sauerkraut). Our food was wonderful, we shared a proscuitto and pear flammekeuche and mussels to start, then a rack of lamb and choucroute. We forwent a bottle of wine and instead sampled some of the alsatian white wines sold by the glass and a pinot noir. my favorite was the very dry but fruity Riesling, perfect for a hot summers day. I would particularly recommend sandrine's bistro for those looking for a chic and inventive dining experience.
Very disappointing. – The best thing about this restaurant is an absolutely gorgeous fron door, and a very nice decor overall. The service was OK. The food was very very ordinary and not even close to being worth the very steep prices. The garlic roasted checked reminded me of cafeteria qaulity chicken. I am used to the fact that in expensive restaurants chicken can be prepared exceptionally well. The duck breast in the scallops and duck breast offering was hard to cut and even harder to chew, inedible. The famed chacrute, tasted very ordinary and again reminded us again of high school cafeteria quality. We couldn't believe that each appetizer cost aroung $16 and an entees hovered around $30. How does this restaurant stay in business? How does it get some good reviews? I am perplexed. Overall not worth the money or the calories.
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