The Buzz: Gaslight

Welcome to The Buzz, a new feature where we look at what the Internet is saying about brand new restaurants. It’s too early for a review, but when has that ever stopped anyone? This week we’re taking a look at Gaslight, which opened last Thursday.

Judging by this blog’s statistics, Gaslight is Boston’s most anticipated restaurant in quite some time. It’s no wonder, really. The Aquitaine Group is one of the city’s most successful restaurant groups and bistros have always been what they do best. The prices are reasonable (entrees top out at $19.50) and the space is both gorgeous and conveniently positioned on Harrison Ave, which, if you believe the hype, is totally the next Washington Street. The internet is going nuts about Gaslight. Let’s see what they’re saying, shall we?

The Good: Chowhounder hsquare2southend, who has the distinction of being the first person to weigh in on Gaslight, gave it an almost-rave: “The menu has nice variety, and is perfect for all-day and late-night dining, with several sandwich items (burger, croque-monsieur) that looked yummy. … The steak frites is the priciest entree on the menu, at $19.50. I am not even a regular fan of steak frites, but this one was delicious. It can be ordered with butter or bernaise sauce. I chose the latter, which was out of this world.” ‘Hounder litchick was inclined to agree: “Overall impression: I loved it. The aesthetic is great … It feels like a fancier place than the prices would have you expect, which is really quite a nice way to dine – you feel like you’re really getting a deal. The price point is a welcome addition to the neighborhood and the Boston dining scene in general, and if they hold steady without raising the rates, I can see this place being packed all the time. They were full to the gills last night, but the din was minimal, which I appreciated. I feel like this can be a great neighborhood joint, and I expect to go back often.” Perhaps our favorite rave comes from Yelp’s Deepa C.: “You know those girls, 8 feet tall, with long blond hair, perfect make up, Manolo’s and that pencil skirt from Turtle you know you could never afford nor fit into. It took a lot of time to look like that, money, research and intuition. And inherent class. All that is embodied into Gaslight.”

The Bad: Although reception has been overwhelmingly positive overall, Gaslight does have some detractors. The Missus of On Common Ground reported a lot of first week jitters that she hopes will improve: “The sound in the place was AWFUL …I have to question the “freshness” of some of the food. I ordered the beet salad as a starter. The beets tasted “tinny” and old. As though they had maybe been prepped and roasted the day before… Which, quite frankly, is unacceptable.” Many are less than pleased with the entirely en Français menu. Blogger pahkcah02 advises diners: “Better brush up on your Francais if you’re planning to dine here. While some of the menu offerings are pretty simple to figure out (eg: Poulet Rotisserie), it would be a lot more helpful if they described the meals in English.” Finally, in what might be a sign of trouble for the restaurant in a few months, the Globe’s Devra First wrote a post on Dishing calling Gaslight “a mash-up of just about every French cliche there is” and complaining of onion soup with a giant lump of cheese floating beneath the bread, threatening to choke a diner with its chewy strands; duck confit that was dry and suspiciously way-too-hot (microwave?); frites that were good in that they looked and tasted exactly like McDonald’s; skate in gloppy sauce that resembled airplane food.”

The Balthazar Comparisons: When we’re in New York, we have breakfast at Balthazar fairly frequently. Although many of Balthazar’s patrons are now tourists, it was not too long ago one of New York’s hottest restaurants and played a major role in making American takes on French brasseries so incredibly popular. Take a second. Check out Balthazar’s website. Now look at the site for Gaslight. Eerie, right? It’s no surprise that Gaslight has been getting its fair share of Balthazar comparisons. Yelper JC remarks that “If you have been to Balthazar in NYC, you will love Gaslight a lot. … Gaslight is a Balthazar of Boston.” Chowhounder jpeso is a bit more skeptical: “The place looks nice. But doesnt it look like a complete replica of Pastis, Balthazar, Schillers? It does to me down to the uniforms too. I know that those place are mere replicas of parisian classics as well, but perhaps a slightly new take on it.”

Gaslight [MenuPages]
Gaslight [Official Site]

The Buzz: Gaslight