My companion and I went to dinner at Sandrine's last night at 7 PM as my one shot at Restaurant Week's offerings.
I started out the lobster gazpacho, she had the mesclun salad with vinaigrette. Both were fairly good. The cup of tomato-based gazpacho definitely had a lobster taste, but there were not any sizable chunks of lobster. It also had a hint of spiciness that lingered after each spoonful. Sprinkled with tiny bits of crunchy something, a cold soup was a good way to start off the meal. Incidentally, while perhaps a bit gauche, the bread dipped in the soup tasted incredible. Heh, I'm no Miss Manners. The salad was delicious as well. Lightly dressed with an unremarkable but serviceable vinaigrette, the mesclun greens and 1/2 tomatoes (somewhere between tiny plum tomatoes and giant cherry tomatoes) were complemented by a sizable portion of gorgonzola and mixed nuts (walnuts and maybe pecans, but it may have been only walnuts).
For the main course, the options were the catch of the day and the garlic chicken served with frites. When we arrived, they had 6 orders left of baked bread crumb crusted cod served atop summer vegetables and bits of orzo, complemented by a wonderful somewhat thick browned sauce (sorry, cannot remember what exactly it was). I ordered this and my companion ordered the baked chicken so that we could try both dishes. I thought the cod dish was well prepared, with the corn kernels, peppers, and other vegetables, combined with the orzo, complementing each bite of flaky crusted cod perfectly. Either the sauce or the fish was a little salty, but I seem to have a high sensitivity for salt as I rarely add salt when cooking at home. The sauce made the dish IMHO, too bad I can't describe it too well. The chicken was noticeable mostly due to the crispy garlicky skin - but then again that's always my favorite part. As usual, the most flavorful part of the 1/2 bird was the thigh and leg portions, as compared to the drier wing and breast. The brownish butter & garlic glaze that had pooled underneath the chicken worked wonders on the drier pieces of the breast when applied liberally. The best part of this dish? The frites. I can imagine the steak frites dish would be perfect here. The somewhat-thicker-than-shoestring fries were perfectly salted, requiring absolutely no additional seasoning or condiments. I think I ate more of those off her plate than anything else we ate. What can I say, I'm classy like that.
The desert held no options (well, except not to eat one I guess) - a Grande Marnier chocolate cake was very dense. With a bit of spoon work, we each quickly made our way through our own inch and a half thick slice (maybe 4 inches long too) of rich deliciousness. The sweet sauce sprinkled on top and slightly pooled to the side was a great addition as well. A 1/2 scoop of vanilla ice cream would have complemented this perfectly, but I had no complaints.
Overall this evening was a success. The atmosphere was wonderful - I love the bar and open kitchen. The service was on the better side than just acceptable albeit a bit slow at times (we had to ask for our own bread) between courses. Is this the best French Bistro the Boston area has to offer? Well, my mind isn't made up yet, so in the interest of chowhounds everywhere, I will keep looking and eating. But I am likely to return to Sandrine's in the future to try the other courses.
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