So far in 2008, I have been to a couple of outstanding restaurants (Taqueria El Amigo, Waltham; La Siesta, Winthrop) as well as a number of very good ones (Fasika, Somerville; Noon Hill Grill, Medfield; Apgujung, Newton, Fuddruckers, Reading), and one disappointment (Tavern at Quarry Hills, Quincy). But just when I thought that La Siesta would be tough to beat, along comes the Jasmine Bistro in Brighton Center. Simply put, the meal I had there tonight was perhaps the best I've had in the Boston area in the past 2 or 3 years, and that includes such places as Cafe Polonia in South Boston, Bridgeman's in Hull, and Angela's Cafe in East Boston.
We started with a wonderful appetizer--fried eggplant with paprika in Bell Pepper Sauce, enjoying the tasty buttered bread that the waiter (owner?) had brought to our table. The wines we ordered were very good--a Wishing Tree shiraz from Australia and a chardonnay (I think it was Angelina) from California. The entrees were pure heaven; we ordered one Hungarian dish and one French dish. The beef gulyas (cubed beef in bell pepper paprika sauce with sliced potatoes) had almost a calming, warming feel to it as I ate it, and the rich smell was so pleasant that I almost didn't want to finish the meal, lest the smell would disappear. The second entree--black forest chicken--was very rich, as we could really taste the butter in the breading of the fried chicken cutlets. The chicken was mixed with wild mushrooms and a cream sauce, and off to the side was a pyramid of basmati rice that was mixed with cumin, cardamon, and clove.
Service was quite good, with the waiter (I'm pretty sure he was also the owner) was gracious and professional, and had an old-world way about him. The old-world feeling was also felt in the overall atmosphere of the place, as the white stucco walls, antique-looking hanging lights, and abundant pictures on the walls gave it the feel of a real European bistro.
I guess the only downside is that now I have to figure out which restaurant in my top 5 dining spots on my CH home page will have to go to make room for the Jasmine Bistro. I really can't say enough about this place; I assumed it was going to be good, but not this good. If you haven't already been, make a point to get to Brighton Center to try it out.