As part of our "Farewell to Boston Dining Tour", my wife and I headed to Troquet on Friday night. Since moving in August, Troquet has been a favorite and we've eaten there 3 times over the past 6 months. The food is good, the wine is even better, the cheese plate is superb... what's not to like?
Well, it's not that there's anything to dislike at Troquet... but after eating there three times, it seems like each visit was exactly the same. Friday's visit had a scary deja vu feeling to me. We were seated by the same hostest we had 4 or so months ago... at the same table. She gave us the same line "it's my only katy-corner deuece" in a charming British accent. We were introduced to the same server. It was creepy, like a complete re-run of our prior visit. Upon opening the menu it became apparent... I may be wrong, but I didn't notice one change to the menu. The actual menu itself (the paper) looked like it was about 6 months old too... it was kind of ratty. And the papers for the winelist were haphazardly thrown into the menu, they were about 10% secured, making it impossible to flip through, I had to take the pages out myself.
My wife and I decided to start off with a cheese course. Our server brought over the cheese tray.. she was visably nervous or shaken, I'm not sure why. Previously the manager had always presented the cheese tray, he was tied up all night, maybe she just wasn't used to it. Her descriptions were OK, but you could tell she wasn't comfortable. We chose 6 cheeses which she shakily cut for us. The whole transation was a bit odd. Either way, the cheeses were lovely, we were presented a plate with apples, nuts, etc., but no toast. After about 5 minutes we asked our waitress about the toast and she said it was coming. It should've come out with the cheese accompaniments, not sure why it didn't. A couple of minutes later our waitress let us know that they'd burnt the toast and had more coming for us. These things happen, but the wait between cheese and toast was well over 10 minutes.
Along with the chese, we ordered some wine. My wife got a glass of white that was decent, not great. I went with a flight of Italian reds that was sensational. They showed a great contrast of bold to understated to friuty. There were 4 in all, billed as being as being 2 ounce pours, but they were closer to 3 ounce. For $17, I can't say enough about how much of a value this was.
For our entrees, my wife had the Langostin (sp?) appetizer, which was ok, but nothing to write home about. I was disappointed to see that the Langostin was deep fried, I was hoping for a presentation with a fully cooked rustacean. The flavor was a bit lacking too... it wasn't bad, just not great. My main was fantastic. I had the rabbit sous vide. The rabbit came wrapped in bacon, served over a very well done green risotto. Great flavor combinations, perfectly cooked rabbit, this is the kind of food I've come to expect from Troquet.
But, at appetizers near $20 and entrees near $40, I think Troquet needs to polish up a bit. Aside from the old, ratty menus, the padding on our table had a huge crack in it that made it look like a fault line under the table cloth. When I tried to use the restroom in the dining room it was occupied so I was pointed in the direction of the WC on the first floor. The floor of the bathroom there was downright nasty... something I'd expect to see in a cheap bar, but not in a nice restaurant. And our server being flustered all night just kind of accentuated what I've thought all along.... Troquet nails the food and wine. Probably as well if not better than anyone in Boston. But it just needs some brushing up. Do something new with the menu. Serve food (bar food?) downstairs. Don't send out a nasty, stained old menu. Up the ante a bit with the service. At these prices, details like these need to be accounted for in my opinion. If appetizers were closer to $10 and entrees around $20 I could understand. But fine dining prices carry with them fine dining service and attention to detail. This could explain why I've never seen the dining room full after 8pm. Yes, the theater crowd clears out at that time, but that's prime-time for locals to do their fine dining on a Friday night. I'll be back on the merits of the food and wine along, but a little sprucing up would go a long way.