The lightning-fast rehab of the South End's former Rouge space results in a generic, central-casting idea of a slightly fancy Parisian bistro: red leatherette bench seating, mirrors, a brass rail, a few framed prints. I'm surprised to find nearly every seat -- sidewalk patio, bar, dining room -- full on a hot weeknight when the AC isn't working. FOH staff is clearly humping to keep up, a bit harried and brusque and sweating; the kitchen is likewise not quite in all-cylinders mode. We wait five minutes after being seated to be acknowledged, and perhaps 25 minutes between apps and entrees. Typical shakedown-cruise stuff.
The food: soupe a l’onion gratiné (excellent, with a perfectly rich beef stock), an asparagus Vichyssoise (superb, just the thing on this steamy night), a salad of lentils du Puy, frisee, and honeydew-like Cavaillon melon (not very good, rather dull), and grilled bluefish with cream of corn, bacon, and wax beans (excellent). Wine, a very nice white Cotes du Rhone for about $28 -- an ice bucket or a sleeve would have been welcome on that particular evening. Dessert, one oversized profiterole, quite nice. About $75 inclusive.
An encouraging first visit, with food quite up to the level of the Kenmore original, of which I am a fan. A bargain relative to the neighborhood. I hope that the AC is working next time, and that service is a little smoother.