Thursday, March 19, 2009

EventBite: Food Blogger Dinner at Petit Robert Bistro

The last three weeks have been a whirlwind of schoolwork, internship searching, and some pretty awesome food blogger events, so I have some catching up to do! Today's post is about the first food blogger dinner that I attended. It was at the newest Petit Robert Bistro location, which is in Needham. (Disclaimer: As this was a special event, I received free food. I'll of course review the food honestly, but keep in mind that this wasn't a typical dinner experience.)

Just like the first two locations (Kenmore Square and Columbus Ave), the Needham Petit Robert Bistro has a distinctive mini Eiffel Tower out front. When you walk inside, you come to the bar area first - a cozy, welcoming bar that had a decent crowd despite the draft that the curtained vestibule couldn't keep out. Beyond the bar, Petit Robert Bistro is long and narrow, decorated with Eiffel Tower themed art and large dark wood shelves full of wine bottles. It was a chilly Tuesday night, and nearly every table was full.

Other food bloggers in attendance were Jennifer of Palate to Pen, Chelsee and Susie of We Are Not Martha, and JJ from Cuisine En Locale. JJ's friend Melina, a photographer, also came to the dinner, and our wonderful hostess was Chris Lyons, who does PR for a bunch of restaurants around Boston.

We started out with plenty of wine and delicious bread (which is trucked in all the way from Montreal.) The bread had a nice light crust on the outside and a perfectly soft inside.

For appetizers, we got a whole table full of dishes that were very French, and I was too picky to try most of them, but here are some photos:
Trio of Homemade Patés with Condiments - I don't eat pate, but the others really liked these.

Green and Red Vegetable Paté, Basil Oil and Tomato Concassé - Same as above.

Moules Marinières - These were great.

Old Fashion Fish Quenelle, Lobster Sauce - The French version of gefilte fish. Not my thing (I'm of the gefilte-hating minority of Jews) but the lobster sauce tasted great on the bread! Others at the table described the quenelle as very rich.

For the main course, I went the simple route and ordered the Steak Frites, a generous portion of steak with a mountain of fries. It comes with a choice of bordelaise, bearnaise, or poivre sauce; I chose bordelaise. The skirt steak had a hint of spice and a lot of juiciness, and the fries were reminicent of McDonald's (and I mean this in a good way) - thin, floppy, and delightfully salty.

Other entrees on the menu included venison with blueberries and foie gras, calf's liver sauteed with carmelized onions and bacon, and pan-seared sweetbreads in a creamy leek-mustard sauce. These wintery items are on the way out though; a new spring menu is on the way.

There's really nothing to say about dessert except that it was spectacular and decadent, so I'll just post the photos. I didn't manage to get a picture of my favorite, the mousse au chocolat with a langue de chat cookie, but here are the rest of the desserts that we devoured:
Crème Caramel with Palmier

Five French Cookies

One Giant Profiterole with Vanilla Ice Cream and Fudge Sauce

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

It was nice to get out to Needham, not a typical food destination for me. I haven't been to other locations of Petit Robert yet, so I'm not sure how this one compares to its older siblings, but the Tuesday night crowd was a good sign for this location. The menu is ambitiously French, and even if you're picky about French food like I am, you'll certainly be pleased with the dessert selection. As far as the main course goes, there are a few classic entrees, like steak frites and coq au vin, that'll satisfy almost anyone. If you do like French food, you'll find plenty of authentic gems at Petit Robert Bistro.

Petit Robert Bistro on Urbanspoon
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