Oh my guuuddd it was freezing in Boston. I had already spent the best part of 2 months in the States and thought I had acclimatised to the cold winter weather. But no, Boston plunged me into new depths of frozen despair. The first two days of my stay in Boston were most spent in my hotel room or quickly running across the road to the nearby shopping mall for convenience food and Starbucks coffee.
So far, not so good. Luckily my hotel, The Colonnade, probably noticing all of the left over Subway wrappers invited me to sample the menu at their in-house restaurant, Brasserie Jo. I couldn’t have been more pleased. I didn’t have to leave the hotel and I had a good, freshly prepared meal to look forward to! I had also spent two months in the States so the thought of French cuisine also appeal to my European tastebuds.
Our waiter introduced himself with a basket of bread in one hand and a beautifully seared scallop in the other. Talk about making a good first impression! The appetiser was a wonderful introduction to Brasserie Jo’s food. The fish, in particular, was fantastic and unbelievably fresh. Due to the fact I was in Boston I had to order the clam chowder. Now I know chowder is kind of originally from France but for me it will always be associated with Boston, mostly because of my favourite Simpsons episode. So what a great place to try clam chowder (or is it chowda!) for the first time, in a French restaurant in Boston. I wasn’t disappointed, it was perfect for a cold winter’s evening. I couldn’t finish all of it because like all food in the States, the portion was huge. By the way it is hard to make clam chowder look appetising in a photo. You will have to take my word for it!
My partner in crime ordered the jumbo shrimp cocktail which came with a side of horseradish and tomato salsa. He had a big grim on his face so I’m guessing he enjoyed it. When I finally got to sample his starter (or should I saw wrestle the fork out of has hand) the fresh shrimps and the heat from the horseradish really were a winning combination. No wonder he looked so happy.
The atmosphere in the restaurant was pretty relaxed. The majority of the patrons, I would say, were local businessmen and women with a smattering of hotel guests and locals. Despite the freezing weather many people had decided to stay out for dinner, not something you would usually find back in London. The Bostonians are a tough bunch!
For the main course I ordered the braised lamb shank with cous cous, currants and winter vegetables. The lamb was cooked perfectly and fell easily away from the bone. It was more Moroccan flavours than French but what do I care? It was delicious.
The other half had a New York Strip steak which again was not particularly French. It didn’t help that he asked the waiter to switch the Pommes Gratin for good ol’ American fries. I must say, I ate a lot of steak over the course of my trip to the States and this one was a particular highlight. The peppercorn crust gave the flavour real depth.
In between the main course and dessert I decided to walk off a little of the food and have a peak at Brasserie Jo’s private dining space. Tucked away in the coroner of the restaurant the space would be great for a business meeting or after work drinks / dinner reception.
I’m glad I took a break after my lamb course because what was to follow can only be described as a dessert extravaganza (this is a good thing.) Our waiter had warned us that they would prepare a selection of desserts from the menu. A block of wood was duly delivered with practically every dessert on the menu but in miniature form. The flavour, however, was anything but miniature. Personal favourites included the créme brulée and the lemon tart. I felt bad when the table next to us ask for the same selection of desserts only to be told it was only for us. I offered them a profiterole as an apology.
My lasting impression of Brasserie Jo was the quality of the service and the food. The French theme might not have been as consistent throughout the menu as it was throughout the restaurant’s decor but it didn’t matter. I’ve been to many a restaurant in France and haven’t yet experienced the same level of service or quality of food.
Practically Perfect PA received complimentary dinner at Brasserie Jo. Our opinions are entirely our own.