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Posted by gustav at 03:01AM, Friday, December 02nd, 2005

Brasserie Jo (restaurant review): Relatively inexpensive French food in downtown Boston, The Colonnade Hotel, 120 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116

We tried this out on a Wednesday night, and, despite initial reservations because of the frumpy, older crowd, and the loud-talking drunken businessman seated next to us, we ended up having a great meal, which totalled less than $70.

It's refreshing to find low-key fine dining that's inexpensive but satisfying. We had a quick meal, with a bottle of Chimay instead of wine. The wine-list wasn't exactly my style (all French, and mostly stuff I haven't had), but the beer selection was decent and somewhat esoteric. The food was fabulous. Service was leisurely, but once we'd placed our appetizer order (for a salmon plate -- smoked salmon with capers and chopped red onions served wrapped around a tower of creme fraiche -- which was delicious -- fresh and light), we waited less time than I would have thought possible for it to arrive at the table. I followed that up with steamed mussels, which were great -- green mussels in a nice butter and Riesling sauce, with yummy frites (these were great, but I'm still seeking the place whose fries can compare to the ones I had at dearly-departed Truc.) My companion had steak frites, with a nice herb butter, which he devoured.

The service could be more attentive, especially on a slow weeknight, and the crowd was composed of downtown business executives getting sloshed and listening to themselves talk at their inferiors, rather than well-dressed scenesters and middle-aged folks out for a nice night, as at Spire, but the price was right (most entrees we saw were under $20), and the food was really excellent. This is a good place to have in town, particularly at this location. Check it out.
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