Brasserie Faux?

by Marisa Olsen


Per our usual tradition, my girlfriends and I hit the town last evening and found ourselves at Sasso and Brasserie JO, two neighborly Back Bay establishments. For the entire month of May, Brasserie JO is celebrating its 10th year anniversary with a daily array of promised fun and deals. Some festivities include a complimentary crepe station, champagne tastings and $10 entrees. Clearly curiosity got the best of us because we narrowed down on the $10 entrees (let’s be honest, it seemed like the best deal). Before we stuffed our faces with French cuisine, we had our aperitifs at the lovely cocktail lounge Sasso, where we all sipped on a delicious N. V. Zonin Prosecco Brut. After whetting our appetite, we wandered next door in hopes of a bargain and satiating meal. The space was impressive; high ceilings with commandeering columns, art deco bar, traditional French brasserie chairs and wait staff that appeared to be plucked from Les Deux Magots. After we being seated, we were immediately served fresh carrots in a tangy vinaigrette and piping hot loafs of fresh baguettes with salted butter. So far, so good. In addition to the daily specials, Brasserie JO was also offering $10 martinis throughout the month. Their martini menu was quite impressive and we chose an array: ginger martini, French cosmos and a Dirty 10 martini, to name a few. All were strong, well infused and went down well. Enough said. We were also quite impressed with the Special offerings, ranging from salmon, trout, sea bass, pork, chicken and steak. Unfortunately, they had ran out of the steak frites, so we all ordered the trout with roasted cherry tomatoes and haricots verts and the sea bass in a fennel bouillabaisse. Usually a big fan of sea bass, I was a bit disappointed in the selection. The portion was less than half of that of the trout, and lacked a lot of the flavor that the trout captured in the herb seasoning. Also, I was hoping for a stronger fennel flavor. But beggars can’t be choosers--I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt--we are talking about $10 entrees. On a more positive note, we also ordered pommes frites that were sensational. I am excited to return and order a huge portion of steak frites off the regular menu and try their $5.50 house draft Hopla brew. A demain.