Monday, January 30, 2006

Review of Les Zygomates, Boston

Last week, we ate at Les Zygomates, utilizing a rare childcare
opportunity to go to a definitely non-child oriented restaurant. I
had heard it recommended from more than one source and given that I
enjoy French food, I was eager to try it. Further, the chef/owner had
worked at the now-closed Maison Robert, which I was quite fond of.
(Side note: I was pleased to see that one of the Robert's, of the same
family as the now-closed Maison Robert, has opened a bistro in
Kenmore, Petit Robert Bistro)

Les Zygomates is in Boston, near South Station, which means driving to it is a
bit of pain, but close to the T. Dining on a weekday they weren't
particularly busy, but were by no means empty. They had a delicious
sounding and not unreasonably priced ($29) Prix Fixe menu, so we
ordered off of that. I had to try the Foie Gras Terrine appetizer of
the main menu as well, however. From the Prix Fixe menu, I selected a
feta salad, chicken stuffed with goat chese and for dessert, chocolate
mousse. I went in with fairly high expectations, and it didn't
disappoint, but nor did it exceed those expectations.

The foie gras terrine was served cold, but it seemed it had just come
out of the fridge. As a result, the flavor was rather muted. We
opted to let it warm up a bit more, which certainly helped, but I
think the whole experience would have been improved had it been not
quite so chilled. On the positive side, the portion was quite
sizeable, which made sharing the appetizer much more reasonable.
Sharing high-priced appetizers is often an exercise requiring smaller
utensils than those provided. However, this was not the case here.
It turns out, this set the tone for the whole meal. Every dish was a
rather generous portion, with very good, though perhaps muted flavor. The
salad was quite good, and while I wished it had more peppers, it
avoided letting the feta be overpowering or absent. The chicken was
the most flavorful of the dishes, without the chicken or goat cheese
dominating. One of my dining companions also had the chicken and
found the goat cheese a bit strong, so perhaps it was me, as I like
the goat cheese flavor a lot. (Side note: If you know where to get a
really good goat cheese souffle in Boston, let me know. I had one at
Maison Robert that I'd love to find something similar to) The mousse
was also very good, a little sweeter than my preference, but

I worry that the overall tone of this review might leave a luke warm
impression. Les Zygomates is very good. I simply went in expecting a
great deal and that is difficult to counter. The ambiance of the
restaurant is very nice and the service was very good though my one of
my fellow diners wasn't too thrilled with the three of us being
referred to as "you guys" by our waiter, since I was the only guy. I
think the term has become rather gender neutral, but they'd probably
do better to stay on the other side of the formality/informality line.

Overall, a very good experience, but it's no replacement for Maison
Robert. I'd go back, and I'm interested in trying their lunch prix
fixe menu, but I'm more likely to go back to Tivoli's Bistro next time I am in the mood for French food and have childcare
at hand.

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