In Boston’s South End is Gaslight, perhaps extra trendy because it’s on a stretch with sophisticated artsy stores, and yet it’s a stone’s throw from the eyesore that is I-93. Called Boston’s best brunch in 2012, we arrived with high hopes. The restaurant was quite full when we arrived for our 12:30 PM reservation on a Sunday – Gaslight might be one of the few places that accept Sunday brunch reservations for small parties. We weren’t the only one waiting. After about 15 minutes, we were seated at a small round bistro table for two. It was obvious this is a popular Sunday brunch spot. All around us, booths meant for parties of four were stuffed with five people. Long communal tables seated multiple parties, tastefully separated by candle holders. Wine bottles adorned the white subway tiled walls. Dark red velvet curtains hung from the ceiling, as if they could potentially divide the restaurant into smaller spaces. They were left open however, allowing the hubbub of gabby diners to fill the restaurant.
I ordered the crepes Parisienne. It was tasty, with ham and lots of cheese, topped with a fried egg and surrounded by a thick mornay sauce. I like my egg yolks more done than most people, and that’s how it was. Having watched many episodes of MasterChef however, I could picture Gordon Ramsay frowning, expecting a “perfect yolk” to be a bit runny, letting it ooze over the crepe.
To accompany my crepe, I also ordered the French onion soup. At first, it was delivered sans spoon. When someone (a busboy? It was certainly not our server) finally gave me a spoon, it was dirty. Finally, after receiving a clean spoon, I was able to enjoy the delightful soup. It had a great soup-to-cheese-and-bread ratio, and lots of onions, with hints of wine.
My boyfriend’s spinach and feta omelet however, was a huge disappointment. There was not nearly enough feta to balance the spinach. Slices of poached pear seemed out of place beside the very average shoestring fries. Overall, the dish was sorely under-seasoned. My boyfriend had to add a lot of pepper and hot sauce to the omelet, just to make it the least bit palatable. “Would you like to try some?” he asked me. Short answer: “no”. I’d seen enough. We could have executed this dish at home with far more flair.
Luckily, my boyfriend’s vanilla French toast saved his meal from utter failure. Thick, eggy, sweet bread topped with apple caramel was yummy and not too heavy.
Service at Gaslight is very much European. After you get your food, don’t expect your server to show up all that much. But, that’s probably true of most busy brunch places. There are some interesting drinks on the menu, but we stuck with coffee – it turned out to be quite dark.
Final Word: Go to Gaslight for the ambiance, not the food. It’s a trendy, bustling place to get together with some friends, and feel like you’re part of the artsy crowd. Like some art, Gaslight’s food is not always well executed.