One of my favorite things to do on a sunny Sunday is to take a stroll through the SoWa Market on Harrison Avenue in Boston. After wandering for a few hours today and enjoying the SoWa Art Walk, I thought it would be great to meet up with some friends for brunch. When we finally did meet up and began the debate of where to go, the Gaslight Brasserie du Coin was first pick! While I had never been to the Boston location, I had visited the Lynnfield restaurant last year and had one of the best brunches I’ve ever had.
Now when I do brunch, I do brunch. There’s just something special about sipping champagne in the sunshine on a lazy Sunday afternoon while dining on an array of sweet and savory treats.
Our impromptu outing started off on the right note, quickly being greeted at the door and seated on the patio. Our server came over fairly quickly to greet the table and take our drink order. I of course kicked things off with a glass of champagne, while my friends opted to try their “Morning Peck” on ice. From there, things started going downhill. The first round of drinks took a fairly long time. Unfortunately I wasn’t watching the clock so I can’t be exact but I would estimate a minimum of 15 minutes for the drinks to be delivered. I do have to say that the “Morning Peck” was amazing! A delectable blend of coffee rum, espresso and orange liquor…yum!
Might I add, we sat down at 2:15pm so it wasn’t an overly busy time at the Gaslight. We placed an order immediately for a dozen oysters, their crab cocktail and an order of truffle fries while we contemplated what our entrees would be.
After another fifteen minutes had gone by, our server stopped by to take the menus off the table. As he was about to walk away, we said we were ready to order our entrees which almost appeared to surprise our server. Maybe he thought we were only having the appetizers we had ordered! So we placed an order for the Berkshire Pork Hache, Croque-Madame, and Steak & Eggs and were left to continue our conversation. Our server stopped by a few minutes later and said that our appetizers would be right out. We ordered another round of drinks, this time I chose to switch things up and order a Bellini, while one of my friends switched to a spicy Kettle One Bloody Mary.
Finally our appetizers arrived at the table and we couldn’t wait to dive in! As the dishes were being placed on the table, we saw that one of them was incorrect. A shrimp cocktail had been delivered instead of the crab dish we had ordered. The server apologized and said he would correct it immediately. I asked him for some side plates before he left the table since our oysters were now taunting us from the middle of the table and off he went. A different server came over and asked “What’s going on over here? Was your order placed wrong?” I informed him that yes, we had ordered the crab, not the shrimp, and as he left the table we again asked for some side plates.
The next thing to arrive at our table, only about three minutes later was our entrees. Yup, that’s right, still no side plates and no crab cocktail. And that’s just what you want, so much food delivered at once that your eggs will be cold. I stated that our appetizers had just arrived and we were still awaiting plates for those so we were far from ready for our entrees.
From there it got a little interesting as we could hear our server in a heated conversation on the other side of the living hedge separating the patio space. Note to the staff at Gaslight… that’s not a soundproof area. Your customers can hear your conversations over there. Though that is something service staff in almost every restaurant seem to forget sometimes. In my seventeen years of managing in the hospitality industry I find this is something all teams must be constantly reminded of. Our server came over and apologized for both the delay of our appetizers and the entrees being delivered too quickly. Mind you we were still awaiting the crab cocktail at this point. He offered a bottle of champagne to make up for our troubles which was certainly appreciated though unnecessary.
Finally things started flowing a bit better and we were able to enjoy our appetizers. The truffle fries are one of those crave worthy foods that you could just sit and eat a pile as a meal. The oysters, as always, were just plain delicious and the crab cocktail was an interesting bite. The menu reads that it has avocado and grapefruit in it. Though the consensus at our table was that the fruit was more of a clementine than a grapefruit. Appearing more orange in color and far less tart than a typical grapefruit. When our entrees arrived again we quickly dove in and shared a bite of everything. My dish was the Pork Hache which while good was a bit greasier than I would have liked. The Steak & Eggs was topped with a sweet caramelized onion sauce which just made the dish. However the star of the day was by far the Croque-Madame. This ham & cheese sandwich was a treat for the tastebuds with its bechamel and fried egg on top. You were truly able to taste each ingredient with every bite.
We rounded out our trip to the Gaslight with another rounds of beverages and an order of the chocolate beignets with creme anglaise. Our server was thoughtful to ask the kitchen to add a sixth beignet to our order so that we could each have two of the delicious little morsels of molten chocolate. Overall it was a delicious brunch, though the service was not at all what I had expected. While I enjoy a leisurely brunch, today’s experience took over two hours so we weren’t even able to make one last pass through SoWa as they had already closed. My time in the business tells me that today’s experience was most likely partially due to poor communication between our server and the kitchen. While the delay in service of both drinks and food I can only assume is because we were there just after they would have had their rush and the team was no longer on their game. No restaurant is perfect so I will certainly give the Gaslight another try as the food far outweighed the service.
Gaslight Brasserie du Coin
560 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA 02118