2010 Restaurant Week: Pigalle

Last night, my cousin, her husband, and I had a stellar restaurant week meal at Pigalle, in the theater district.  It’s an intimate and cozy, white-tablecloth French restaurant with a few outdoor tables (although there’s not much scenery around, since it neighbors a parking lot), an elegant bar area near the entrance, and seating for maybe forty inside.  It’s classy, for sure, but relatively unpretentious.  We were nestled in one of their really comfy semi-circular booths.  Of the red wines offered by the glass, only one was not French.  I opted for a Merlot/Cabernet blend and can remember neither the label nor the region, but I enjoyed it very much.

One of the reasons why I chose Pigalle is the varied course selection on their RW menu.  While most places only offer two or three choices per course, Pigalle lets you choose from twelve appetizers, eight entrees, and six desserts.  Their portions were plentiful as well, and even I left sated — that should tell you something.

For apps: my cousin W ordered the duck liver mousse, A ordered the curried chicken wings, and I ordered the fried oysters with the lentil and tomato tart.  I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos, as the restaurant was rather dark and I didn’t want to use flash.

Massive plate of chicken wings — breading was a bit robust, but the chicken was super tender, and the spice was not overpowering:

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Duck liver mousse: my cousin liked it a lot, but wished for more toast. Lovely plating.

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Fried oyster, lentil, tomato tart, served with lemony greens and shaved parmesan. The tart was my favorite part — the oysters were too heavily breaded to shine.

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Mains: my cousin’s crispy duck dish. “Crispy” doesn’t do justice to how crisp the skin was. It was like biting into a fresh potato chip…a duck skin potato chip.

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My seafood linguine: the highlight of my night, along with the wine. I’ve been recalling that grilled squid I had in London, and while this version was not as memorable, I really enjoyed the way the natural essence of the clams infused the rest of the dish. The sauce itself was rich (butter + bacon = rich x 2) but tempered nicely by the briny notes. One of the better pasta dishes in my recent memory.

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A’s chocolate cake. Verdict: not as good as the one from Market.

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Vanilla creme brulee. Verdict: I’d wager that it was made before I ordered it, as the shell did not have that just-caramelized crackle I was hoping for. Not bad, although I think I was really hankering for something sweet to counter all the savoriness that preceded dessert. Was tempted by the cheese plate (only a +$3 supplement) — and would probably go that route if I could do it again.

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From experience, restaurant week meals can be hit or miss, and I am relieved to be able to call this one a hit, even though I wasn’t blown away. I didn’t tell my cousin or her hubby that I thought the bass was overdone (now you know! :D). The atmosphere (and wine and company) compensated for the culinary missteps, in my book. After all, isn’t that why we partly dine out — to enjoy not just food, but the place, the experience?

FYI: Pigalle has a $50 five-course summer tasting (the server told us it is usually $100). They are also serving their RW menu until the end of August.

Pigalle
75 Charles Street South
Boston, MA 02116

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