Barbara and I just got back from our first time at Gaslight Brasserie du Coin, and it won’t be our last. Mostly excellent food, excellent service, and free parking — in the South End! — what more could one ask for?

Cheaper prices, I suppose. Gaslight is definitely on the pricey side… but no more so than any other first-rate restaurant in Boston.

We arrived 35 minutes before our reservation time and were seated immediately. The restaurant has a very French ambiance. Though surprisingly large, it immediately feels welcoming. Our server, Lily, was both friendly and professional — just the right combination. It was (surprisingly) not too noisy, considering that a group of 14 arrived halfway through our dinner to sit at the next table. Many reviewers have reported that Gaslight is too loud, so maybe we were just lucky. Or maybe it was because we were there on a Tuesday.

Barbara started with a shaved beet salad, which she found a bit stronger than she likes, partly because the beets were raw and partly because the dressing contained a lot of horseradish. Not being that much of a beet fan, I can’t comment. But I started with a first-rate French onion soup, unquestionably the best I have had in years. It was rich and hearty, probably because it contained some shredded truffled short ribs.

For our entrees, Barbara ordered steak frites medium rare, and I ordered duck confit with roasted garlic potatoes and an interesting salad. The steak turned out to be rare, not medium rare; our server graciously agreed, whisked it away, and returned in a couple of minutes with the steak appropriately unrarefied. My duck was great, as were the accompaniments. We also ordered a side of haricots verts to share; they were excellent too. While portions were on the small side, we had more than enough to eat, unlike some of the Open Table reviewers.

I ordered the crème brulée for dessert. It was perfectly prepared, though the crust was cold and they were out of the promised fresh berries that were supposed to accompany it. The server compensated by providing a lovely disk of candied cherries, figs, and kumquats. My dessert was also accompanied by a well-made double espresso.

The whole thing came to $154 including wine, tax, and tip. As I say, not cheap — but not outrageous either. By the way, that free parking is in a supervised parking lot.

Categories: Dorchester/Boston, Food & Restaurants