REVIEW: Frenchie Boston
STYLE: Très French
DECOR: 5/5 - Chic, Parisian, and Instagrammable
VIBE: 4/5 - Unpretentious and easy. Relaxed service, beautiful people, and French-accented staff.
FOOD: 4/5 - Really great French food - traditional, but with a distinct New England touch.
SERVICE: 4/5 - Cordial, if not a little bored in a distinctly Parisian way. French accents didn't hurt, either.
PRICE: $$ - Very reasonable. Lunch for two, including two cocktails, was $50.
FINAL WORD: A must for brunch, lunch and dinner. Easily my new South End go-to to meet up with friends.
For a relatively small place (this is the South End, after all) Frenchie manages to feel at once spacious, airy and bright. The slim space starts at the just-below-street-level entrance and reads almost like a chic tunnel, bookended with lots and lots of light on either side. The entrance is framed by floor-to-celiing windows, and on the far end is a solarium with additional seating, where glass walls and a glass ceiling lined with ivy are all that stand between you and the secret gardens of the South End. In between customers can choose to perch at a vintage-looking bar that looks like it would have sat Owen Wilson in Midnight In Paris, dine in plush banquettes underneath a big neon sign reading "In Vino Veritas," or bask in the sunlight (and people watch) of the alcove of street-facing windows.
And all of this in a 48 seat restaurant.
Frenchie opened in January 2017, and in less than a year has become a staple spot for Beantown Francophiles and fans of great food and great lighting. Prior, the space housed several restaurants in alarmingly rapid succession. But, with owner Sandrine Rossi (a born-and-bred Frenchie herself), manager Loïc Le Garrec of neighboring Petit Robert Bistro and chef Alex Falconer of Josephine at the helm, Frenchie feels like it has definite staying power.
The focus of Frenchie is to provide an unpretentious alternative to sometimes overly stuffy French dining as we know it - which, according to Rossi, is only part of the true French experience, and doesn't represent day-to-day life in l'Hexagone.
Indeed, Frenchie doesn't take itself too seriously, and that leaves lots of space for humor; the drink menu has a sketch from Alice in Wonderland with the famous phrase "Drink Me," and the dessert menu is cheekily captioned "Sweet Dreams are made of this."
Speaking of the menu, it's nice and tight but there are lots of tempting options, from salads to tartines to a treasure trove of desserts. For lunchtime, the Baby Kale Salad, topped with delicata squash and pomegranate seeds, was as beautiful as it was refreshing. I ate mine accompanied with some frites nabbed from my BFF's plate. (She opted for the Fall Veggie tartine, a beautiful and hearty lunch choice.)
Baby Kale Salad ($13) and a Fall Veggie Tartine with French Fries ($12)
A few days after our first meal here, we were treated to brunch at Frenchie, where a beautiful smorgasbord of brunch choices came out - and kept coming. Everything, I mean everything was absolutely gorgeously plated and delicious, rich, and comforting. The standout was definitely the Mushroom Buckwheat Crepe ($13), and on the sweet side, the Frenchie Toast with spiced crème fraîche ($11) was an elegant and exciting twist on a classic.
Duck Hash topped with a poached egg ($16).
Frenchie Toast topped with apples and spice crème fraîche ($11)
And, it wouldn't be brunch without a little tipple, now would it? We had a rosemary-bedecked Kissing Bough, a twist on an Old Fashioned made with whiskey from local distillery Bully Boy, Queequeg Spiced Rum, cranberry and plum bitters.
There are also a whopping 32 wines by the glass available to accompany late brunch, lunch or dinner.
Above, a not--very-camera-shy Kissing Bough ($14). Below, a very rich + sexy mousse au chocolate, $7.
How gorgeous is the Ellie Cashman designed wallpaper in the back room? It happened to perfectly match my Keepsake the Label dress, and that's how I knew I was in love with Frenchie.
I could also see myself spending a significant amount of time at this beautiful bar, watching passersby in the window or spying on the open kitchen until I'm so hungry I can't stand it!
EDITOR'S NOTE: For the sake of transparency, I would like to mention that I did receive complimentary brunch on my second visit, but I obviously wouldn't have been back if the lunch on my first visit wasn't so good! This review is an honest assessment of the restaurant, food, service, staff and ambiance.