Far removed from the jewelry-box-sized, cramped and uptight boutique enotecas, tapas bars and bistros of Tremont and Shawmut, Gaslight proves that the South End still has some tricks up its sleeve, some hidden surprises, some good times. Located in a spacious warehouse-like building with incredibly high ceilings, brick-lined walls and a rustic hardwood floor, furnished with a combination of 4-tops, booths and long communal tables the space creates a perfect environment for a chattering, even boisterous clientele to kick back and comfortably enjoy a meal. Wooden ceiling fans hang down and noiselessly move the air, preventing the stuffiness so often associated with other South End establishments. Soft lighting reflects off antique mirrors, walls lined with wine bottles, gigantic sunset windows. The mood is lively here, the atmosphere down-to-earth, the food…still Parisian! Old World made new again, only slightly Americanized French classics at affordable prices.
Shaved Beet Salade
Julienned beets heaped into an airy pile, dressed with a tart dijon, sprinkled with bits of toasted walnut and served with a dollop of creme fraiche. The earthy, mineralized, root flavor of the beet was offset beautifully by the sweet and tart mustard glaze and the oil off the toasted walnuts added a great nutty flavor to pull these two even closer together. The beets were not overcooked. They still had a great bite to them and they were accented beautifully by the crunchy walnuts which added a great textural contrast. The creme fraiche helped lift up the texture of the salad, making it lighter and diluting the harsh purple color of the beets into a more pleasant pink tint.
French onion soup
A pleasantly simple (although maybe a bit too salty for my palate) broth with hints of beef, the perfect amount of not overcooked, slimy slices of onion lurking inside and two hearty rounds of toasted baguette capped off with a crunchy blanket of melted Swiss floating on the surface. A classic left untouched.
Seared Sea Scallops
Perfectly cooked scallops slightly seared (in pork fat?) with a salty crunch of an outer coating and a sweet, fresh, creamy texture on the inside sitting on a bed of velvety smooth potato puree speckled with fresh green peas and roasted mushrooms, warm earthy and tart vinaigrette drizzled over the top. The combination of flavors and textures of these sides gave me sharp memories of my grandmother with each bite. A beautiful blend of earthy, woodsy flavors with those of the fresh marine protagonist of the dish.
A very low-maintenance and simple Americanized French favorite. Perfectly cooked (or seared – I was in the mood for rare), minimally seasoned slab of beef paired with crispy fries, a tiny garnish salad and a small piece of roasted tomato. The bearnaise was incredibly thick and creamy, not too salty, and its terragon tone gave a beautiful depth of flavor to the meat.