Brasserie Jo

June 05 2005 - 12:41 AM

I’ve been to at least a half dozen different Lettuce Entertain You restaurants and I must say, I’ve never had a bad meal, execpt for Maggiano’s, which isn’t necessarily bad but inflatable slide extremely glutonus and in my opinion a “chain” restuarant, which I don’t do.  No matter which one it is, the atmosphere is always enjoyable, the service always helpful and the meal, always good.  Not great.  I’d never say great, but then again I haven’t been to Tru or Everest.

I’ve always thought of them as a stepping stone for people who are unfamiliar with or scared of ethnic food.  That’s why when I was charged with picking a restaurant for a group of ladies in their 50’s from Milwaukee I picked Brasserie Jo.  It had been some years since I had been there and I must say, it was pretty good.  It definately exceeded my expectations and I wish I could have sampled more on the menu but my group from Milwaukee that was staying for the weekend was in sticker shock and declined any appetizers to start with.
So, on to the main meal.  I ordered the special – Sea Bass in a Pistu or Pesto sauce with roasted tomatoes, spinich and leaks.  It was presented to me and I initially was in  complete dissapointment, it came with the skin on.  I immediately thought that I couldn’t eat it but decided to go for it as was totally surprised.  It wasn’t  fishy at all, like the fish skin’s I’ve tasted in Japanese cooking.  It was crispy and salty and tasted marvelous.
I also sampled the Salmon with spinich and fennel in a Riseling broth – which was also very light and delicious.  The potato Gnocchi  in a blue cheese sauce was decadent but a small enough portion not to be overbearing.  Since we skipped the appetizers we definitley had room for dessert so the chocolate Porfiteroles were no question, smothered in hot chocolate – need I say more?

The one lactose intollerant person in the group lucked out with the house-made peach sorbet, which I think was probably better than the Porfitterols.  The peach flavor jumpers for sale was strong and rich.  I recommend it because I had been buying Haagen-Dazs peach sorbet lately but this was beyond better, obviously.

Of course with all great Lettuce marketing Brassiere Jo has different “fun” nights, one, which I might want to try, is that you can bring your dog in the summer when dining on the patio.  Your pet gets a free Steak Tar-Tar and dog biscuit.  Ridiculous but fun.  I can’t wait to see Mr. Shorty Pants eating his Steak Tar-Tar.

Brasserie Joe
59 W. Hubbard St.