When Gaslight closed in late November after its lease expired, fans of the lively French restaurant mourned the end of its 15-year run. On May 6, a new concept will take its place — and it bears a striking resemblance to its predecessor.
Brasserie will open in the former Gaslight location at 560 Harrison Ave., bringing French classics back to this South End locale. Leading the concept is owner Jeff Gates, formerly of the Aquitaine Group, which runs Aquitaine and Metropolis Cafe. The Aquitaine Group’s portfolio used to include Gaslight and Cinquecento, the latter of which shuttered after a water main break caused roughly $1 million in damage to the restaurant.
“My partners and I had several restaurants in the South End together, and then COVID-19 and the water main break on Harrison Avenue forced us to take a look at how we were doing things, and to reorganize how we were running our company and how our company was partitioned,” Gates told Boston.com. “We decided it would be best if they focused on the three concepts that they owned together — Aquitaine in Boston, Aquitaine in Chestnut Hill, and Metropolis Cafe — and I would take over the concepts here in the South End over on Harrison Avenue: the former Cinquecento space and the former Gaslight space.”
Gates went on to form the SoWa Dining Group, which, in addition to Brasserie, will include a late summer/early fall opening of Roma 500 in the former Cinquecento space, as well as Pho on Thayer, which will open next year.
The interior of Brasserie has remained largely unchanged from its Gaslight days, aside from cosmetic touch-ups like refurnishing the floor and upgrading some of the furniture. The dining room will offer 140 seats, plus high-top table seating in the bar area and a 60-seat patio.
In the kitchen, chef Scott Hebert (Troquet on South) put together a menu featuring time-honored French fare: steak tartare, coq au vin, duck a l’orange, and ratatouille. Diners will find a large selection of seafood, too, including yellowfish tuna crudo, grilled Spanish octopus, Faroe Island salmon, a half lobster tail, and a playful Maine lobster croissant dressed up with celery, tarragon, and chives. Here for the “Plate of the Day?” Stop by on Wednesday for the Dover sole grenobloise, or pop in on Saturday for the short rib bourguignon.
The wine list will focus on biodynamic and organic options, while cocktails include drinks like mezcal-based The Green Wave and Lane in the Poppy Fields, a vodka drink infused with watermelon and Thai chili. Mocktails and beer will also be available.
To start, Brasserie will be open for dinner Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 5 to 11 p.m. Gates said a weekend brunch service will follow in the coming weeks.
“I’m excited to get back to my neighbors, see all my regulars, and be that neighborhood gathering space that we’ve always been,” he said. “A lot of my regular guests are my family, so I miss my family. I’m looking forward to being part of the reason that people come to Boston.”
After a year of experiencing upheaval within the restaurant industry, including the loss of both Gaslight and Cinquecento, Gates said that he has “gotten off easy.”
“It’s hard for me to talk about what I’ve lost when there are people who have lost so much more than me,” he said. “I’m grateful for what I have had left. I’m grateful I didn’t lose any of the things that are important to me, I’m grateful to get my life back, and I’m grateful to get back to my staff and my guests.”
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