45 School St, Boston; (617) 227-3371
You walk up to this French restaurant in the historic old City Hall building, and you're thinking, Come on, Mine, we can't possibly afford this! ? Well, Le Cafe at Maison Robert is no greasy spoon, but this basement bistro does offer a three-course prix-fixe dinner, with reduced portions from the same menu found in the main restaurant upstairs. It's gourmet food at down-to-earth rates.
At each of two price levels, the daily menu offers a choice of appetizers, main courses, and desserts. You might start with a lobster bisque, then move on to poached fillet of sole on a bed of fennel in saffron butter, and finish with hazelnut tea cakes, all for $17. On their regular menu, the poached fillet of sole alone is $12!
Big spenders can go for the $23 tier, putting together such combinations as escargots baked in garlic, followed by roast lobster in-the-shell with lemon butter, ending with a selection of French pastries.
All of which makes Le Cafe a top Mine pick for that special night out on the town. The cafe may not be as impressive as the formal rooms upstairs, but is still very elegant indeed. Beautiful paintings adorn exposed- brick walls, and fresh flowers grace each table. It's really more romantic down here anyway. Dinner is served from 6 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. Mondays through Saturdays. Reservations are preferred.