Ooh la la, Petit Central

When you find yourself riding an escalator to get food, it’s usually not a good sign; visions of a food court nightmare come to mind. That’s hardly the case at Petit Robert Central, although you may have some trouble finding the second floor of the Downtown Crossing restaurant if you don’t know where to look. (Try looking up.) The after-work and wet-lunch office crowd will eventually know the path by heart if they have decent taste.

The recently opened incarnation of the expanding Petit Robert brand (with locations in Kenmore, the South End, Brighton and Needham) pays tribute to its French bistro roots with cocktails that lean on the Prohibition-era Paris bar scene with Sidecars and French 75s, French ingredients like Chartreuse, Lillet and Pernod as well as French Quarter New Orleans recipes. Bar manager Eric Cross emphasizes that heritage with a properly balanced selection of coquetiers (a French word thought to be the origin of “cocktail”). The beverage  menu provides backgrounds of where and when the drinks were invented.

“We want to create conversation,” Cross says. “To have people learn something about the drink. … It adds another element to going into the bar, having a drink that has some history and a cool story.”

Petit Robert Central
101 Arch St., Boston


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