The Ultimate: French Onion Soup
***** Petit Robert Bistro
Chef Jacky Robert’s traditional preparation begins with a rich, beefy broth—nicely salted and (this is key) not too sweet, with a hint of white wine. French-bread croutons and caramelized onions, along with a crisp-around-the-edges blanket of Swiss and Muenster cheeses, make this a five-star winner that’s also hearty enough for a meal. Not too shabby for $6.25.
468 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, 617-375-0699; 480 Columbus Ave., Boston, 617-867-0600; 45 Chapel St., Needham, 781-559-0532; petitrobertbistro.com.
Steam-Tabled [The Runners-Up]:
*** Brasserie Jo: Thick, flavorful broth, but too sweet for our tastes.
Brasserie Jo, Colonnade Hotel, 120 Huntington Ave., Boston, 617-425-3240, brasseriejoboston.com
** Gaslight: Nice cheesy croutons; watery, underseasoned broth.
Gaslight, 560 Harrison Ave., Boston, 617-422-0224, gaslight560.com