Sure, you could go to Paris. Some vacation days, a couple ambien: boom, you're there.
But bring a date to Paris and you'll have some mighty high expectations to deal with.
Play it safe yet still ultra-French by heading to The Merchant, a new Parisian-style brasserie now open in Downtown Crossing.
Don't be alarmed when you walk in. Unlike Paris, where wine wins, the 40-foot bar here serves 36 beers on draft (with another 24 in bottles). So get comfortable around the red leather and wood-grain accents, you'll be here awhile.
You and your date could drink and sample from the oyster bar open until 2a, which is more than capable of handling your daily brew-and-bivalve needs.
But it's the extra features — crispy duck a l'orange and pan-seared jumbo scallops by master technicians Matt Foley and Tim McQuinn (both of Craigie on Main) — that set Merchant apart.
Take The Merchant out for a test run. Make a reservation for two, order the steak frites and crispy pork pate, and have a few glasses of one of the eclectic wines on tap (it's okay to give the beer list a rest every now and again).
Tomorrow morning, your secret crepe recipe should authenticate the experience.