Boston >Food & Dining > L'Espalier--RELOCATED
30 Gloucester St, Boston, MA | Directions 0211542.349506 -71.084448
Neighborhoods: Back Bay, Back Bay West
Impress with upscale, New England-French sophistication – One of Boston's most storied establishments for immaculate, no-holds-barred high-end dining at its former location on Gloucester Street, L'Espalier mesmerizes diners anew in its second location in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Chef Frank McClelland ringeads everything from "seasonal degustations" to prix-fixe lunches, all sporting fresh and luxurious local ingredients. The cheese program, led by Louis Risoli, is unparalleled in the city and is not to be missed be anyone who can remotely tolerate lactose. The lounge-like, cushy-chaired salon is an ideal perch to look out onto the street with a drink, a plateful of avant-garde hors d'ouevres and overarching service.
Above and beyond service, excellent food – My girlfriend and I went went to L'Espalier for Restaurant Week. We had to change our reservation from Friday to Saturday - however, we did not realize that they did not do Restaurant Week on Saturday nights! In this uncomfortable position, we considered leaving (we're both students), but I mentioned to Nicholas, our waiter, our situation, and he said he would love to be able to work something out. He disappeared while we considered our options from the menu, but decided it wasn't worth it to bring it down to our price range. When he came back, however, he had spoken with the chefs and had arranged for us to select from the Restaurant Week menu! We were so relieved to have been spared the awkwardness of our misunderstanding, and the food was well worth it.
We had the vidalia onion soup and the salmon, both incredible. The salmon was cooked absolutely perfectly, with a delicious crust on the exterior and tender, mouth-pleasing interior. We substituted the chocolate souffle for dessert - excellent, and the black pepper ice cream accompaniment was simply amazing.
The food was excellent, but really it was Nicholas's level of service and personal touch that will make this restaurant experience memorable for a long time.
Nothing short of Amazing – L'Espalier lived up to our expectations with its original, modern French cuisine, beautiful dining room and fantastic service. As far as the food goes, it was nothing short of amazing and it was obvious that astonishing amounts of effort went into making every detail of every dish absolutely perfect. Not knowing too, too much about wine, we could not speak to the wine list beyond that it was extensive (and expensive), though the wine we did have was quite good. I can say that being dirty martini faithfuls, the bartender poured us some of the best we've ever had. Just one more thing that speaks to the overall level of excellence.
All around, it is everything you would expect from a restaurant of this caliber and while I would not call it the best I have ever been to, it is certainly in the conversation. By far the best I have been to in Boston.
Death By L'Espalier! – Hands down best restaurant I've been to in Boston. Every single detail was absolutely perfect. From the staff to the food to the ambiance, I have only wonderful and delicious memories here. The first time we went was the night my fiance proposed. The staff was waiting for us and brought us to this delightful little table by the window. There is such an understated elegance there! While I consider myself a foodie-in-training, I have to admit that I don't know a whole lot about wine. Still, both the waiter and the sommelier were so caring and considerate and not at all snobby or pretentious. And though I was almost too excited from the proposal to eat, we had a magical night there.
The second time we went there was when my parents came to visit from Miami. As true foodies, I wanted them to experience L'Espalier and truly enjoy all it has to offer. They were beside themselves! Our meal there just might have been the best they have ever had. The food was unbelievable. And, once again, the staff was superb. Not realizing that they would be going to such an elegant restaurant, my parents did not pack proper clothing but we called and asked and they were very welcoming and accomidating. It was a night that we will always remember and often talk about.
I believe that there are few places like L'Espalier. Yes, it's very expensive but if you want to celebrate a special night, you will not be disappointed here. The absolute best!
I'm sad that they are moving into a big hotel chain. Granted, it's a nice hotel, but there is something to be said for the ambiance of the current location. It feels like eating at home. Are you sure, L'Espalier???
Phenomenal meal, phenomenal service – I had long heard good things about L'Espalier but had yet to go there, in part because I do not love French food. We started with cocktails, which were excellent -- I had the French Kiss Martini. We then ordered the vegetarian tasting menu with wine pairings. Each course was fantastic, as were the wine pairings. My husband is a meat eater, so I was surprised that he enjoyed it as much as he did. The service was excellent as well. This was definitely one of the best meals I've eaten.
Best restaurant in Boston, bar none – Anyone who tells you this place isn't absolutely fantastic has no taste. The food is perfection, the waiters are knowledgeable and attentive, and the dining rooms are absolutely beautiful. You will leave feeling like a king (or queen). Make sure to try a cheese plate - they have excellent cheeses, and the watier will be able to tell you all about them, which is really neat. Wine Monday is also not to be missed. Eric, their self-proclamed "cork dork" is unpretentious but really knows his stuff. You get a great meal, taste fantastic wines, and learn a little something too.
Simply poor – Service was good and waiting staff attentive. But waitresses arrived in pares, with one talking to us and the other bent into a 45 degree angle, which looked strained and uncomfortable. Food wise: BAD! Salad was over-salted with an absence of any other flavor but vinegar. Lamb arrived with fettuccini (a very French offering (!). Pasta was so over-salted that my husband chocked after tasting it and I coughed after taking a bite from his plate. My steak arrived rare instead of med-rare, but the real problem was the under-cooked yucca (another ?great? choice for a French restaurant) that accompanied it. It was like eating under-cocked boiled potatoes that feel crunchy in your mouth. We pointed out to our waitress that the food was un-edible and she took it away returning with the same entrees accompanied with your every-day mashed potatoes and pretty leaky at that. No one asked if we wanted mashed potatoes as a side dish. For dessert, we asked for cheese. Looking at the cheese tray, my husband asked which ones were French - the answer was none, the only imported cheese they had was from Quebec. Sure it is a little closer to the French cuisine than yucca or fettuccini, still one would expect to encounter French cheese in a reputable French restaurant. So it happened that we were sitting close to the door with the cheese tray visible in the entry hall. During all the time we spent there, it has never been covered with a glass dome so when the cheese was served, it tasted stale and musty. That was just enough. We left in disgust. The day was Oct 19, 2006 and I did not know what disaster befallen the L?Espalier on that day but the experience certainly did not fit into any other description of any other L?Espalier review. To end this: we lived in Europe for many years. Presently I work as a personal chef. We know what a good food and a good restaurant mean. What we encountered in L?Espalier was not either of them.
Nearly flawless – I'm not sure how you could come away from an experience at L'Espalier without anything but wonderful memories. The service was truly impeccable - our head waiter was extraordinarily attentive, very knowledgeable, yet wasn't too "stiff", as you might expect (he genuinely seemed to enjoy having us there). With the exception of the striploin, which lacked the dynamic flavors of everything else we ate, each and every course (we had 7 each) was flawless. The potato leek soup had tremendous depth of flavor, the butter-poached lobster was cooked just perfectly and complimented beautifully by the crispy prosciutto & pineapple. The lamb was extraordinarily tender and flavorful, and the scallop ceviche had incredible complex flavors. The accompaniments to the cheese course were wonderful, and the souffle I had for dessert was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. And if you don't care for a dish (or all) on the degustation menu that night, you may substitute for anything else on the menu!
I've eaten at some of the best restaurants in the country - NYC, LA, Miami, Atlanta & Boston, and as far as special occasions go (or even if you have nothing to celebrate but just want an incredible dining experience), L'Espalier will not disappoint. From the quiet, romantic dining room to the perfectly-executed service to the adventurous yet incredible dishes, I give L'Espalier a 10+/10.
Wowwwwwww! – This place is amazing. The service, the food and the ambience were a perfect 10! I recommend this place hands down.
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