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“Superb dining experience!”
Review of L'Espalier

L'Espalier
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Ranked #112 of 3,391 Restaurants in Boston
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $41 - $100
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Special occasions, Large groups, Business meetings
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Fine Dining
Neighborhood: Back Bay
Cross street: Fairfield St.
Transit: Copley Square T
Reviewed January 7, 2013

L'Espalier is the cream of the crop in the restaurant scene in Boston! The food, atmosphere, and wait staff is incomparable. It is very expensive, but worth the splurge.

Thank Lauren S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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383 - 387 of 658 reviews

Reviewed January 4, 2013

If you want a totally over the top dining and culinary entertainment experience book the chefs table at L'Espalier. This is a true chefs table in that it is smack dab in the middle of their huge, immaculate kitchen. To get to the chefs table you are led through the heart of a real working kitchen. The entire staff greets you cordially as you make your way to the table. For the duration of the degustation experience you are doted over by a select few very experienced servers and sommeliers.
I won't go into the particulars of all the dishes as they are so numerous and all exceptional. Counting the amuse bouches there are about 15 courses. Every one is interesting with deep flavor extraction. You may or may not like all the ingredients (my wife does not like cavier or foie gras so I happily ate those for her)but they are all creative with pure deep flavors.
The cuisine and wine pairings were all exceptional but the part that made the evening truly special for me was being in the heart of a real working kitchen. Things do not always go smoothly and one can see the chef de cuisine occasionally have to lean on his sous chefs do do better. It's a real top notch kitchen and you see real emotions and the pressure the chefs are under when they are in the heat of service.
This is a very pricey experience but well worth it. To book the chefs table it is $250 per person and you are only able to receive the chef's tasting menu. If you get the wine pairings with the tasting menu it is another $110 a person. With service if you go this route it is pretty much $1,000 for the evening. I still think it is worth it.
There were only two minor disappointments. My wife thought chef McClelland should have come over to say hi to us during the evening and it is fairly warm in the kitchen.
Despite that I would heartily recommend the experience for die hard foodies.

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2  Thank Raymond M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2013

We've been to L'Espalier twice in the last few months. Once for a 50th birthday party (in a private room for 16 people) and once just the two of us (for yet another birthday). Both times were really special in their own way.

The food continues to be the outstanding feature at L'Espalier. Which is exactly how it should be at a top-tier restaurant. Yes, the service is pretty much perfect, and the ambiance is lovely, the wine list is terrific, and the attention to detail in every way is exquisite....but the food is really the highlight. Delicious, interesting, just-the-right amount....they've continued to stay relevant and fascinating. In all the years we've gone - from the old Gloucester Street townhouse to this new haven in the Mandarin - we've never encountered a "tired repeat" of flavors.

And all of this is in the spectacularly graceful control of Louis, who has been there for so long. I hope he never, ever leaves!

We've tried Menton - L'Espalier's only real competition in Boston - and while it's very, very good, I greatly prefer L'Espalier.

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1  Thank brettrj1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2013

Pictures and more on my blog: http://molltk3.blogspot.com/2013/01/boston-restaurants-e.html. I wish there was a 3.75 option.

We spent our New Year's Eve dinner at the highest rated "E" restaurant on open-table: L'Espalier. Having gone once before with T last year and having the Degustation Tasting menu, we were excited to celebrate our New Year's here. L'Espalier has been serving New England-French cuisine in Boston since 1978!

After making our decisions and placing our orders we were immediately given an array of hors d'oeuvres and amuse bouches (on the blog).

On to the first course: I went with the winter salad with various citrus, lightly cooked Okeechobee shrimp, pomegranate, and "snow" (which reportedly had kaffir lime but tasted a bit of basil). Light in flavors, the shrimp did not add much to the dish, which was upsetting as shrimp is one of my favorite proteins of all time.

T went with the Warm Wellfleet oysters with smoked bone barrow vermouth, samphire, and sturgeon caviar. He enjoyed this dish and reports the greens complimented the smokiness of the oysters well.

The second course was the course that I was most excited for, as L'Espalier is known for their butter poached lobster and I had had it before during the tasting menu. For the second course I had the butter poached Maine lobster with a red wine emulsion, beets, and black walnut. The lobster bits were cooked perfectly, but the beet tasted almost citrusy which I was not prepared for.

Although you may not be able to see this one as well due to the lighting, T went with the slow cooked squab breast with maple roasted carrot, chicory mushroom puree, liver, and vinaigrette. My second-favorite dish, it tasted a bit like a very tasty hot dog (which is probably an insult...but it's a compliment in my mind, as I love hot dogs!).

For the third course, there was no choice, everyone was given lubina with west coast pine mushrooms, a mussel emulsion and juniper sprigs. I have always liked seabass as it has a delicate light fishy flavor, and I get overwhelmed by fishy tastes. I enjoyed the fish with mushrooms, but was not a fan of the mussel emulsion as it seemed to overpower the delicacy of the fish. On the other hand, this was T's second-favorite dish.

Next, I went with the slow poached and roasted guinea hen (a breast and a leg) with black truffle-turnip "risotto", pear puree, sauteed spinach, and a foie gras jus. The quotations on the risotto tricked me, as one of the main reasons I went with this dish was for some textural starch, but unfortunately it turned out to not be what I was imagining. I enjoyed the breast...until I tried T's tenderloin...which I had to steal literally half of because it was the best dish of the night and blew my guinea hen out of the water.

The best dish of the night hands-down was the roasted Maine beef tenderloin with braised tongue underneath, a "tartiflette" with Abbaye de Tamie bone marrow, and a quail egg. Soft, flavorful, savory and overall perfected, everyone agreed this was the best dish of the evening. I only wish I had ordered it!

Next for the table's favorite food: cheese! I wish I could say I remembered all of the cheeses...but I don't! I was too focused on enjoying the cheese to even take a picture of the menu (oops). I do remember though that the cheese was presented surrounding an orange marmalade and increased clock-wise in intensity. My favorite was the middle cheese from Spain, while T's favorites were the last blue and the second cow's milk. On the other hand, my friend's favorite was the fourth, so overall we clearly enjoyed all of the cheeses!

It was around this time that the clock struck midnight, and the celebrations for 2013 were in full-force. The chef led a line of all members of the kitchen walking through the dining rooms clanging pots and pans while diners hooted and hollered while using the provided clappers and blow-outs. For the next hour, little sounds could be heard from table to table celebrating the new year.

Last, but not least, were the desserts! Everyone else went with the chocolate cremeux with rum, ginger, and kaffir lime, with the little orange bubbles atop the cremeux tasted citrusy once again. The chocolate was high quality and a nice rich combination with the whimsical orange bubbles.

Overall, a memorable New Year's Eve meal at L'Espalier. Our only qualm was the fact that the meal focused a bit too much on acids, citrus, and savory game meats rather than combinations incorporating any type of sugar or sweets. A greater variety of tastes would have helped rounding out the night, as I cannot recall any sour or sweet components, but this may be our own faults based on our choices. I will definitely be back for a Wine Monday, Cheese Tuesdays and a Fantasy Tea on a Sunday though!

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Thank m0lly_t60745
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 26, 2012

Went for Christmas Eve pre-fix dinner. It was magical as plate after plate with amazing mouthfuls of flavor that filled your mouth. Everything was really special and we left feeling wonderfully cared for.

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1  Thank David S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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