L’Espalier | Back Bay Boston, MA

pork belly and i went to l’espalier last saturday and we opted for the Chef McClelland’s Tasting Journey.

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the chairs were a little wore out.
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so were the menu and silverware, i was a little disgusted. the silverwares looked like they were 100 years old which countless marks on them. i know im being picky, but im paying hundreds of dollars eating here hello?!
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most patrons were underdressed and some were in jeans and sweatshirts.
les

green tea gimlet | westport l’espalier
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i really wish the bread was warm
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house made pretzel
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oh man, this gougère was probably the most memorable item of my entire meal. soft, creamy with a remarkable smokiness bursted in my mouth. damnn it was good
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wellfleet oyster with american caviar and champagne foam – the oyster was meaty and briny, but there was a hint of unpleasant fishiness after taste left in my mouth.
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fried apple street farm egg, blini, and white sturgeon caviar- judging by the color of the caviar, its the finer type
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85% Apple Street Farm: Heirloom tomato, honeyed goat yogurt, geranium scented peach and lemon basil with chilled Maine lobster – overall refreshing. the lobster was fresh, tender with a hint of sweetness.
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Foie gras “torchon” with anise hyssop, plum and smoked chocolate-almond trail mix
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east coast halibut with Apple Street Farm carrots, oyster emulsion, compressed fennel and plankton fumet
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raspberry sorbet
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Maine beef tenderloin with chanterelles, ravioli, parmesan water and olive oil poached tomatoes
pork belly asked for rare and i asked for medium rare but somehow both of our dishes came out the same. the sauce felt old and been left out for a long time. sous-vide is def not my fave cooking method when it comes to beef.
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grand fromage

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from left to right:

goat’s milk: bonaparte, lazy lady farm, westfield, VT –  least fave one. not a fan of goat cheeses.

sheep’s milk: manchego, la mancha, spain

sheep’s milk: summer snow, woodcock farm, weston, VT

cow’s milk: dorset, consider bardwell farm, VT

cow’s milk: gouda, aged five years, holland. – my fave one, sweet, nutty, crunchy.

mixed milk: valdeon, castilla-leon, spain

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vanilla pudding, ginger bread, matcha powder, and ice creamIMG_6145-2

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L’Espalier vs. menton:
L’Espalier and menton are often regarded as two best restaurants in boston. after dining at both places, i believe menton is superior in any single way and i am not talking about kristen kish here.

decor/ambience- although menton is on the minimalistic side, it def felt a lot more lavish than l’espalier. furnitures and silverwares are shabby and unpolished at l’espalier.

service – service at l’espalier was professional but generic, just lacking personal touches and something to be extraordinary.
when we opted for tasting menu, the waiter did not ask about our likes/dislikes or dietary restrictions. the service at l’espalier felt unnecessarily slow as the same waiter was servicing 5 other tables. the service at menton is on a whole different level. it felt like a whole troop was serving us. everything was just absolutely impeccable.

food – food quality at l’espalier was not the best. some components of several dishes did not taste the freshest. food wasn’t exciting or cutting edge but rather generic or cliche. every dish had touches of powders, gels, or puree and im not sure if everything went well together. on another hand, food at menton was way tastier, a lot more elaborate, memorable, exotic, and well executed. all the components of the dishes were complementing each other, nothing felt out of the place. food quality is also superior.

price- menton is cheaper than l’espalier based on tasting menu prices.

a la carte vs. seasonal degustation vs. chef McClelland’s Tasting Journey
the tasting menu was a waste of money. it’s pretty much everything from the seasonal degustation. nothing more interesting, special, or adventurous. if i were to choose again, i’d go with the seasonal degustation. def better value.

final thoughts:
with such high price tags, food and service were mediocre at the best. neither food nor service showed they trying to impress the guests at all. they didnt go above and beyond to to make the experience extraordinary. i would save my money and dine at menton or o ya instead or any good (michelin starred) restaurants in new york city. my experience at l’espalier was a total disappointment.

L’Espalier
Category: French
774 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02199
Neighborhood: Back Bay
(617) 262-3023
lespalier.com

L'Espalier on Urbanspoon

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