Going for the first time tomorrow night to celebrate our anniversary. What's not to be missed on the menu?
Everything on the menu that I have tried has been great. The mussels are wonderful, as is the salmon. My husband enjoys the porkchop. The raw bar is always very good. Truth be told though, they have one of the best burgers in Boston. Not exactly what you want to have on your anniversary I imagine, but it is DELICIOUS.
For cocktails my favorites are:
For food I can't seem to stop ordering the Boston Bibb Salad and the Grilled Cheese!
The Raclette appetizer is very good (when is warm gooey cheese not good!?)
It's brasserie fare served in a very handsome, bustling room, the menu a pastiche of casual French, Italian, and American: not especially high on technique or presentation, but very solid nonetheless. Some dishes I've had that I liked: pate on baguette sandwich, roasted chicken, liver and onions, salt cod fritters, the offal plate (though ask what's on it, it may push your vittles tolerance), a special of grilled tilefish with a wonderful tomato concasse.
I find some sides weak, tending to drown in butter. Frites are okay, not top-drawer, a disappointment for this kind of place. I like the burger patty, but not the brioche they serve it on.
Extraordinary bartending: learned, passionate, skillful, creative. Get there early enough to have a drink and a conversation with the staff at the bar. I think there's a dropoff in service quality from the bar to the dining room.
Despite the nits I've pointed out, you should have a wonderful time. Happy anniversary!
re: MC Slim JB
The bartending is fantastic there, and I agree that service does drop off when you leave the bar. Really do try to go early enought to enjoy a cocktail. Another cocktail worth trying is the Pelican.
I second the salt cod fritters. The oysters and shellfish platter are terrific and wonderfully presented. The beet salad is very good. The steak tartare is very good, although occasionally served too cold.
For entrees the pork chop is solid. I'm not sure what the special is tomorrow night... I've had the meatloaf and the lamb shank and they were both very good and an excellent value.
I love this place. You should have a wonderful anniversary meal there. Be sure to finish it off with their bread pudding - SINFUL!
The warm frisee salad with lardons and hazelnuts is breath-taking. And it's rare I disagree with MC Slim above, but I have to disagree on his comment, "not especially high on technique or presentation." Perhaps that depends on what's been ordered? I've been very impressed, and haven't had a dish that was a stinker there yet. Even on a bustling evening. You'll have a great time!
My comment probably came across as more dismissive than intended. I mean to say that ESK's food is comparatively unfussy, with fairly simple preparations and sauces. It mostly eschews rarified ingredients, complex sauces, and elaborate platings. That's mostly a virtue in my book.
I just wanted to make sure the OP wasn't expecting dishes like L'Espalier's grilled quail with duck ravioli and veal tongue pastrami in parsnip broth. L'Espalier's bank-breaking cuisine is fun every other year or so. ESK's comparatively unrefined, less labor-intensive cooking is plenty delicious, yet much more affordable, which makes it a far more useful restaurant to me.