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Apr 25, 2007 04:37 PM

KO/eastern standard...

so if KO is almost open as the replacement to Spire in the nine zero hotel, and if Jamie Bissonette is going to be the chef de cuisine at KO, does anyone know what's happening now at Eastern Standard??

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    1. I've mostly liked the food at ESK (especially the French stuff), loved-loved-loved the cocktails and bar service (which I rate among the very best in Greater Boston), and have had major issues with the dining room service since Day One. The restaurant is far less useful to me during baseball season. I want nothing to do with pre- and post-Sox crowds. That's not an anti-baseball prejudice, I'm one of that herd. I just like some separation if I'm not going to the game myself.

      I am concerned to hear that their top BOH guy has left. My last visit was at the very tail end of the Bissonnete era, and it was perfect for the mixed crowd I'd brought. My friends from the suburbs found it quite sophisticated and pleasant, and were very happy with their meals. I was able to shame their kids into tasting the offal I'd ordered. (Gotta get that Chowish bravery going early, Lord knows I had no such mentoring.)

      I'll be curious to see how the food holds up. You don't need the benefit of industry-insider poop to see that they have some persistent management issues. It's an ostensibly successful restaurant, yet apart from the bar staff and Mr. Harker, I never see the same people working there twice. That's not a good sign. If Jackson Cannon were to up and leave for greener pastures and take a good chunk of his crew with him, I'd lose a lot of interest in this place.

      13 Replies
      1. re: MC Slim JB

        i always eat at the bar too for reasons we've discussed in previous threads. friends and i have been in several times since jb left and have noticed no discernible difference in the food.

        when people are aware of change, they look for problems that might not exist. if they have a dish that's slightly less good than last time, and because they know it's a new chef, they think it signals the end of the world.

        "yet apart from the bar staff and Mr. Harker, I never see the same people working there twice. "

        actually there are quite a few servers i see all the time. ed, the wine director/manager, has been there from day one, and so has his assistant/server, frank. the volume and the hours make it an incredibly tough place to work. lots of people can't hack it, and the pool of good servers in this city is very very small.

        as for the *insider* blog post, there is no way on earth garrett would let a deep-fried steak out the kitchen door. no way.

        1. re: hotoynoodle

          haven't we read kitchen confidential, people? it happens.

          1. re: linz

            Years and years ago I waited tables at an Italian restaurant (not in Boston) and it was common practice to deep-fry any steak that was ordered well-done. Horrifying, yes. Uncommon, I don't think so.

            1. re: heathermb

              and the way to bring a steak from M/R to well done is to put a pan on it and lean on it with your whole body to press all the juice out. seen it, done it.

          2. re: hotoynoodle

            I've also seen 3 or 4 servers working there for a long time. I think it's a tough gig but from what I hear from a couple folks who do work there (and have since it's opened) it's worth the headaches b/c it's one of the best paying gigs in town.

            1. re: bostonman

              Would you happen to know where Doug ended up/is going? We've been fans of his since No 9 and were so happy to see he was back from NZ when ESK opened.....

              1. re: Rubee

                Doug is now manager at Audobon Circle down the street...i don't know if he's taking any bar shifts, or not....hopefully he will!

                1. re: bostonman

                  And a fine addition Doug is to Audubon, too: much respected as a manager by his staff. Audubon has some great bartenders already, notably Jay and AJ.

                  1. re: bostonman

                    He was tending bar yesterday at 5pm and happy to see some familiar faces. We just stopped in for a drink and got lucky as he isn't on the regular schedule - too busy being the manager I guess.

                2. re: bostonman

                  Doug is gone!? Oh my.... Must find him or develop a new bar tender crush. ;)

                  1. re: bostonman

                    eastern standard has always been an ok food place with a great bar atmosphere.. Aside from the obvious rebirth of offal and charcuterie at this destination the rest of the menu falls way short. E.S did a good job of ripping off balthazar in menu layout and decor but after the mouels frittes and head cheese, forgettaboutit.

                    1. re: milkshake

                      don't forget the burger. i think it's up there in boston's top 10, even if it is served on brioche instead of a traditional burger roll.

                3. Couple mixed opinions about that on yesterday's Bouchee thread.

                  1. I did not know that Jamie is no longer there. On our last meal, marrow bones excellent. Three out of 18 oysters rancid. Special of lamb shank rather dry.

                    Drinks awesome.

                    Drinks only next time

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: aadesmd

                      Enjoyed the marrow bones last night -- properly served with parsley salad and maldon sea salt to sprinkle over. The bartender (Beth?) suggested a great Rioja to go with. Best part was when we got the check it turned out the wine was $8/glass -- I like it when they don't gouge you if you ask for a wine pairing. Deep fried steak or no, I still like the place.

                      1. re: yumyum

                        Beth is an awesome bartender. I've been digging her since her Pigalle days.

                        1. re: tatamagouche

                          i second your opinion about beth. very good.

                    2. Hey all,

                      Just wanted dredge this up for a moment. Unless I'm missing something, I have not seen too much about ESK since the departure of JB. I have not been there since his departure (not intentionally... just too many restaurants and too little time). Historically, I have been one of those fans where ESK was one of my standard reccomendations when an out of towner is looking for a suggestion when seeking fine cuisine at (what I deem) reasonable prices.

                      Any recent experiences one way or another?


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Food4Thought

                        Sat at the bar with a friend for dinner Saturday night. We had:

                        Asparagus soup (me) - I've posted about this before it is incredible - so bright, fresh, tart from a hint of lemon. Really, really good.

                        Friend had the seared foie gras which was served with a puree of rhubarb and strawberry. Absolutely delicious. Foie melted in your mouth and the richness was beautifully cut with the fruit puree.

                        For our entree we shared an order of the saturday night special: Beef Wellington - it was incredible. Not the overly rich, greasy version I've often experienced in restaurants. We both ate every bite (and they were kind enough to serve it on two plates for us!

                        Chocolate brioche bread pudding (me) - rich and decadent. A portion half the size would have been sufficient for me.

                        Lemon blueberry something (DC) - delicious and lovely with a lemony tartness.

                        DC stuck with and greatly enjoyed rose by the glass. I started with a champagne cocktail and then had a blueberry fizz with dessert. For you rose lovers, they have 9 on the menu at present (although not all available by the glass).

                        I am never disappointed with this place and was as pleased as ever on Saturday. Definitely get back if you haven't been in a while - they also greatly expanded the cocktail menu, so there's lots new to try on that front as well as the food...

                        1. re: Food4Thought

                          I don't know anything about "JB." I do know that the fisrt three times I ate there over this past year I had found it very good, but when I went about a week ago I thought it was just decent, and overpriced. For instance, the rolls seemed stale, and I found myself wondering why I had raved before about their green salad. I can't really remember my fish entree from a week ago, which is never a good sign!

                          I'm not saying there's any correlation. I had chalked this disappointment up to my overestimating the restaurant to begin with.