Ok, I've patiently waited a couple of hours for someone else to launch this thread, but I have to ask: is it a good thing that L'Espalier is going to move to the Mandarin Oriental?
My initial reaction (not yet having been there, maybe that explains it) is that this is a great loss, a great restaurant in a romantic townhouse seems much better than the same restaurant in a fancy hotel.
I never read the paper til after work so hadn't seen this yet. I think it's a really sad thing. That space is so unique and a lot of what makes L'Espalier L'Espalier. Plus with another SeldlT opening, sounds like a possible receipe for failure. Guess I'll have to shell out for one more real meal there (as opposed to Mon. wine tasting) before they move.
I'm sure the new location will be a beautiful space, but it's hard to imagine it being anywhere near as charming as L'Espalier's current digs. I too will visit before it closes there.
The part of the article that gave me a chill was the reference to Todd English, whose similar move to a bigger space, though I didn't know it at the time, was the beginning of the end for what was once my favorite restaurant. Sic transit gloria mundi.
There's only downside risk for this move. It's not like the new digs are gonna make L'Espalier better than it is. Even if they're able consistently to produce the same quality food in the new digs, we all know it's not going to match the wonderful experience of their present location.
I can understand it from a business move, but something will definitely be lost. The Back Bay townhouse image is part of what L'Espalier is. I'm sure the new space will be beautiful, but another little piece of the "real Boston" will be gone. On the bright side, at least the new restaurant in the Oriental will be a local insititution and not part of a national chain or God forbid another steak house.
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