L'espalier - need help with a few questions
I have a reservation at L'espalier this Saturday to celebrate my 1-year wedding anniversary. I've taken a look at the menus online and searched the board for previous questions/dining recaps and am extremely excited...but a few questions remain:
- Where is the best place to sit? Seems like there are a few different rooms? (hoping I can still request this if I call asap)
- Can you "customize" the 4-course Seasonal Tasting? I'd rather not be eating the exact same thing as my husband for all courses...can you get 2 totally different tastings?
- Do you recommend the wine pairing with the tasting or just getting a bottle separately?
- And finally, is the "Chef's Tasting Journey" overkill? Will the 4-course tasting leave us happily full?
Thanks in advance!
Hello, I've been a couple of times to L'Espalier for dinner and done the 3 course and "seasonal" menus. My husband and I agreed we had a better experience sticking with three courses and were definitely more full (which we kind of like). But if you do choose the seasonal menu I would say the easiest way to eat different things from eachother would be to order one degustation with meat and one vegetable degustation. We opted for wine pairing with the degustation and were quite pleased with it. But the sommelier is also very helpful so I would have no fears following his recommendation towards a single bottle if that is your preference. They also have a number of half bottles if you wanted to have a half bottle each of white and red, for example. Bon appetit!
Best place to sit is on the second or third floors in the room toward the back of the brownstone. Any place along the back wall or to the right as your enter is fine. Avoid the waiters' stations.
They should (and generally are) flexible on substitutions -- you are paying a fortune so they should be accomodating.
I always like to go with bottles separately. A nice touch is to get a bottle of Champagne when you first are seated -- don't drink all of it before the meal. Have them keep it on ice and pressurized-corked until dessert. Champagne and chocolate go great. They have wonderful wines by the bottle. Even 1/2 bottles to share. They French white burgundys are wonderful. Let me know if you need recommedations.
My opinion is the 4 course will make you happy. Save room for the cheese.
Congraulations on the anniversary.
- we sat in the front room, which was nice
- you can customize the seasonal tasting menu, as our waiter emphatically noted. SO had it straight off the menu, while i substituted every single dish for something else from the ala carte side. again, they encouraged it.
- the 4-course tasting was the right amount. don't forget that it includes a cheese service, sorbet and dessert.
774 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02199
The Front Room is the largest and prettiest, the Library is smaller and still quite pretty but seems kind of out of the way, the Salon the loudest, perhaps best suited for business dinners.
I didn't know you could customize the Degustation, which says four courses but is more like seven with amuses etc. For variety, one of you can get the meat/seafood, the other the vegetarian. This is my favorite dining option at L'Espalier, though I find the meat/seafood kind of overwhelmingly rich; the vegetable one is easier to get through, and still amazing.
The wine list is huge, rather overwhelming if you know only a little about wine. The sommelier is very knowledgeable but a bit of the upselling type. I think the matched wines are a good deal for two diners: you get a nice variety, and don't have to try to match your wine with an absurd variety of dishes. Another option might be to get two or three half-bottles.
I haven't done the Chef's Tasting Journey, but I imagine it's a lot of fun if you have $175/head to spend (not including bottled water, cocktails, wine, tax, or tip), $270/each with matched wines. I'd plan a visit elsewhere afterward for a Fernet Branca. Given how much wretched excess the Degustation is, I expect the Journey might half-kill me.
Don't be afraid to put on your best threads here. It's a dress-up kind of place.
I did the 4 course Degustation last year and left pleasantly full after amuses, cheeses, Petit Fours, etc.. While I'd love to go for the Chef's Tasting Journey I don't think you have to order that to be full. I also can't even fathom how long the Chef's tasting would be, the 4 course menu is approx. a 3 hour dinner as it is.
As for customization, they are very willing to work with you on your menu choices and to customize. When I went I was disappointed the the bouillabaisse that was listed on their website wasn't on the menu. When I asked if it was available our server checked in an instant and came back with a resounding yes. They will bend over backwards to make their guests happy.
Have a great meal, congrats on your first year!
I've found them to be very willing to customize the tasting menus completely - you can basically make up your own menu with items from the different menus. I've only done the 4-course, and it's great. I agree with the pp, that going with one meat and one veg menu is a great way to try more things. We usually do that whenever possible. Congrats on your first year! Our 2nd anniversary is this weekend, too. Since we couldn't get a res. for L'Espalier on Saturday, we're going to Clio! Cheers!