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Jan 1, 2009 02:32 PM

Aujourd'hui or L'Espalier?

Last year we dined at No. 9 Park for my husband's birthday and loved it! We've dined at many of the top rated restaurants in the country (French Laundry, Joel Roubechon, Chex Pannise etc) and are looking for the best in Boston for my husband's birthday this year. I've heard that Aujourd'hui and L'Espalier are excellent. Which is better?

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  1. Both are excellent but if either of you are cheese lovers, go to L'Espalier. We always loved their cheese service but with more space it has become even better.

    We had a lovely meal on Christmas Eve and ended with yet another fabulous cheese course. We have promised ourselves to get their more often this year.

    3 Replies
    1. re: BostonZest

      I think you'll hear more L'Espalier on this board. but I'd actually steer you to Aujourd'hui. I think William Kovel, the young chef, is doing some really exciting food right now.

      1. re: wittlejosh

        If the food and service is anything like what I had at the Bristol lounge for lunch NYE then stay far far far away. What an abysmal experience.

        1. re: Wursthof

          Much, much different, in my experience.

    2. I am a huge fan of the 4 Seasons, both the Bristol and Aujourd'hui (eat at the Bristol weekly and have had nothing but amazing service for many years. Their pastas are not my most favorite, however pretty much everything else is always very good. However for an intimate birthday dinner celebration, I'd do L' Espalier. If you do deceide on the 4 Seasons for dinner, go the L'Espalier the following day for lunch. Their lunch is fantastic.

      1. I go to L'Espalier or Clio for special occasion dining... tasting menus and the like. Also highly recommend Troquet for great chow and fantastic wine list if wine is your thing, but the atmosphere is casual.

        5 Replies
        1. re: WineAG

          A strong vote for L'Espalier !

          A quick story about Aujourd'hui, and why my wife and I will never go back: we went there for a "special dinner" a few years ago. Upon arriving, we were greeted with " You're late, did you get lost?" No other salutation. In fact, valet parking was busy that evening and we arrived about 5 minutes after our reservation time. We had requested a window table, but were told none were available. For the 3.5 hours we were there, 2 window tables sat unused. My wife's entree arrived cold, the waiter scowled when she asked to have the lamb warmed. His only comment, "you asked for it to be rare." The same plate returned a few minutes later and it was almost glowing from the heat. They must have put it in a 500 degree oven to "warm it". Yes, the meat was warmer, but everthing else on the plate had been zapped by the extreme heat - veggies were limp and the potatoes were a dried out mass. Dessert was a blur, we just wanted out. Never to return.

          1. re: TheTrout

            Your experience doesn't surprise me. For me everything about Aujourd'hui speaks "hotel restaurant"... over the years I've tried it with different chefs at the helm... always with the same result... a very nice hotel restaurant. I have to say that I haven't considered dining there in quite a long time and don't plan to.

            Aujourd'hui is the type of place that I would like to have in my hotel if I were traveling... y'know when you don't really feel like going out or the weather is not very good. As a hotel restaurant it's great. However, living in Boston there are so many other better options available.

            I will say that The Bristol Lounge is a nice option for a drink, a light bite, or a simple meal in a sort of formal but casual setting.

            1. re: WineAG

              I used to feel that way until Chef William Kovel. It's been over a year since our last dinner there, but we had wonderful meals since he took over the menu. Has anybody been recently?

              1. re: Rubee

                i was at Aujourdhui a couple weeks ago and tried the tasting, it was quite good despite the hotel atmosphere and occasionally inattentive service. I was there a couple yrs ago with Limster and was pleasantly surprised then too. Prices are high as might be expected, though.

            2. re: TheTrout

              How long ago did you go? The new Chef has only been there for 2 years. I'd go back! I've only had great experiences there. I found my experience at L'Espalier stuffy. The food was good; nothing amazing though.

          2. I haven't eaten at the new L'Espalier yet; but my choice would be L'Espalier over Aujourd'hui by a small margin.

            I don't think you'd go wrong with either...both very formal, well prepared, high end cuisine.

            The "service miscues" at Aujourd'hui surprise me...and I don't think it's the regular way of doing things there..and are the exception rather than the rule.

            1. I liked both Aujourd'hui and L'Espalier, but not as much as I like No. 9 Park. I'd also second the recommendation to look at Clio, which was quite good (again, I like No. 9 Park best). My memory is that I liked Aujourd'hui better, but it's hard to tell.

              I went to L'Espalier before they moved, and it was very intimate (small rooms with just a few tables) with somewhat fussy decorations. Aujourd'hui had a very large dining room with large windows onto the Park. Both were lovely and very Fancy Restaurant in a way that No. 9 Park isn't, but they were very different in character.