How is the "new" L'Espalier?
unfortunately never made it to the old l'espalier. i think the new l'espalier is fine. the food is good but more often a little too rich and portions tend to be large on the tasting menu. i'm not a fan of the service, it's akward. i also didn't get a sense that all the staff were well versed in all aspects and certainly not in tune with everything going on. someone in a suit approached my table and offered a cocktail. when i asked what bourbons were available his response was "i'm just a manager".
i do however like the lounge for a cocktail and a little bite. for boston, it's good but if you look at it on a global level, for pricing, quality of food, and service, it falls short.
i think a lot of others on here will disagree vehemently...
Food and service are every bit as great as they ever were. It's nice to have a little lounge area to enjoy a cocktail in before sitting down to dinner. There's a new "small bites" lounge menu that looks nice, though I have yet to try that. But if you knew and loved the old space, you may share my disappointment in the charmlessness of the new dining rooms.
re: MC Slim JB
we went for one of the wine mondays, which has always been one of our favorite ways to enjoy L'Espalier. It was lovely in the new space: informative, generous, comfortable and with a fine menu and pairings. I don't see any diminution in quality and while I don't find the new space dazzling in its charm, i find it comfortable and welcoming.
I thought it was wonderful, but 1) I have never been to the old space and 2) I didn't like my dinner at No. 9 (too salty) when I went. I know #2 puts me in the minority on here. The standout part of the evening was the discussion with the sommelier and the cheese guy (fromagier?). The food was good, too, but really it was the overall "experience" that I will remember. Here is the chain of posts from a while back: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/589953
Also, when I made the reservation (on Opentable) I called to request a corner table. It worked! That was a much better than one of the tables with people close by on either side.