L’Espalier is one of my favorite restaurants, and possibly the best high-end restaurant in Boston. However, it took a couple of times before I was convinced. I tried the tasting menu on my first visit and enjoyed it, but the chef's menu is constantly changing and based on his whim. The night I tried it, the menu included things I wouldn’t typically order like unusual game birds and meats (pigeon, venison, etc.). For several years I thought of L'Espalier as a place worth trying for the adventure and experience but not somewhere I'd go regularly for my favorite types of food. However, after listening to enough of my friends rave about it I decided to give L’Espalier another couple of tries, and I’m now a convert. This is why:
L’Espalier serves the best burger I’ve ever had. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it. I like it better than the $20 Prime Sirloin burger just across Boylston, better than the high-end award winning burgers recently featured on Boston.com, and better than any of the trendier places that have started popping up (think places with numbers in the name). As far as I know L’Espalier’s burger hasn’t won any awards, but it should. I’ve seen the preparation change slightly based on season and ingredients, but typically it’s prime beef, served on a toasted brioche bun, with blue cheese and crisp pancetta. It’s served with a side of greens and fried potato wedges, and even the ketchup tasted homemade and delicious.
L’Espalier is also one of the only restaurants in Boston with traditional caviar service. They offer a few selections, with all of the traditional accompaniments (blinis, sour cream, onions, scrambled egg, toast points, etc.). I dream about this and a glass of champagne on a regular basis.
Unless you’re the 1%, L’Espalier’s prices make it more of a special occasion kind of place but if you’re a true foodie you have to try it at least once. The lunch and bar menus offer more affordable options, and if you make your reservations in advance there is always restaurant week!