By Lisa Loverro
This classically inspired restaurant is one of Boston's finest, serving sophisticated and modern New England-French cuisine with an emphasis on artisanal and New England ingredients. Located in the heart of the very fashionable Back Bay, L'Espalier is adjacent to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on Boylston Street and just one block from the Hynes Convention Center and Copley Place. The staff here is knowledgeable and quick to make recommendations on the perfect dish to suit your palate. The service is exceptional and the wait staff, which is always attentive but never intrusive, handles your plates and service so discretely that you might not even notice that they are there. You get the feeling they have such a sense of personal pride in their job that has come to be the exception rather than the norm, especially in a large, east coast city.
Commanding over the restaurant is Chef McClelland who brings his love of "field to fork" cooking into his inventive menu. Having grown up on his grandparents'' farm in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Chef McClelland developed his craft and by the age of 25, he had been a chef in two of the most respected Boston kitchens: Harvest in Cambridge and L'Espalier. In 1984, he became Executive Chef at The Country Inn at Princeton in Western Massachusetts where he established himself as a culinary talent who made time to know local farmers. At The Country Inn he earned a four-star rating from The Boston Globe as well as being named one of the country's top 25 new chefs by Food & Wine. His signature modern French-influenced cuisine is derived from a combination of his love of regional ingredients along with you European techniques. The restaurant offers a multitude of dining options including a Chef's Table option where you can dine in the heart of the kitchen.
The wine list at L'Espalier has been consistent for the last 20 years offering outstanding vintages. There are over 500 selections on the restaurant's award winning wine list, which is curated by Lauren Collins. While there is a notable collection of the classic French food wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux, there is also a wide selection of wines from the Rhône Valley, Southern France, Alsace, and Champagne. Rounding off the list is an exceptional variety of domestic wines from California, Oregon, and Washington.
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