Before jumping on a plane back to London, I had my last lunch at L'Espalier, a renown fine dining restaurant on Boylston Street in Boston's Back Bay, adjacent to the Mandarin Oriental. The chef and owner, Frank McClelland (a James Beard Foundation Award winner) describes the food as modern New England with French influences using only local ingredients. In fact, even the menu lists the farms and purveyors from New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont from which he sources all of his food items.
Warm brioche buns and focaccia bread:
A first course of seared George Bank scallops and Maine mussels with West Coast morels and seaweed broth:
Apple Street Farm lettuces with heirloom melon; fresh and sorbet, confit orange, raspberry and Great Hill Blue cheese:
East Coast halibut with Apple Street Farm summer squash, oyster-spinach emulsion, compressed fennel and plankton fumet:
Beef tenderloin with chanterelles, ravioli, parmesan water and olive oil poached tomatoes:
For dessert we started with the formidable cheese cart ...
Great Hill Blue Cheese from Marion, Massachusetts.
Five year aged Gouda from Holland with a sweet caramel flavor.
Dorset from Consider Bardwell Farm, Vermont (Vermon't first cheese-making cooperative).
Challerhocker from Canton St. Gallen, Switzerland (washed with wine and herbs and kept for ten months 'sitting in a cellar' - the translation of its name.
Manchego from La Mancha, Spain (Spain's most popular cheese).
Lake's Edge goat cheese bisected with a thin line of ash from Blue Ledge Farm, Salisbury, Vermont.
And finally for the real dessert (I don't go a day without eating chocolate):
"Black Forest": chocolate souffle with bing cherry clafouti, and vanilla black cherry ice cream:
L'Espalier serves lunch and dinner daily, as well as afternoon tea on Saturday and Sunday. Its quite a famous spot in which to celebrate a special birthday, a marriage proposal, or even glimpse a celebrity diner. The service is impeccable and, upon your departure, they present you with a little sweet from the pastry chef as a parting gift to be enjoyed later.