The Back Bay's fine-dining institution
This Four-Star fine-dining restaurant and Back Bay institution moved from a 19th-century townhouse to a tony spot adjacent to the Mandarin Oriental in fall 2008 but managed to hold onto the bulk of its intimate charm. Dining at L'Espalier brings you back to another era (when men still wore coats and ties to dinner) and chef/proprietor Frank McClelland's over-the-top prix fixe dinner menu only embellishes the experience. The dishes are made up of seasonal, French-influenced, traditional New England recipes like butter-poached Maine lobster with braised pork belly and corn off the cob. Tasting menus can be amped up with caviar courses and selections from an overflowing cheese cart, and the monster wine list puts up plenty of stellar bottles. The current location has allowed those who can't commit to a multi-course dinner to still experience the McClelland's masterful food by settling into the Salon, which serves an edited selection of small bites and cocktails.