On November 30Louis Risoli answered the question:Chef Frank McClelland’s L’Espalier has been a perennial “best” of America’s restaurants for three decades, earning top accolades from Zagat, Forbes, Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Frommer’s, Wine Spectator and Condé Nast Traveler as well as nods in international media. L’Espalier is New England’s most decorated independent restaurant with consecutive AAA Five Diamond Awards and consecutive Forbes (Mobil) Four-Star awards. He speaks and judges across the country at events like Taste of Vail, Foxwoods Food & Wine Festival and the Chefs Collaborative National Summit.
At the heart of Chef McClelland’s menus of New England flavors with French interpretation is Apple Street Farm, his organic farm in Essex, Massachusetts that is the primary source of heirloom produce and proteins for L’Espalier and his trio of casual Sel de la Terre bistros. The James Beard chef and cookbook author (Wine Mondays) views his life as a farmer-restaurateur as being on-trend. By living this life from his youth, he was early to the farm-to-table or “locavore” dining philosophy.
Chef McClelland’s love of “field to fork” cooking began while growing up on his grandparents’ farm in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. By the age of 25, he had been a chef in two of the most respected Boston kitchens: The 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.
Chef McClelland nurtured his love of fresh, regional ingredients and applied his European techniques to create his own signature modern French-influenced cuisine, brought his knives back to L’Espalier, purchased the restaurant outright and never looked back.
In April 2000, Chef McClelland diversified his organization with Sel de la Terre, a trio of casual bistros with boulangeries steeped in the culinary traditions of Provence, France, with business partner Chef Geoff Gardner. Sel de la Terre opened to rave reviews and was instantly named one of the top 20 new restaurants in America by Esquire. The chefs de cuisine at the three restaurants develops menus that reflect a unique personality of each location. In 2007, Au Soleil Catering followed to fill the gap with a full regional catering service.
The time he spent on his family’s farm grounded Chef McClelland in the time-honored traditions of farm-to-table cooking. Today he honors his upbringing at Apple Street Farm by growing fresh herbs, heirloom fruits and vegetables and raising honeybees, egg laying chickens and goats. He views sustainable agriculture as compatible with providing this region’s most memorable and environmentally friendly dining experiences.
Chef Frank McClelland is a New England cooking institution, known for developing the Northeast’s next generation of exciting culinary talent. His restaurants include StarChefs “Rising Stars,” and chefs are sought out by network TV chef shows and industry competitions. Many of Boston’s best-known restaurants are populated with alumni who were mentored under his tutelage.
On November 30Louis Risoli answered the question:We currently offer gin and tonic flights, which allow guests to sample multiple variations on the classic cocktail. Our cocktail list changes weekly, but a signature cocktail is the Belgian Malinois: Champagne and Lindemans Belgian Framboise Lambic.
On May 24Louis Risoli answered the question:For the last 20 years, L'Espalier has been committed to buying outstanding vintages and cellaring them, on occasion for 12-14 years, until they reach maturity. Those bottles along with 700 other selections make up L'Espalier's award winning wine list, overseen by Erik Johnson and sommelier Erich Schliebe. While there is a stellar collection of the classic French food wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux, there is also a wide selection of wines from the Rhine Valley, Southern France, Alsace and Champagne. Rounding off the list is an exceptional variety of domestic wines from California, Oregon and Washington.
On May 24Louis Risoli answered the question:We offer any of our dining rooms for private events:
A marble tiled foyer leads into the Salon, where a periwinkle blue area rug complements the room?s dark hardwood floors. Cozy up with a copy of Chef McClelland?s book Wine Mondays in this modern lounge in the soft and inviting booth underneath the light cast by an awe-inspiring clean lined chandelier. The salon is also perfect for people-watching from one of the window-side tables while sipping a glass of champagne from a bottle chilling on ice in the butler?s pantry.
Floor-to-ceiling windows, unveiling lively Boylston Street below, illuminate the largest of the three dining rooms. Larger parties are comfortably accommodated and seated in luxurious cushioned chairs with dark mahogany accents. Plush fawn-colored carpet underfoot leads seamlessly into the Crystal Room.
This centrally located dining room is bordered on three sides by a striking steel bar wine case that is enveloped in brilliant sheets of glass. Be seated alongside the wine display in one of the olive satin-lined banquettes, or across the dining room in one of two lush mauve booths.
Take a quick peek of the impressive sterling kitchen on the way to the library, nestled in the rear corner of the restaurant. This romantically dim lit space is perfect for a special dinner for two or an intimate business meeting, and is cleverly decorated with books of various shades of cool blues lining its shelves. Tall shelves lead the eye up toward exposed dark wood beams overhead, adding a rustic finishing touch to this warm dining room.
On May 24Louis Risoli answered the question:Absolutely! For 25 years, L'Espalier has been at the forefront in accommodating guest requests for private dining space and off-premise events. The combination of classic and contemporary decor in the three dining rooms and the salon offers a distinctive setting for a variety of events, from cocktail parties, business events and celebrations to luncheons and weddings. Depending on the size and style of the occasion, host your event in one dining room or book all three for a full restaurant buy-out. For off-premise events, our catering team is available to recreate the L'Espalier dining experience in the location of your choice.
L'Espalier's award winning service and cuisine are never compromised, whether you're hosting an intimate gathering for 10 or a lavish dinner for 100, Chef McClelland's motto, "chasing perfection" applies. Each event is personalized and based on the guest's individual needs, including, but not limited to, menu selection (cuisine and wine), specialty cakes, floral arrangements, valet service and AV equipment. As all aspects of your special occasion are customized and we are easily able to accommodate any special requests.
Maitre’d and Fromager
Boston, MA, USA
Mâitre d’ hotel and Fromager Louis Risoli instills the philosophy of “chasing perfection”into the front of the house by way of his diligent and meticulous orchestration of L’Espalier’s three dining rooms. In doing so, Risoli ensures a dining experience that far surpasses guests’ expectations night after night. Risoli’s arrival to L’Espalier even predates the restaurant’s thirty-year plus owner, Chef Frank McClelland. As Mâitre d’ for the past three decades, he has been integral in creating and maintaining the standard of excellence that has become synonymous with L’Espalier. In addition to maintaining harmony throughout the dining rooms and with the kitchen, Risoli’s intense passion for cheese has been the driving force behind the Grand Fromage, at L’Espalier since 1988, and the Cheese Tuesday program, which he and Chef McClelland initiated in 2002. A successful exhibiting artist in Boston for the last 25 years, Risoli’s artistic eye has been fundamental in preserving the look and feel of L’Espalier.