This was a great day for food!
A spur-of-the-moment lunch at the gorgeous L'Espelier. We'd walked by the day before and took a look at the menu. It was calling to me this morning, so we stopped by when they opened to see if they had a free table. To our delight, they did. What followed was one of those memorable "moments in food" that you remember and treasure.
To begin with the room is beautiful, and we were shown to a table overlooking the bustling street scene below -- good street theater.
We were first served great bread -- a small brioche and (my favorite) a buttery soft pretzel.
Amuses were tiny eclairs filled with runny smoke Gouda (I could have eaten a basket of these) and Arugula Financiers ( a bit odd, but we agreed that we liked them).
We each started with 2 oysters, 1 Wellfleet and 1 Island Creek, both topped with Champagne Foam and Caviar. These were really nice, briny and fresh. We agreed that we prefer the Island Creek.
My daughter had the Halibut served with vegetables in a flavorful fumet. I had the Sea Bass with bay scallops and smoked potatoes (intriguing). Both were excellent. We shared a half bottle of Trimbach Pinot Gris, which worked well.
Finished with a first-rate selection of cheeses from their ample cheese cart. We ended up with all Vermont cheeses, as I wanted to try those I was unfamiliar with. MY favorites were the Coupole and Bayley Hazen. I will be on the look-out for these in the future.
Dinner was at Island Creek Oyster Bar. We weren't exactly hungry, but we managed to put away a Seafood Platter consisting of Island Creek Oysters, Clams on the half shell, Crudo, huge shrimp, and lobster. Everything was super-fresh. We then split an order of fried clams, the real-deal belly clams, not the insipid strips one finds so many places in the U.S. My daughter's boyfriend had the Crispy Oyster Sliders, which he pronounced first-rate.
Place was hopping, but the service was excellent, and you could hear your dining companions talk. Not a place to linger, however, as folks are always waiting for a table. Maybe move on elsewhere for coffee and dessert.