I hit ester in Lower Mills with some friends last night. It was a very uneven experience.
The place was about half full when we arrived. From the get-go, everyone was super friendly and accommodating. They get high marks for that.
Their “cocktail program” was short and looked like most places’ these days. Their beer selection was good and I don’t recall much about the wine list. We ordered two martinis and two craft beers. The bartender needs to measure better as both martinis were short. They also served the wrong beer to one of my friends but she drank it anyway because she liked it.
The menu is ... very oddly conceived. And the actual menu needs work. It’s a paper take-out menu which lists several dishes as “coming soon.” Lacks description of ingredients and type of preparation for several items, necessitating some questioning of waitstaff. I think most was spelled correctly, at least (save for “corn” beef) :-)
There are more appetizers than entrees. No sandwiches except for meatloaf (more on that later). Something described as “baked white fish.” No burgers. No pasta (one is “coming soon,” though!). There are sliders, spaghetti and meatballs and fish tacos on the kids menu but they wont serve them to adults. Tongue tacos for we grownups. And the aforementioned "corn" beef and cabbage for $17 (yes, our neighborhood is really Irish but I bet most people would rather have a burger).
The food was hit or miss. Mostly the latter. The steak was said to be underseasoned and somewhat overcooked. The frites were yummy and crispy though. The meat board had an interesting selection but they left off the head cheese and it took forever to get them to bring us some. The pickled veggies were tasty. The arugula and radish salad was outstanding. The “meatloaf burger” was an unseasoned chunk of baked hamburger served on an oily brioche bun with cheese and “bacon jam.” The bacon jam was overwhelmed by 5 spice or star anise and tasted nothing like bacon. I hate star anise so that ruined the whole thing for me. The fries were great.
I couldn’t detect many changes from when it was the Ledge, except that they looked to have removed some of the tvs from the front bar area. Probably a questionable decision, IMO. But they had all the tvs tuned to the Celtics when the Sox were also playing and there were playoff hockey games going on, so they probably don’t know any better. One noticeable (and welcome) change was more diversity among the patrons and the staff. That was nice to see.
I’ll definitely give it another try because of how super friendly everyone was.
There are pics and a scanned menu on Eater today.