I own a small shop in the Hotel Commonwealth. Soon after I opened my store, four years ago, plans got under way for a massive space in the Hotel right next door to me. When I say massive, I mean it really is the size of a stadium sized soccer field. The space was huge but it was also cavernous. I would ride the elevator up to just check out the space and stand in awe. It was kinda like looking into the Grand Canyon of retail leasing space. It was raw area and didn't have anything covering it's cement foundation or gray metal walls. It was truly bare bones and sometimes it's hard for me to still remember what that space looked like before it became Eastern Standard.
Before Eastern Standard opened, there was only Great Bay for dining in the Hotel. It was a fine place to have a good meal. It's still there and because the original chef is gone, some of the magic is really gone too. I've been told that they do a great brunch and only do it for big holidays. But I haven't been back since Jeremy (the chef) left. He was part of the charm. His food was simple, honest and good. He now owns Lineage in Brookline and I adore that spot as well. I'm sure I'll get around to reviewing it sometime soon. So the Hotel only had Great Bay and it was fairly good.
Eastern Standard opened and I won't lie. The first few times I went I was rather disappointed. The food seemed rather heavy, salty and boring. The cavernous space I use to sneak into to gaze upon was transformed into a dark walnut and burgundy leather sorta bistro with a beautiful marble bar and lovely over sized photo pictures on it's dark walls. It was lush and dark. It was lovely space. And so it happened that 9 times out of 10 my friend Caroline (who also owned a store in the Hotel) and I would opt to go to ES for comfort food after work. We kinda gave up on Great Bay and made ES our place. And maybe because we got so use to feeling at home at ES or maybe because the food truly got better, it began to top my list of places to eat/drink/meet friends. Perhaps I became more accepting that I wasn't ever going to have "diet" fare at ES but came to accept that the food would always be on the heavy side with salt and butter galore. And anyone who knows me, knows I'm not one to say no to either of those things!
I certainly became more trusting with my food choices. And the chef that opened ES, this really sweet tattooed kid name Jamie, certainly knew his way around offal and other random offerings. Liver, sweet breads and I think marrow were pretty consistent offerings on the menu. I had the marrow once and it was dreamy. Think butter but with meaty flavor and amplify that 100% over and you have marrow.
Jamie has since moved onto greener pastures and Caroline has moved away as well. But one thing stays the same. I still go to ES when I need comfort in the form of food and atmosphere. Before we ever even met, I think my fiancé already liked ES quite a bit. But her affection for it grew when she realized that the Sazerac was a regular bar offering. In fact, ES has become the place to go for amazing cocktails and our friends Ian and Garry are regulars at the bar. They are folks who enjoy a beautifully made drink. So ES will always be on my list of places to go. I know I'll always find something I like and I also know it will be sure to impress my cocktail guzzling pals as well.