Boston: Ester

Let's Eat by Kitty Kaufman


Ester's in Dorchester with an intrepid kitchen. If you lived here you'd be home now. In addition to dishing, owner Eleanor Arpino is a farmer: there's a garden on the roof. It yields reds and greens, browns and whites. Today is not exactly what we call farming weather. Yet we know the yield is picture worthy. Vegetables aside, there's beer and cocktails from polished help: server Melissa Scofield's station is cozy and we're at a high top on the day after Thanksgiving. How can we go out the day after the night before? Easy, it's Friday. Julie and I want to resume what remains of normal. She recommends prosecco. I'll say. Normal is on the way to better footing.

ester calamari

Ester's Twitter head posts photos of everything they're growing. Not today, but in season you can look forward to their arugula, green beans, chard, carrots, kale, collards and peppers hot and sweet. Though it doesn't say, they must do chives and tomatoes. Anyway, vegetables aside, we start with calamari that comes hot and crisp, holding banana peppers, and taking their own tartar sauce, not from a jar. I don't always take go-withs. Still, someone went to the trouble to peel fresh tartar.

ester triple cheese

Julie's got an eye and her hands around the three cheese grilled sandwich with cheddar, provolone and goat cheese melted in a creamy puddle. A heap of fries comes dusted with grated parmesan. Really, as if fries aren't good enough, what did we do before chefs started frosting them? These have parmesan and parsley, rosemary, pepper and salt. We are seeing this everywhere and they not only look fancy but now, as if we needed incentive, they're more irresistible. Do not mention to anyone on Longwood Avenue that you're thinking of having this for lunch.

In the search for meatballs to write home about, there's Antonia's meatball sandwich. What's in it? Antonia works her magic on sauce and the proportions of beef to veal? Once you ask, they know you're not here for a casual meal. But we are here for a casual meal and we'd rather they don't know it's us. Though I'm pretty sure they do know. Sandwich-wise for you, there are Cubans, fish, burgers, and a harvest combination looks healthy what with onion, eggplant, red pepper, basil and goat cheese. There are lunches of salmon, chicken tenders, fajitas, steak frites, nachos and risotto with arugula, pesto and edamame.

Ester, now I know where you got your name. Aha, it has to do with where you are: “ester”, as in Dorchester, the city and Dorchester, the street. If Ester expands to Brookline, they could be "line." If they go to Andover, it's "over." Ester people, stay away from Barnstable, Seekonk, Mashpee and Montague. Yarmouth, too.


It's been more than 12 hours since we had pie so we're ready for fruit crisp. Melissa reports there are cranberries, blueberries and apples. It's hot and someone just made it. Chef Francis, maybe? The granola topping is not sweet, thanks, and neither is the fruit. Plus it comes with vanilla ice cream, in case you didn't get any last night on your pumpkin. It doesn't need it but it's berry nice just the same. Evenings there's live music, trivia and on snow days you may convince them to deliver.

January 2021: They closed a while back.
2261 Dorchester Ave
Dorchester, MA 02124
617. 698. 2261

© January 16, 2017 - - Julie Moffatt teaches dance and is always up for trying new places. Kitty Kaufman is a Boston writer. See more of their food and museum adventures at Corporate Edge and follow Kitty on Twitter
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