Café Fleuri: A Culinary Gem Tucked Away in The Langham Boston

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Posted March 26, 2014 by Stephanie Rineman in Dining Downtown: Restaurant Reviews
The Vermont Gorgonzola pear tart

You may have heard of Café Fleuri and its weekly Chocolate Bar, but after making a trip here during a weekday lunch hour, it is clear that this café is more than just a place for weekend gatherings and special occasions. This establishment, located right in the heart of downtown Boston, has plenty to offer for an upscale breakfast or lunch.

Upon spotting the red awnings of The Langham Boston hotel, formerly the Federal Reserve Bank, I step inside the elegant lobby and lounge. I had never been in this hotel before, and I immediately wonder why. The Reserve, just to the left of the entrance, is classy and comfortable, the perfect place to relax while enjoying a glass of wine. Café Fleuri, however, is not quite as easy to find. On a whim, I take the corridor straight ahead from the entrance and spot a small sign for the cafe out of the corner of my eye. To the left and up the stairs, and I have arrived.

Even on a somewhat gloomy winter day, the atrium ceilings allow plenty of light to stream in on the white-clothed tables below. The space is large and lofty, and the lunchtime crowd is decidedly professional.

From the moment I arrive, the service is quick and attentive. I am seated immediately, and soon after, I am given a rundown of the specials, all of which sound delicious. In the end, however, I stick with a few of the regular menu offerings. The cafe’s cuisine is “contemporary New England,” with executive chef Mark Sapienza, a Boston native, basing his menu around locally sourced foods from farmers and artisan food purveyors.

The Langham Burger at Café Fleuri features ham and fried egg.

Langham Burger, mouthwateringly stacked with ham and fried egg. Photo Credit: Stephanie Rineman

I start off the with the corn flour fried point Judith calamari, which comes out lightly battered and tender, a nice pairing with the accompanying aioli. The fried pickled peppers that come with it are a bit too hot for my liking, but would surely satisfy a stronger palette. The Vermont Gorgonzola pear tart could not have been a more perfect kind of comfort food to combat the lingering frigid temperatures outside. Warm and hearty, it combines wholesome pear and cheese with the lightness of arugula—plus, a nice pop of flavor from whole pomegranate seeds puts it just over the edge.

Because I can never resist a good burger, I decide to try out the namesake Langham Burger, mouthwateringly stacked with ham and fried egg. This burger has no need for condiments; the ingredients speak for themselves, with the slightly runny yolk providing a nice balance in texture. This dish comes with seasoned, crispy French fries and homemade onion rings that actually melt in your mouth.

It may only be 1:00 p.m., but I just had to try something from the drink menu. All drinks come from BOND, the chic restaurant and nightclub inside The Langham. I try the Deviation, which is a mixture of tequila, lime juice, cilantro, and watermelon soda. I end up leaving most of it on the table when I leave. Its flavor combination has potential, but the drink is very, very strong.

Café Fleuri is open from 6:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7:00 to 11:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. On Sundays, the cafe offers its City Brunch from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., serving an extensive buffet with local seafood and other New England specialties.

And now back to the Chocolate Bar, because I know you’ve been thinking about it since it was first mentioned. From 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. each Saturday, The Langham turns into a Willy Wonka-like dreamland for chocoholics, featuring a buffet with anything and everything you can imagine. Calling the Chocolate Bar “decadent” would be an understatement.

Whenever I travel or am at home, I tend to avoid hotel cuisine. Although convenient, it also tends to be overpriced and mediocre, at best. The Langham’s Café Fleuri is neither of these things. Offering delicious dishes seven days a week, this café is a gem for travelers and locals alike.

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