Speakeasy style, the entrance to this hipster Boston supper club isn’t obvious. Tucked in an unassuming black building on a dead end pedestrian way and in and through a not-so-sexy door and hallway, Yvonne’s glittering chandeliers, velvet and cow hide furnishings, marble long bar, and pop-art appear, seemingly out of nowhere. It takes a minute to establish time and place.
Yvonne’s took over the century old, Locke-Ober space in Downtown Crossing. With a wink and a nod to its Brahmin predecessor, current owners abandon the stuffiness and grand trappings of this eating institution that, like the Ivy League, was a males only institution until the 1970’s and opts instead for modern opulent “come hither” playfulness.
Taking its name from the painting of a half naked woman that graced the entryway of the former restaurant for more than 130 years, and paying homage to the former institution’s most famous guest, Yvonne’s has library seating that juxtaposes a Bostonian love of books and all things intellectual with a tattooed JFK painting hung between paintings of Jackie Kennedy with a knife through her heart and Marilyn Monroe telling all who dare judge, not so subtlety, to **ck off.
Oh, this is a restaurant, right? Settle in and again wonder exactly where you are. The menu is a journey through Latin American, New England, Middle Eastern, Asian, and European inspired “social plates”. A trend toward sharing food and ordering smaller portions makes for a more fun for all experience. Don’t miss the "Seared Halloumi Cheese” (a textural treat with Cyprian grilled chewy cheese, fried crunchy chickpeas, creamy charred eggplant, and sticky orange blossom honey), or the “Bavette Steak Mirabeau” (a melting full flavored flap meat cut prepared French style with white anchovy butter, marrow toast and green olives caramelized in sherry and sugar). Still hungry? The “Crispy Tater Tots” (Joppiesaus Farm House Gouda with Beet Pickled Egg) have been on the menu since its debut, and any of the stone fired pita pizzas will provide a flavor forward, trendy fill up.
One of Boston’s best, make a reservation well in advance, or be content with a first come, first served seat at the bar in the Library. Don’t forget to stare into Clint Eastwood’s baby blues in the painting directly across from the bar. This is a place to linger, eat, and imbibe a worth-the-price cocktail where Boston’s past and present collide in a colorful, first-class, hot spot.