Café Boulud, NYC 4

October 2, 2012

After we went to Café Boulud in 2006, I wrote a very negative blogpost. We were much happier when we returned there in 2007 on the invitation of John H and Françoise. Then I wrote, “The cuisine was well done without any lapses, easily meriting its high Michelin, Zagat and NYT ratings.” We went back in 2010 with mixed results. So we were curious how it would turn out when we dined there with John R on August 15, 2012.  

We were seated at a nice banquette along the side wall. For mid-August the clientèle was surprisingly sedate and well dressed, like us. It became younger as the evening progressed. This was a slice of  the view from my seat.

Hot arancini were delivered to start things off.

Having already had our apéritif at home, we skipped one here. We consulted with the sommelier about the extensive, very expensive wine list and ordered a bottle of 2007 Domaine Tollot-Beaut Beaune.

It had good, typical flavor and nice bouquet, but was not an assertive wine.
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John’s first course was
Foie Gras Torchon
poached peaches, Sauternes gelée, star anise crumble

He wrote, “The foie gras and the brioche served with it were of very good quality.  The accompaniments could have been more assertive.”

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Linda started with
Warm Vidalia Onion Velouté
chive beignets, smoked trout, spring onions

She wrote: “The velouté had a wonderful smokey flavor and taste.  Small pieces of smoked trout were at the bottom of the dish, coming up in spoonfuls of velouté to make an excellent combination. The chive beignets were light and very good. Bravo.”
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Mine was
Grilled Octopus
tarbais beans, wax beans, zucchini, preserved lemon

The octopus was quite meaty with a good flavor. There was a wide variety of diced vegetables etc underneath, adding a nice complexity to the octopus, which can get boring quickly if not enhanced.

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Linda went on to
Pan Roasted Stuffed Quail
chanterelle mushrooms, barley, carrots, natural jus

She wrote: “The perfectly-roasted quail was stuffed very appropriately with flavorful sautéed spinach. The carrots contrasted well with the chanterelles and barley. Excellent preparation and dish.”

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John and I had
Vermont Suckling Pig
fennel, fingerling potatoes, braised leg ragout, natural jus

The slices of suckling pig were luscious and very good. On top were slices of a spicy pig sausage. The fennel, frisée and onions underneath were a good textural offset. Excellent, copious and filling.

We had a side dish of
Tempura Fried Shishito Peppers
sweet soy vinaigrette

These were very well done. The grilling was just at the right level. The scallion shards, mint leaves etc mixed in added nice complexity.
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For dessert John and Linda had
Raspberry Mille Feuille
yogurt crémeux, puff pastry,  pistachio ice cream

Linda wrote: “The puff pastry was of an excellent consistency. The raspberries, raspberry
flavor and small cremeux balls went fabulously with it.”
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My dessert was
Green Market Plums
crème brulée, almond, mirabelle sorbet

The lightly braised seasonal plums were very nice, enhanced by two scoops of delicious sorbet of mirabelle, the eau-de-vie of small yellow plums. With this I had a glass of Royal Tokaji “Mad Cuvée,” a rich sweet dessert wine from Hungary.

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Instead of mignardises, we were given a basket of warm, fresh, light slightly lemony madeleines

This meal was very good in all respects. All of the courses were interesting, well composed and well executed. The service was good and the pace just right. The maître d’hôtel and the sommelier were friendly and helpful. We’ll be back.

The restaurant’s website:
http://www.danielnyc.com/cafebouludNY.html#intro

To see our other Café Boulud blogposts click here.

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