Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bar Boulud, New York

When Bar Boulud opened last year, I was disappointed. Not so much by the food (more on this below) but by the slow service and the behavior of the hostesses that kept you waiting for long minutes event though you had a reservation. But this got fixed and I must say I now derive a great pleasure from each of my visits.

The name might not ring a bell to you but one of Boulud's partners in this venture is Gilles Verot, whose charcuterie shops are among the finest in Paris and France. Gilles Verot has sent one his most trusted man, Sylvain Gasdon, to Bar Boulud to act as chef charcutier. And the results are outstanding. The award-winning fromage de tete (head cheese terrine) is simply divine. So are the pates that stand among the best I've ever had. The smooth and melting boudin blanc is also sublime while the truffle mashed potatoes coming with it are just perfect. I also strongly recommend the gateau basque in the dessert sections.

The rest of the menu is less impressive but, at the exception of the salmon dishes maybe, rather good (especially the croque monsieur/madame and the pappardelle with lamb ragu). And, not least, the quality is consistent from one visit to the other, which was already Boulud's trademark at Daniel, Cafe Boulud and DB Bistro Moderne.

In an nutshell, Bar Boulud is THE place in New York for great charcuterie. I know it is also supposed to be a wine bar but I haven't had a chance to drink too much there recently. In any event, the wine selection is large and interesting although wine by the glass does not offer a good bang for the buck in my opinion. Overall, although they are not unreasonable for New York, and in particular for a Boulud restaurant, prices are not cheap either. So I would suggest you pay Bar Boulud a visit for brunch on Sunday around 2pm. The waiters will be available and nice and you will pay only USD 29 for an appetizer and an entree (USD 38 if you add a dessert). And that, my friend foodie, is a great deal for phenomenal charcuterie.

Bar Boulud
1900 Broadway (64th Street)

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