Bar Boulud

January 2, 2010

Bar Boulud is Daniel Boulud’s newest restaurant located just across from Lincoln Center. I met up with L and B there for a pre-opera dinner. Bar Boulud has a split personality. On the one hand, Daniel Boulud is capitalizing on the newest trend, serving in-house cured meats, pates, and the like–all accompanied by a smart wine list with great wines by the glass. On the other hand, he offers quick and reasonable pre-fixe, pre-theater meals. The first concept soars, while the second concept tanks. I had read up on the place ahead of time and was forewarned by the reviews to steer clear of the entrees and head straight to the sides and charcuterie. L and B, however, were attached to the pre-fixe, that staple of theater dining. I ordered the celery root velouté for $12. The soup was rich, creamy, yet light. The celery leaf and toasted, sliced chestnuts  added  a lovely color to the cream  dish. L and B started their pre-fixe with a  salad of grapefruit and arugula that I make at home when I am in a rush. My next course was Compote de Joue de Boeuf, shredded slow-braised beef cheek onion confit and pistachio for $11. The compote had the visual texture of a giant corned beef, but the flavors were smooth and light. If I hadn’t been with L and B, and they weren’t so nervous about getting to the Met on time, I might have ordered more. Instead, I consumed the beet salad. The beets were lovely, the dressing salty, and the fried shallots, likely days old. I know the beet salad is the boring thing to order, but I was under various constraints. To accompany beef cheeks and beets, I drank a glass of the damilano nebbiolo d’alba
for $12. L and B had the cassoulet, which looked like something from a high-end museum cafe. The meat was grey and overly fatty. I couldn’t bring myself to try the dish. I ate L’s ice cream for dessert. The chocolate and vanilla were boring, but the clementine was much lovelier.

All in all, if you have to eat near Lincoln Center, this is a great choice if you order right. Otherwise, if you are on the upper west side and want to nosh on charcuterie and drink some excellent wines by the glass, sit at the communal table and enjoy.

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