With no burst on to the Boston restaurant scene of pomp and circumstance “WE ARE NOW OPEN” famed Chef; Daniel Boulud opened Bar Boulud quietly and classically just a month or so ago. The “it” crowd of course knew about it and some were invited to the grand opening but to the local Bostonian it is still Asana and M-Bar at the Mandarin Hotel until you enter its doors and realize its quite different. For some this can take a moment as was proven by my friend who said… “wait, is this place different?”
I have been to Bar Boulud many times now and almost always alone. It’s just one of those places I felt immediately comfortable in and very much appreciate the solitude and people watching I get from the restaurant. I have enjoyed their tasty twist on the Croque Madame numerous lunch times while sat at the bar and have also cozied myself up in one of the corner round tables to enjoy a glass of White Burgundy after a day of shopping. One should always reward themselves after shopping I believe. You do also get to meet some very interesting people when dining alone like a very mature gentleman who said to me… a women half his age was the perfect age for him and then asked me out and the two French gentleman who delighted me no end with their personal travel stories from when they were in England. They said it’s a myth that the French do not the English or anyone for that matter :)… hmmm?
The décor is much brighter and more open than its predecessor and I have to say I like it. The bar is now long (rather than horseshoe shaped) and runs the length of the café dining area, while the restaurant seems much more open. There is also a lot more seating spaces to dine at now with open corner café tables, the bar and the bistro area in front of the Boylston Street window. I am still to dine in the actual restaurant area but given how much I enjoy the bar, I am not sure that will happen any time soon. The ceiling is very cool with wooden slats reminiscent of a separated wine barrel giving it a curved warm feel.
Their menu is French inspired with plates of Pate Grand-Pere, made with foie gras and truffles, gourmet burgers with confit pork belly and the Departed with Irish bacon, cheddar as well as Onion Soup made with Guinness.
This past Sunday early evening myself and two friends celebrated a birthday by dining at the bar. A super quiet evening as I am sure everyone was getting ready for a full week’s worth of work after a long break for Thanksgiving.
Our evening started with a bottle Aligote White Burgundy (a favorite), while we looked at the menu and caught up in each other’s lives and holiday plans. Even before we had ordered any food a decadent, outrageously good “Happy Birthday” dessert was delivered to our corner of the bar for my friend Kathryn. We sang her a happy birthday while the restaurant clientele looked on and smiled in our direction. What a fun way to start a meal… with dessert.
Airily, cheesy good choux pastry Gougères kicked off our evening of slightly lighter fare dishes.
Kathleen decided on the Onion Soup made with oxtail broth and Guinness. Filled with onions and complemented by a piece of toast with cheddar, she said it was fantastic and deserved more toast and cheese!
Kathryn and I decided to share the crab appetizer. A timbale of delicate, flavorful crab with a sauce of apple celery root poured over. This is now a favorite of mine.
We followed the crab with a huge bowl of steamed mussels soaked in a broth of white wine, leeks and crème fraîche. To say this dish is good is an understatement. We asked for two more servings of bread for the broth.
All three of us shared the perfectly crispy and salted on the outside, soft in the inside fries, which tasted even better dipped into our mussels’ broth.
Our evening continued with a final glass of wine and a chat with our bartenders. A lovely, quiet and tasty celebratory evening overall for my friend’s birthday.
There is no question that I will be back to Bar Boulud.