On a cold, rainy sunday evening this spring, the Count and I headed to Boulud Sud to celebrate our one year anniversary. It was to be the first Daniel Boulud dining experience for me and I was giddy at the thought.
We were warmly greeted by the hostess and promptly taken to our seat walking through the crowds of diners filling every seat in the large dining area. It was also our fist time dining on the Upper West Side which had a notably different and older crowd than the one we are use to seeing downtown. The beige paneled walls were covered with photographs inspired by impressionist painters, tables placed close to one another and covered in white linens giving an overall Mediterranean vibe.
The menu was broken down into three sections and subsections ranging in Mediterranean flavors from Sardinia, Greece, Tunisia, Morocco to Lebanon: ‘From the Garden’, ‘From the Sea’, and ‘From the Farm’. [See Menu].
The menu favored sharing many of the small plate dishes while ordering one larger entree to share. The first item that was brought out to us was a complimentary stack of crispy roman style artichoke hearts with a side of creamy aioli dipping sauce. The dish can be found under the subsection portion which includes a variety of Mediterranean mezzes (like the hummus and cauliflower tabbouleh). And while our taste buds were adjusting to the range of textures and flavors we were served one after another amazing plates. Some of the most notables of the night included the steak tartar which was possibly the most exquisite and distinctly Middle Eastern tasting piece of raw meat I’ve yet to taste.
The House-made Greek version of Taramasalata consisted of a smoked cod roe dip served with the most delicious dill covered potato chips. It was a delightful little treat and a great presentation of the traditional Taramasalata. For those who have a soft spot for sea urchins, the Sea Urchin and Crab Tartine should not be missed. Tender pieces of crab topped with sea urchin were served on tiny pieces of rye bread. Next on our list of orders for the night was the Octopus A la Plancha, grilled pieces of octopus served in a bed of almonds and arugula; the Lemon Saffron Linguini and Gambas al Ajillo.
From the farm side of the menu we ordered the Arabic Lamb Flatbread and were also served with the Harissa Spiced Beef Tartare. Both were quite exquisite. I guess I’m a big fan of the ‘harissa spice’ as this dish really did it for me.
The best part of the meal had to be the Grapefruit Givre served to us as a complimentary anniversary treat. The icy treat was made with grapefruit sorbet, and a topping of spun sesame halvah. It was so beautiful presented. The flavors were so intricate and so complex. I am certain I will never taste anything quite like it anywhere else.
Overall, I could not think of a better place than Boulud Sud to have spent our anniversary. The over the top service and friendly staff, and the amazing culinary experience made for the most perfect evening. After having the Boulud experience I’m afraid I will never be able to dine at another restaurant ever again… for my expectations have now raised dramatically.