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Follow Up- Birthday Dinner at Boulevard

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DarkRose Mar 18, 2007 08:25 AM

A few weeks back, I posted a request for a good spot to celebrate my birthday with my partner, price being no object. The overwhelming response said Boulevard, and I am so glad that I went with that suggestion.

We arrived at the restaurant a little early, maybe ten minutes before our reservation, and were seated immediately. Our waiter was Jeff, and he was absolutely fantastic. My partner, being very picky, already knew what she wanted ahead of time, but I took a few moments to look over the offerings, torn between a few different ones. In the end, she went wih the mixed baby greens and roasted pear salad to start, followed by the filet. I chose the organic little gem salad and the pan roasted wild sea bass.

The salads arrived and were presented beautifully. My partner liked that the warm pears on her salad were placed atop the cheese and under the greens, warming both. My salad, an updated version of a caesar salad, was plated as a trefoil, with generous slices of parmesan and a light dressing, all very fresh and delicious.

The main courses arrived and were just as beautiful and delicious. My bass was tender and moist, topped by Dungeness crab thighs and accompanied by a spring pea risotto that was absolutely phenomenal - I wish I could have had a bit more of it! Her filet was cooked perfectly and was accompanied by shaved fingerling potatoes and a gratin of spinich crowned with gorgonzola, all of which I'm glad to say she enjoyed immensely.

Dessert offered us so many amazing options, I think it was more difficult for us to decide on that course than either of the first two. Finally, she went with the Cream Puffs! (their exclamation point, and it was well deserved ;) ) and I chose the Chocolate Truffle Cake. When we'd first arrived, we'd told Jeff that we were there to celebrate my birthday, and so when my cake arrived, it was topped with a lit candle and a chocolate plaque wishing me a happy birthday.

The cream puffs were accompanined by a pair of dipping sauces - huckleberry and chocolate caramel, and my cake with four small scoops of ice cream - butter pecan and chocolate with Irish whiskey. As with the previous courses, the desserts were fabulous. The cake was rich and lushious without being overly sweet or too cocoa-y.

The service was absolutely impeccable, attentive, but never hovering, and the courses came at a good pace. Portions were generous enough that we felt satisfied with them (though I'd still have liked more risotto, but that's really just because it was so darned good). And with two appetizers, two entrees, two desserts, a glass of wine, a Cosmo and tea service for two, the check came to only $170 before tip, which we both thought was more than reasonable.

Thank you again to eveyone who suggested Boulevard - dinner couldn't have been more perfect, and it helped make my birthday one of the more memorable ones I've had in recent years.

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  1. susancinsf RE: DarkRose Mar 18, 2007 08:46 AM

    Thanks for the report back; it is always nice to hear about a good experience.

    Cream Puffs! sound like they deserve the exclamation point. Caught my eye for sure. Was it a true cream filling (ie not custard)?

    Hmm....Cream Puffs....I was sick on my birthday this year and never really did get a true celebration...hmmm...:-)

    2 Replies
    1. re: susancinsf
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      DarkRose RE: susancinsf Mar 18, 2007 09:49 AM

      Not true cream, no. My partner said it was a custard almost the consistancy of creme brulee, which she liked as that is her favorite dessert.

      Now, that's just not right, being sick on your birthday. I certainly think you're in need of a celebratory dinner out *nods sagely*

      1. re: DarkRose
        susancinsf RE: DarkRose Mar 18, 2007 11:14 AM

        Oh, I absolutely agree...Not to worry, I've got one coming tonight. (though not at Boulevard). Will report later...

        I am one of the ones who has really enjoyed eating at the line counter at Boulevard. It is a great place to dine alone.

    2. Frosty Melon RE: DarkRose Mar 18, 2007 09:11 AM

      Nice report. Boulevard is so consistent, one of many reasons I love it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Frosty Melon
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        DarkRose RE: Frosty Melon Mar 18, 2007 09:58 AM

        I can understand why this place has such a loyal following. Great food, outstanding service, and even though they were busy and had a full house, the noise level was never so high that we couldn't easily hear one another, even though we were seated across from the line. I like that they have counter space facing the line - I think that'd be a fun way to spend the evening, watching them prepare the food right before you. :)

        1. re: DarkRose
          Frosty Melon RE: DarkRose Mar 18, 2007 10:28 AM

          Indeed, there are reports on this board from people enjoying just that.

      2. Ruth Lafler RE: DarkRose Mar 18, 2007 09:54 AM

        Great report! I'm curious what kind of tea service they offer -- I try to keep track of restaurants that serve tea properly.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler
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          DarkRose RE: Ruth Lafler Mar 18, 2007 10:07 AM

          Proper tea service at non tea-centric places can be iffy, can't they? Boulevard offers maybe a dozen choices, a mix of black teas, I think one green, and herbals. It's tea bags rather than loose, but they're more of a cheese cloth/mesh pouch rather than of the Lipton variety. I think the brand was Mightly Leaf, iirc. We both were given a proper Japanese cast iron pot of hot water, and it was all brought with the usual accompaniments - lemon wedges, cream (real cream, not just milk), sugar cubes and a variety of artificial sweeteners. Definitely one of the better tea services that I've had, outside of a tea lounge.

          For the record, I went with the Darjeeling, and my partner had Mint. She and I also stopped by Samovar at Yerba Buena Gardens yesterday. I'll post on that later when I have more time.

          1. re: DarkRose
            Ruth Lafler RE: DarkRose Mar 18, 2007 01:05 PM

            Sounds ... acceptable. Why restaurants can't serve loose tea, though, is beyond me. Some restaurants do it, so it's not impossible. Absinthe offers (or at least, it used to -- I haven't been there in a while) a selection of loose teas by the pot. Lalime's in Berkeley serves loose teas in those French-press type pots.

            What can I say? I hate dunking a tea bag in a pot of no-longer-boiling water, so it bugs me that so many high-end restaurants think that they're providing high-caliber tea service by providing fancier tea bags. Still, the newer styles of tea bags are a vast improvement over the days when high-end tea service meant proffering cheap tea bags in a fancy box!

            1. re: Ruth Lafler
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              DarkRose RE: Ruth Lafler Mar 18, 2007 09:19 PM

              I'm with you on hating the dunking. Also hate having to wait upwards of five minutes for the processed tea to develop, when a good loose tea takes much less. With you too on failing to undestand how tea bags offered in a fine, polished wood box makes them any better. It made me cringe when we requested tea service after our $125 per person New Year's prix fixe meal, only to be offered a choice of several Bigelow packets scattered about in a walnut wood box >_<

              1. re: DarkRose
                Ruth Lafler RE: DarkRose Mar 18, 2007 09:32 PM

                Yeah, I had that experience at Fleur de Lys. Those fancy wooden presentation boxes with tea bags are the most laughably clueless affectation I can think of.

                BTW, Happy Birthday! I'll make sure to report back on the tea service for my birthday dinner at Perbacco next week.

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          katg RE: DarkRose Mar 18, 2007 11:11 AM

          fantastic report! (and happy birthday) i'm always a fan of boulevard for it's views, food and service. the spring pea risotto sounds great.

          1 Reply
          1. re: katg
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            DarkRose RE: katg Mar 18, 2007 09:20 PM

            Thank you for the birthday wishes :) It ws really a fabulous day. If you have the chance (and funds) to make it to Boulevard soonish, the risotto would be worth the trip!

          2. grishnackh RE: DarkRose Mar 18, 2007 11:20 AM

            This place always tops Zagat's list of most popular restaurants for a reason, they are simply great at what they do.

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