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what can you tell me about Boulevard?

  • j

my wife and i will be in SF for one night - i've heard Blvd or Aqua -- thoughts??

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  1. Boulevard is one of the most popular spots in SF, presumably great for business dinners. Menu reads well, but food rarely delivers on expectations. I have ordered dishes that were missing items that were listed on menu. Prices are misleading. The menu is not set up like Gary Danko, La Folie, or any other tasting menu, but you will spend just as much. You should seriously consider La Folie. Excellent food and chef Passot on premises. A great experience. It mystifies me why La Folie is thought of as "special occasion" by so many who go every 5 years, but Boulevard, Aqua, Danko are frequented multiple times annuallly.

    1 Reply
    1. re: eric

      I would suggest that the chefs at the more popular restaurants better understand what their customer likes to eat and what dining experience they are seeking. And that is why their customer returns frequently.

      IMO, La Folie can be intimidating with its three menus and food choices. I feel the menu at Boulevard is designed to make its guest very comfortable. Look again at the menus and its quite apparent,at least to me.

      Boulevard: Halibut, Cod, Seabass, Pork, Lamb, Duck and Filet.

      La Folie: Black Bass, Sturgeon, Rouget, Duck, Rabbit, Sweetbread, Venison, Tenderloin. And that's just the "standard" menu, am I missing the really good stuff on L'Aventure?

      I am sure La Folie delivers excellent food and experience, but just because they have similar price points, doesn't mean they are easy substitutes. I would not hesitate to recommend Boulevard to anyone seeking a fine dining experience in the city.

    2. a
      Andrew Copeland

      I would HIGHLY recommend Boulevard. The overall quality of the food is excellent, and it lacks the pretension that other restaurants may have. I loved my last meal there, and I thought the only weak part was dessert, which was only mediocre. Overall, a wonderful experience (ask for a table with a view of the bridge)!

      I haven't been to Aqua, so I can't say anything on that restaurant.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Andrew Copeland

        How can mediocre be acceptable for any part of a meal when paying those prices? Boulevard reached its peak about 7 or 8 years ago and has slowly been declining since. There is nothing pretentious about La Folie. There is nothing but sincere, gracious service and extremely generous portions of outstanding food.

        1. re: eric

          Well, I can't argue about your experiences, but the dinner I had there a couple of months ago was the best I've ever had at Boulevard since the place opened in its current location. And it's one of the most beautiful dining rooms in town, with terrific service and a great buzz. I love La Folie, very much, and agree 100% about its sincerity and graciousness, but it doesn't say San Francisco to me the way Boulevard does.

          For the OP, Aqua is another beautiful space, with excellent food and service, but iI find it somewhat hard-edged and corporate feeling, better suited to power lunching than fun dining. I'd vote for Boulevard.

          1. re: eric
            a
            Andrew Copeland

            Mediocre in terms of good restaurants. Also, I wouldn't get the dessert I did get from there if I went again. I thought the wine suggested went well with the meal, the appetizer truly did whet the palette with a variety of flavors, and the entree was perfectly prepared. I was very impressed by the portion size, and the service was nothing but friendly and helpful without being overbearing.

            1. re: Andrew Copeland

              What dessert did you have (so others can avoid).

              Edited: Oops, didn't notice that I replied to a 3-year old comment.

        2. m
          Morton the Mousse

          I love Boulevard. The wood fire oven roasted rack of lamb is the best preparation of lamb I've ever had, and I order the lamb everywhere I go.

          I went during the peak of cherry season and was thrilled with both the foie gras paired with cherries and the dessert: cherries, cherries, cherries.

          1. loud and touristy and way overpriced!

            1. I think it has been slipping of late. Have been taken there for two business meetings, one lunch and one dinner during the last 4 weeks. During the lunch I had the duck burger which was good but the accompanying fried potatoes tasted horribly of rancid oil. Had a green godess salad as an appetizer and the lettuce was wilting and had oxidized ribs which I think is unacceptable. Service was functional but long gaps of our server disappearing.

              Dinner was not much better-- the tomatoes in my appetizer were mealy heirlooms (how do they manage to find mealy heirlooms at peak tomato season?)and the pork chop was cooked to shoe leather consistency eventhough I asked for it to be medium as I dislike overcooked pork. At hight $30's to low $40 for main courses all I kept thinking was that I am glad I was not paying... I think it is a bad sign when you don't like a restaurant of Boulevard's caliber even when dining for free. It was sad, as I had a very good dinner at Boulevard about 1 1/2 years ago.

              For less money, you will eat better at Myth and if you are seaking great ingredients rather than creative cuisine which is basically what Boulevard is known for, head over to Chez Panisse instead.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Amy G

                >>> the tomatoes in my appetizer were mealy heirlooms (how do they manage to find mealy heirlooms at peak tomato season? <<<

                My complaint EXACTLY for ALL the restaurants. According to a recent thread, the weather has not been kind to tomatoes this year. WHY high-end restaurants put them on the menu is beyond me. I don't mind spending ten bucks for a plate of tomatoes, but if you charge that, those tomatoes better be astounding.

                Anyway, I've never been been a Boulevard fan ... or Aqua. I would say that Ron Siegel at The Dining Room at the Ritz is as good as it gets at this time. I might go back just to try what he's doing with summer produce. I liked Michael Minna too, but not as much.

                Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                1. re: rworange

                  I agree. Early Girls from Mariquita and Dirty Girl farms that I have in salads at Rubicon, Incanto, Luella, and A16 have been excellent. I rather that restaurants use great common early girls than mediocre heirlooms. I have had good heirlooms from Ella Bella this year so they are out there.