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Boulevard...thoughts?

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I was thinking of trying Boulevard in the next few weeks. The reviews out there have been pretty positive but I would hate to spend tons of $$$ for a mediocre meal. Any thoughts on this? Can you recommend something else in that area? Thanks!

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  1. http://www.chowhound.com/topics/431387

    1. I love Boulevard and can recommend it with confidence over anything else near it (geographicaly). Try searching the board for many posts on Boulevard.

      1. I was eager to try Boulevard and finally did so about a month ago. I came away wondering why people like it so much. The food was only okay (I had a pleasant beet salad to start, a wild salmon entree, and a caramelized angel food cake with roasted blossom bluff peaches and an ice cream I can't recall). Well, the salmon was okay but not nearly as interesting as it sounded or particularly flavorful, and the dessert was a big disappointment, more of an overly sweet, hard cornbread (hard to cut) rather than an angel food cake (too much caramelizing perhaps?). My husband's ravioli and lamb also sounded far better than they tasted, and the lamb chops arrived on a narrow plate that made cutting awkward. The service was rather amateurish, too, with an under-informed waitress who couldn't provide much guidance regarding food or wine but had to be prompted to ask whether we wanted to talk to the sommelier (who didn't come over for some time afterward). The timing of the courses' arrival was awkward, too: so quick for the appetizers that it was startling and then a long lag before the entrees. Given that entree prices are well over $30, I can think of many other places I'd rather go, and I'd be spending far less for better food and a better experience.

        1 Reply
        1. re: amydeastbay

          Although I've never had a problem with service, I've found the food is not as good as it used to be.. Currently, my splurge restaurant is Ame (you have to have the tempura poke). It is the total package: service, food, & ambiance. Next on my list of upscale restaurants to try is Myth.

        2. The food is solid, but not creative, innovative or consistent enough to warrant the high price tag. Great preparations of classic upscale cuisine like foie gras, sweetbreads, filet and rack of lamb. Other dishes such as salads, soups, vegetables and fish are often overpriced or poorly prepared. Desserts are way too sweet. It's somewhere I'd bring a guest who has a whole lot of money, likes an upscale setting, and is not the least bit adventerous.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Morton the Mousse

            ok..now I am not so sure. How about Chaya Brasserie? I think I am obsessing over this...

            1. re: tigersmom

              Although there are naysayers, the overwhelming preponderance of opinion on this board about Boulevard is that the food is excellent, the service is top notch, the wine list is great, and this all happens in a beautiful and inviting space. Every time I am asked for a safe fine dining recommendation for out of town visitors, I suggest Boulevard. No one has ever complained after a visit. I have eaten there more than 20 times and have had a few meals where I was slightly disappointed, a majority of meals where I was very satisfied, and looked forward to my next visit, and a few meals, where I was estatic and called all my friends. According to Zagat it is the most popular restaurant in the city. Try looking for a reservation on OpenTable and see for yourself . Take a look at the current menu on the website and see if the food appeals to you. http://www.boulevardrestaurant.com/me...

              Good luck. I hope you resolve your Hamlet-like dilemmas. And, Bon Appétit!

              1. re: Paul H

                "safe fine dining" is an apt description, which explains the mixed reviews.

              2. re: tigersmom

                I haven't been to Chaya Brasserie in a bit, but I thought it was average and would not bother to go back. I've had much better luck at Boulevard - and I've been there repeatedly. If you decide to skip Boulevard, why not consider Ame?

                1. re: dinnerout

                  Ame was poo-poo'ed...not sure why. I'll save that one for the next time I get to go out in 10 or 20 years! OK! Boulevard it is!! Thanks everyone for all your help and I'll let you know my thoughts after the fact.

                  1. re: tigersmom

                    Please do, Tigersmom... I'm one of the Boulevard nay-sayers and feel that are far superior restaurants in the city. Over Boulevard I would go to Myth, Incanto, Piperade, or Perbacco.

                    1. re: tigersmom

                      Part of your problem seems to be that you only go out once in 10 or 20 years. Every restaurant has off nights. Over the years, Boulevard has provided a number of real high points in my eating --- but I've had 3 "only very good" meals, to, perhaps, 8 best-ever meals - which is one of the higher hit rates.

                      That being said, it's been about 1.5 years since my last visit, and that was one of the 3 "very good" meals. There are restaurants I choose above Boulevard typically, but it remains in high rotation, partially because it's a little easier to get reservations than Gary Danko and Myth and some other spots.

                      Not to mention FL. If you've got a once-in-20-years meal, why isn't FL on the list?

                      It's a little unfair, and a little un-chowhound, to expect us to solve this problem you've made for yourself. What did SE Rykoff used to say?

                      1. re: bbulkow

                        I was being sarcastic.....

                        1. re: bbulkow

                          I think I have stated before -- I dine out three to four times a week and often more.

                          Since last Thursday, I have eaten at Bix, Poggio, Toraya, Harry's Bar, Range, Espetus, Clementine, and Juban. I'm in heavy rotation at the moment.

                          There is no problem for the CH community to solve on my account and it is far from "un-chowhound" for a perfect ray of sunshine to perpetually shine on a single restaurant. If I had as inconsistent a meals at other restaurants in the city, I would and will continue to remind people of those experiences as well.

                          I have said as much about Gary Danko; perfectly wonderful food but the menu has not changed in almost five years = no reason to return after five visits (one each year). I will beat the dead horse that I have eaten at Boulevard some half-a-dozen times and was underwhelmed each and every time. I'm sure I will be back as too many visiting guests wish to dine there. I will wait and pray for the day when I am as blown away as others seem to be.

                          1. re: Carrie 218

                            (note the re:tigersmom and arrow in the upper right corner of bbulkow's post means that is a reply is to tigersmom's posting)

                            -----
                            Boulevard Restaurant
                            1 Mission St., San Francisco, CA 94105

                            1. re: Melanie Wong

                              Ah - thanks...