Birthday celebration - Bouley or Cafe Boulud?
Any thoughts on the two restaurants for a birthday celebration? Both have great reviews, but was wondering if there's anyone who's been to both who can make a comparison? Anyone know which place has better desserts/foie gras, and also which place is better value?
There are a couple of differences that I could find from my previous experiences:
- Bouley is more romantic and crowds tend to be mid-aged. Very elegant. Cafe Boulud is more for older crowds (like a lot of diners at 50s, 60s and above). Also very elegant and upscale.
- IMO Bouley has better foie gras; Cafe Boulud definitely beats Bouley in the dessert department (by a long mile)
- Both are able the same value. Bouley does give you a lot of freebies in between the courses, especially a lot of pre-desserts.
Are they really both the same value? The tasting menu at Bouley (5 courses) is currently at $95. The tasting menu at Cafe Boulud is $145 (I asked the person on the phone), although I'm not sure what it includes. It does seem like if you do a la carte at Cafe Boulud, it would cost less than $95 ($20 appetizer + $40 entree + $15 dessert), but it would only be 3 courses and I guess no freebies compared to Bouley. But we are a young couple (early 20s, so maybe Bouley is a more appropriate setting for us).
What do you mean by "no freebies" at Cafe Boulud? Meals there always start with an amuse, and at the end, there is that basket filled with those mind-blowing madeleines. Worth going there just for them!
I haven't been to Bouley, so I can't do a comparison. However, Cafe Boulud is a favorite of ours. The cuisine has always been superb, and the current excecutive chef, Gavin Kaysem, who arrived at the end of '07, continues that tradition. He is extremely talented, won this year's James Beard Award for Best Rising Chef, and is putting out food that is creative and truly delicious..
There have been recent posts on this board about extremely serious service flaws at Bouley. I can't imagine that ever happening at Cafe Boulud where service is always cordial and polished.