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Nov 16, 2008 11:12 AM

New Year's Eve Dinner at Boulevard ?

My wife and I are looking for a nice restaurant in SF to celebrate New Year's Eve. We would like to have a combination of great food and either leave the restaurant on time to walk to Embarcadero for watching the Fireworks, or (slightly preferred) stay in a restaurant that has a bay view. Boulevard looks compelling as it might offer both. Does anybody have experience with them for New Year's Eve in previous years, or has heard anything about their plans for this year ? We called yesterday, but the woman on the phone was not the friendliest person and seemed to mind giving out too much information when asked for more details. We learned that they offer a first (6-8 pm) and second seating (8-10:30 pm) - we would be interested in the second seating - it was very unclear if they would have live music, a champagne toast, etc. Does anybody know of more details ?

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  1. I had dinner at Boulevard tonight for the first time in a couple of years. Although I am sure service and atmosphere would be great on New Year's Eve, I have to say the food has gone downhill. I had the wild mushroom bisque and Pekin Duck, and they sort of reminded me of Spruce -- safe, unobjectionable, but not special. I have eaten at Boulevard so many times over the years and the food was exceptional. For dessert I had a peanut butter/chocolate bon bon, mainly because it was little and I wasn't very hungry (took a bunch of the duck home for my dog, which I NEVER do when I love the food). Couldn't taste any peanut butter in the ice cream, so I mentioned it to the waitress -- they comped me, but that wasn't the point. Very disappointing all around. Fortunately, my guests were 84 and 92 so they thought it was great. They also liked the food at the Embassy Suites where they were staying.

    2 Replies
    1. re: goingoutagain

      I'm not a fan of Boulevard, but my experience is that one or two days after a major holiday, the kitchen can be off no matter how good the place. Last year someone slammed Chez Panisse when they ate there the day after Christmas.

      1. re: rworange

        Count me as a Boulevard detractor as well and while Truffle Dog can tout the view, you aren't going to see much of a view at nighttime when it is dark...

    2. I love Boulevard and find the food consistently excellent but keep in mind that only a few of the tables have bay views. Might be tough to be sure you're going to get one of them, especially considering your experience with their reservationist. I guess you'd always have the option of going out to the Embarcadero after dinner if you didn't have a good table...

      1. NYE is a funny day to have dinner. I've heard more horror stories about it then any other special day, even Valentine's Day, in particular the 2nd seating. Of course horror stories tend to show up more often but it's still worth mentioning.

        I think the thing is, most places usually don't stay open past 10-11, so serving until 2 a.m. is different and yet it's probably a full house, full of well lubricated patrons with big expectations. Add in the staff probably don't really want to be there, and you have.

        Any way, don't mean to be a buzzkill, just fair warning. This will give you an idea however, Opentable's listing for NYE:

        4 Replies
        1. re: ML8000

          I agree that NYE can be an interesting day for dinner but we are just visiting SF and Napa area (and planning to have a lot of good food, e.g. Cyrus, Ubuntu, Ad Hoc, Santi, Aziza, Albona and a few more) and have no other choice on NYE.
          In the moment we are looking at a place which is reasonable close to our hotel (Nob Hill/Union Square area) which gives us the chance to go out to the Emvarbadero after dinner. We found so far:

          Quince: 5-course $175
          Ame: 4-5-course $150
          Boulevard: 3-4 course $175
          Fifth Floor: 5 course $150

          Any other recommendation we overlooked so far ? Which of these restaurants has the best food and service ?

          1. re: honkman

            My experience with Boulevard is same as most above, and Fifth Floor is really spotty - can have very obnoxious service. Ame is wonderful on a regular day. I haven't been but have heard great reviews of Quince. I had dinner on NYE at Jardinere a few years back it was fabulous food and service - $$$$$ without wine. Fixed menu with no choices which freaked out my less adventurous pals. If you like steak/chops for a break I would recommend Acme Chop House which is excellent food, top service and walking to fireworks views is easy. Same exec chef as Jardinere - tracy des jardins - and great organic food - and includes fish as well as chops. They are in the baseball park, so it can be fun to walk over to the Embarcadero.

            1. re: Redorr

              I love Boulevard. I've always found the food to be very good and often excellent. I've never had a problem with the service, and I love the festive room and atmosphere. Boulevard is a very bustling sophisticated place. Additionally, they have a great reasonably-priced wine list featuring a lot of small, artisan producers.

              Quince is a very good restaurant, but it won't be as festive on New Years Eve. Acme Chophouse is solid (I'm going there tonight) but it is no where near the sophistication of food, service atmosphere and clientele you will find at Boulevard.

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

            2. re: honkman

              The only place I haven't been to is Ame...but from what I hear, it's the most interesting of the bunch right now.