Has Boulevard Cafe gone downhill?
I went with my parents and husband to the Boulevard Cafe a few nights ago, and was greatly disappointed. This has long been an old and classic standby on Harbord St., and while I recognize that the food isn't exactly authentic Peruvian, it used to at least serve delicious fish in a nice ambience.
Ambience-wise all was well, and we sat on the patio which was as pleasant as ever on a warm summer's eve. Our server was also great. But the food was a real disappointment, and it came at a hefty price. We ordered ceviche for appetizer, and then three of us ordered the red snapper special, and one of us ordered the lamb special.
Our white wine arrived practically at room temperature. After complaining about this, the server claimed that it came straight from the freezer then the refrigerator. However, they did promptly replace our bottle with a properly chilled bottle.
The ceviche tasted dry and lacked the pleasure of really fresh tasting seafood. The grilled whole red snapper was even worse. It was soft on the outside and mushy on the inside. The taste was dreggy. A freshly grilled whole red snapper should be crispy on the outside and flaky on the inside. Frankly, I suspect the fish was several days old. It's a mystery to me how it wasn't even crispy on the outside. I told the server I wasn't happy with it, and she promptly offered to replace it with something else. I ordered another special, this time the grilled rainbow trout. This was somewhat better, but again, it just did not taste fresh. My husband's order of lamb was also better than the red snapper, however the sauce was unbelievably salty. The dessert, their cake-like Alfajor, was the best dish of the night. The slice of Alfajor with dolce de leche was gooey and crumbly all at once.
All told, this was not a meal worth $250 (for four people, with tax and tip). Next time I'd rather buy some fresh fish and throw it on the BBQ, plus make sure I chill my white wine in advance. They were professional in their service and tried to do us right, but I'm sorry that one of my family's standby restaurants for special occasions appears to have lost its magic in the kitchen.