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May 16, 2011 02:22 PM

Boulud Sud dinner review

After much anticipation for the newest Boulud ventures in our neighborhood, the husband and I tried Boulud Sud last Friday evening for dinner. The night before I had picked up from Epicerie Boulud around the corner and was somewhat dissappointed - more on that in another post.

Service at Boulud Sud was polished and professional - props for a well-trained staff on the 4th-ish night of dinner service. On to the food... We were served the complimentary bread with olive oil poured over a plate with a bit of rosemary and salt - nice touch. We started with the Tomato and Sheeps Milk Cheese small plate, which consisted of whipped ricotta and oregano (fantastic), pan con tomate (good - nothing special), and grilled manouri cheese with tomato confit (the weakest link). The size was good for sharing among the 2 of us.

Next was the stuffed squid and the harissa spiced mussels. The squid was served in a (stewed?) tomato sauce and was stuffed with chorizo, rice and swiss chard. Although Valencia rice is supposed to be slightly sticky, I found the rice a little too sticky and didn't enjoy the crunchy/chewy/sticky textural component. The mussels were served without their shells and were quite delicious; very plump and flavorful/well spiced. We used the bread to mop up the sauces of both dishes.

For our main courses we had the grilled scallops and the grilled short rib on the bone. The scallops were also served in a stewed tomato sauce, but by this point I had enough of this sauce. After the tomato small plate and mopping up the tomato sauce from the squid dish, the stewed tomato sauce served here felt tired and one-note. The scallops were well cooked however. The short ribs were very meaty and delicious; the only word I can think of to describe them is "heady." The portion was quite substantial as well. Probably my favorite dish of the night, followed by the mussels, then the ricotta. Oh, and we also ordered a side of potatoes.

The evening was good, not great. I think I was expecting more from this restaurant. The menu seems too large to me, some flavors from the different dishes we ordered seemed too similar/repetitive. We will be back, but will order more carefully (keeping the repeating flavors thing in mind).

Boulud Sud
20 W 64th St, New York, NY 10023

Epicerie Boulud
1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

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  1. Agree with skgchow. Went there last night with a buddy and we treated it as a tapas place and got a variety of appetizers, no main courses.
    Started with Cured Spanish Anchovies (with fennel and crispy socca): so, the anchovies had no pop, the fennel didn't come through, and there was just no joy.
    Considerably better was the Sea Urchin and Crab Tartine (green olives, lemon cream, seaweed rye bread)--The crab was peekytoe and was fresh and sweet, and the lemon cream was lovely, but the urchin was a faint taste, as if they were afraid too much flavor would shock their customers. And the olives were illusive. It was quite good, but lacked the wow factor.
    We then had a meaty assortment:
    -Vitello Tonnato (celery, anchovies, capers): excellent rendition of a classic dish, well modernized. Little delicate, tender veal bundles wrapped around concentrated centers of anchovy and caper flavor. Quite excellent.
    -Duck Leg Kataifi (date chutney): good concept, terrible execution. Tasted like a fancy version of pigs in blanket with a mediocre date chutney and a slightly soggy outer crust. Really?
    -Rabbit Porchetta (asparagus, basil): this is a modification of a Tuscan recipe, where the rabbit is cooked in vinegar, garlic, and fennel and wrapped in prosciutto. In this version, it came out as a dense terrine and was first rate. The rabbit flavor came through well, as did the fennel, the lovely hint of pork, and the bite of the vinegar--excellent little dish.
    -Capretto Orecchiette (baby goat ragout & wild garlic). Hmm. Maybe the goat was such a baby that it had no flavor. And this was the tamest wild garlic I ever had. Boring dish.
    So, on the whole, kind of a yawn. Nothing was really bad, but only a few things were particularly good, and with the exception of the rabbit porchetta, nothing I would ever go back for. Plus, the room looks like a very large VIP airport lounge. Not very conducive to intimacy.
    Net result: more trips for me to Txikito, where the small dishes always wow, and the atmosphere is warm and friendly.

    240 9th Ave, New York, NY 10001

    1. Here is New York Magazine's review.

      I've only been once but enjoyed it, even though it's not (and perhaps isn't intended to be) on the same level as Picholiine or Lincoln. But it's a great alternative to Bar Boulud, Nougatine, and Telepan in the neighborhood.

        1. I finally tried this, and I agree with this review. I am a big fan of Cafe Boulud, Bar Boulud, Daniel, Bar Pleiades, and even really like Epicerie Boulud. But this place feels like a ripoff. The prices are high for what often amounts to pretty simple food, and just as often amounts to ho-hum food. If these were tapas prices I would say it's good, but my wife paid $35 for four small, tough and largely flavorless medallions of lamb loin. Their entrees usually have no starch, and side dishes run another ten bucks apiece. It actually turned out that the best things they served us were the cheapest. The drinks here are very good, but that quality again comes at a price. It's funny, all his places are this expensive, but it really didn't seem worth it at this one. We had the fried artichokes (they didn't trim them enough, so we had to spit out tough leaves, plus they were bland), the anchovy escabeche (tasted primarily like vinegar), the spiced duck leg (pretty good, actually. Crispy and gamey.) the baby goat orecchiette (the best thing we had), the lava lake lamb (Pfft. Insulting.) and I had the chicken tagine, which amounted to stewed tomatoes and olives with a sous vide chicken breast and a chicken leg, which was fine but unexciting, and downright terrible compared to the chicken Telepan serves nearby. When the best thing you serve is the bread, there's a problem. We paid $80 apiece without having expensive wine or dessert. In this neighborhood alone there are better options.

          Cafe Boulud
          20 East 76th St., New York, NY 10021

          72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023

          Bar Boulud
          1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

          Bar Pleiades
          20 E 76th St, New York, NY 10021

          Epicerie Boulud
          1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023