On Saturday night my husband and I were walking past Lincoln Center and he said, "Why don't we see if we can get a table at Bar Boulud?" It was 5:45pm on a Saturday night. Highly unlikely, I thought. Imagine my surprise and delight to discover that while the dining room was completely full, the terrace and bar are "first come first served." We settled into a table for two.
The service is always excellent at Bar Boulud, but I hadn't been overly impressed with the food the last time I went. It was fine, but not extraordinary. But I was ready to have my opinion changed.
I had the foie gras appetizer special, served with currants and a bit of brioche. It was very smooth and rich and surprisingly light -- if that's possible for foie gras. My husband had the beef cheek, which was plated with frisee, cornichons, and a dash of mustard. And served with a side of country bread. I personally like a little more mustard, but I understand that they don't want the condiment to overwhelm the flavor of the beef cheek. It was delicious. I have always felt that the appetizers are often superior to the entrees at Bar Boulud. I therefore wonder why we never just get appetizers?
My husband had the coq au vin for his entrée. It was served with hand rolled pasta and hearty chunks of smoked lardon and really quite delicious. The meat was well flavored and the texture was lovely. Though, he did manage to splash the sauce all over himself more than once. I'll chalk that down to poor knife technique rather than the chicken not falling off the bone quite enough. I had an entrée from the three-course prix fixe menu -- I always like it when restaurants allow you to order á la carte from their prix fixe menu -- mussels in a green curry sauce with white sausage.
The sausage was extraordinary! The green curry sauce was surprising. I'm not sure that I really liked it. And I found some of the mussels a little less cooked than I would have liked and with a few more beards than there should have been.
On the side we had an order of pommes frite and cauliflower gratin. Both were very good. Gratin has a tendency to be greasy -- all that melted cheese -- but this one was lovely. And Bar Boulud's skinny fries are always delicious, though a bit oversalted for my taste.
We were running to a movie, so no time for dessert.
Overall it was a lovely dinner. I enjoyed the casual atmosphere of eating outside. And I'm thinking that the next time I go to Bar Boulud I'll probably order several appetizers.