In the heart of Manhattan’s Upper East Side, where tradition often meets the pinnacle of culinary innovation, Café Boulud has reopened its doors, promising an experience that is both familiar and freshly enchanting. Under the stewardship of Daniel Boulud, this bastion of French cuisine has long been a beacon for those seeking a blend of classic and contemporary flavors. The recent reopening is no exception, offering a tableau on which the city’s gastronomic aspirations are vividly painted.
Upon entering Café Boulud, one is immediately struck by the seamless fusion of elegance and comfort—a hallmark of the restaurant’s design ethos that encourages diners to surrender to the culinary journey that awaits. The service, led by the commendable Ivan, sets the stage with a warmth and professionalism that is both inviting and reassuring. From the moment you are seated, Ivan’s attentive, friendly, and amusing, yet unobtrusive manner, ensures that the dining experience is as smooth as it is memorable.
The meal begins with an opulent flourish: a caviar supplement priced at a princely $160. This indulgence is more than a mere appetizer; it is a statement of intent, showcasing the kitchen’s commitment to luxury without restraint. The bread service that follows is not to be overshadowed, offering an array of freshly baked, crusty loaves that are a testament to the art of simple pleasures.
The starters—a triumvirate of Hamachi Pistache-Grenade, Saumon à l’Avocat, and Homard à l’Aïoli—each tell their own story. The hamachi, with its nutty pistachio crust and pomegranate’s tart sweetness, dances on the palate, while the salmon, paired with creamy avocado, strikes a harmonious balance between richness and freshness. The lobster, bathed in a delicate aïoli, is a luxurious nod to the classics, executed with a precision that elevates it beyond the familiar.
Moving on to the mains, the Poulet Rôti Forestière and Blanquette de Veau are standout dishes that reaffirm Cafe Boulud’s prowess in rendering comfort food with haute cuisine finesse. The chicken, with its perfectly crisped skin and tender meat, is complemented by a rich, earthy mushroom sauce that whispers of the forest floor. The veal, tender and enveloped in a velvety sauce, is a dish that comforts as much as it impresses, reminding diners of the chef’s deft hand with traditional French recipes.
Dessert arrives as a trio of confections: a classic tarte tatin, a molten chocolate cake, and a marjolaine. Each dessert, in its own right, is a finale that could stand alone for accolades. The tarte tatin, with its caramelized apples and flaky crust, is a love letter to French patisserie. The molten chocolate cake, with its gooey center, is a rich and indulgent journey into the heart of cocoa. The marjolaine, a layered confection of nut meringue and chocolate, is a sophisticated and textured delight.
The wine selection, a 2017 Gevrey Chambertin from Domaine Taupenot-Merme, deserves its own moment of acclaim. Its earthy, smoky violet and truffle notes were not just an accompaniment but a beautifully woven thread through each course of our dinner, enhancing the flavors and elevating the experience to a symphony of taste and aroma.
No review of Café Boulud would be complete without a nod to the exquisite selection of cocktails and the wine list, curated with an expert hand by the sommelier. The chosen Gevrey Chambertin, thanks to the sommelier’s insightful recommendation, was not merely a beverage but a companion to the meal, enhancing each dish with its nuanced notes and harmonious pairings.
Underpinning the entire experience is the impeccable management of Laura Farissier, whose oversight ensures that Café Boulud remains more than just a restaurant; it is a haven of hospitality where every detail, from ambiance to the final sip of wine, is curated with intention and grace.
In its rebirth, Café Boulud reaffirms its place in New York’s culinary landscape, not merely as a restaurant but as a beacon of French cuisine that celebrates the art of fine dining. Through the lens of a French food lover, one might see this as not just a meal, but a symphonic experience that resonates long after the last bite has been savored, a reminder of the city’s enduring love affair with food that transcends the ordinary, orchestrated by a team whose passion for hospitality knows no bounds.
Awarding Café Boulud five-star rating is a testament to its unparalleled dining experience, where every detail is meticulously curated to transcend the expectations of even the most discerning palates. From the moment one steps into its elegantly appointed space, the warmth and professionalism of the staff set a new standard for hospitality. Café Boulud not only meets the gold standard of fine dining but redefines it, earning its five-star rating with every dish, every glass, and every moment shared within its walls.
Café Boulud can be found at 100 E 63 St, New York, NY | 212 772 2600