ATXReview

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Bulevar Mexican Kitchen image
8.3

Bulevar Mexican Kitchen

MexicanSteaks

The ArboretumNorth Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good CocktailsDate Night
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It’s no surprise that children often end up a little like their parents, usually falling somewhere in the middle, and Bulevar is no exception. It’s from the folks responsible for the always busy downtown spots ATX Cocina and Red Ash, and Bulevar pulls almost equally from the two. There’s the one parent who loves a good dry-aged steak grilled over a wood fire (Red Ash), and the other who enjoys classic and bold Mexican flavors (ATX Cocina). The end result is Bulevar: a Mexican restaurant and steakhouse at The Arboretum that pulls influence from both sides, and occasionally lets them mix a little. 

Bulevar Mexican Kitchen image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Bulevar is more than just a backup option when you want a good dry-aged steak but didn’t make a reservation three months in advance (we’re looking at you, Red Ash). Because while the meat section of the menu might look familiar—both offer large-format cuts, priced by the ounce—you can expect entirely different flavors here. Dry-aged, prime porterhouses come basted in chile morita butter and served with blistered shishitos, while a grilled beef tenderloin is served over sweet and savory moles. Then there’s the rest of the menu that leans even further into Mexican influences, with everything from lamb cheek machetes and duck carnitas huaraches, to lump crab tostadas. And all of it’s served in a modern dining room that feels very Texas-meets-Mexico. 

Bulevar Mexican Kitchen image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Hanging basket lamps, colorful bench seats, and giant paintings add homey touches to the space, while the stone brick walls and wooden accents give it a southwestern feel—which shouldn’t be too surprising considering the building was previously occupied by Z’Tejas for over 30 years. It’s a massive space that’s broken into a series of smaller rooms that make the entire experience feel more intimate than the size would lead you to believe. And tying it all together is the massive back patio with a pretty epic view overlooking the hills of northwest Austin. Come here for a date night to remember or with that friend who never stops talking about wanting a good steak. This is where you want to be at sunset, with a frozen hielo margarita in hand.

Food Rundown

Bulevar Mexican Kitchen image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Salsa Tasting

Gone are the days of free bottomless chips and salsa before your meal, and in with the era of salsa tasting menus. This one comes with three different options, plus a smoked bean dip that puts the little Fritos can in our pantry to shame. We were fans of all three salsas, but we’ll just say that the fiery salsa arbol went especially fast at our table. And the good news is that it’s all bottomless—grab an order of these to snack on before and between courses.

Bulevar Mexican Kitchen image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Guacamole

Seasoned perfectly, the guacamole has a soft, almost fluffy texture that pairs great with the housemade chips. It’s on the pricey end, but we’d order it again.

Bulevar Mexican Kitchen image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Crab Tostada

Visually, this is a lot to take in. But once you get past all the drizzled salsas, herbs, and oils, you’ll see a small mountain of sweet and tender crab meat on a house-made tostada. The tostada has a great texture, and doesn’t just shatter into 1000 pieces when you try to split it with your dining partners.

Bulevar Mexican Kitchen image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Machete

We’ve eaten a lot of machetes across town, and while this one wasn’t our favorite of the bunch, it’s a worthy addition to Austin’s small list of options. Here, it’s made with a mix of lamb cheek and pork, smoked jalapeños, caramelized onions, and lots of cheese. The end result is a little rich for our liking, but tasty nonetheless.

Bulevar Mexican Kitchen image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Duck Breast

Bulevar has offered a few different versions of their duck breast in the past, but our most recent visit paired a perfectly cooked breast with some dark mole and an ultra savory foie gras-and-sweet potato sauce. When applied sparingly, the sauces add just the right amount of punch to the duck—the sweet potato and bitter mole balancing each other out well—while the toasted sesame crumble on top added some great texture.

Bulevar Mexican Kitchen image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Bone In Filet

The steak selection changes day by day, but in general you can expect to find a mix of dry aged prime and regular prime cuts, most of which are served with the bone and priced by the ounce. We usually go for one of the filets—dry aged if it’s available—since they tend to be on the smaller end, which allows us to sample more of the menu. Every steak we’ve had here has come out perfectly cooked, with a great char on the outside, and a perfect rare-to-medium-rare center.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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