This is exactly why we will never be the guys who review restaurants for a “real” publication. For three months straight, all we’ve heard from anyone with a published opinion is how incredible Boulud Sud is. Funny though, how we haven’t heard much from friends or acquaintances. That probably should have been the first sign that we were going to pretty much hate this place.
Maybe our friends can’t afford to eat at Daniel Boulud’s restaurants. Or maybe they just don’t want to. Fine dining like this seems to only stimulate the old folks nowadays. It must evoke memories of better times, when eating at a world-class restaurant was expected to be a sterile, stuffy experience courtesy of a French chef. But world-class = stuffy no longer. This city is lousy with awesome restaurants that I wear dirty jeans to. And maybe that’s exactly why a place like Boulud Sud fails to impress us much. Let’s forget about the fact that the food was largely mediocre - I also don’t want a waiter that’s going to scoff at me for ordering wine by the glass. Guess what, asshole? I’m gonna drink six of these. And just because you bother me, I’m going to ask inconsequential questions about each one. “The family that owns the vineyard - what are they like? Are they nice? That’s great. Bring me something else.”
Ultimately, we are sure that Boulud Sud is some kind of Mediterranean culinary stroke of genius, just like the critics say that it is. But this is the kind of restaurant best suited for people who still keep an actual Zagat guide in their house. If you find yourself here with your parents, stick to the shared items and appetizers, from which there are some gems. Otherwise, plan to be unimpressed.
House Made Flat Bread
So let’s start this off on a high note. The flat bread that comes out of the oven here at Boulud Sud is ridiculously good. What shows up at your table are buttery little squares that you should use to scoop up the various things on the shared menu that are meant to be eaten with your hands. Make sure you tell the waiter to keep it coming.
Chickpea & Eggplant
This is basically a gourmet version of hummus (green because they use fresh chickpeas) and baba ghanoush (a Middle Eastern roasted eggplant dip). I grew up eating both, and I’ll say that the eggplant was awesome, and the hummus gets a resounding medium. There are also two falafels on the plate that were tasty. It’s something you should have on the table.
Sheep’s Milk Cheese and Olive
Another dish meant for sharing that consists of two cheeses - one a ricotta and the other a grilled rubbery cheese that is much like halloumi. Don’t feel bad if you have no idea what that is. Just skip this probably.
Sea Urchin and Crab Tartine
This thing was pretty awesome. Putting sea urchin and crab on a piece of cardboard would also please me, so no surprise here.
Spiced Duck Leg
These are sort of crunchy, flaky, ducky egg rolls with date in them. All in all, they’re decent, and are an interesting delivery vehicle for some duck.
A nice terrine of rabbit that’s been given the porchetta treatment. We love this, but we also love all kinds of meaty French delicacies, so tread lightly if things like pâte freak you out.
Octopus A La Plancha
A pleasant octopus dish, served with Marcona almond purée and oranges. This is a fan favorite, and we liked it just fine.
Maine Sea Diver Scallops
So, they’re scallops. That’s nice. But we didn’t find anything here that impressed us much more than every other scallop on earth.
The entrees are really where things start to go south. This was a highly recommended dish from our waiter, which should have been telling. What we got was a big pot of chicken that tasted only like salt. How that’s possible for a dish that’s supposed to have all kinds of good spices and flavors, I don’t know, but this was not great.
An expensive, and beautiful cut of beef that, again, tasted crazy salty. Salty like you could melt ice on the sidewalk with it. Don’t waste your money.
Grilled Beef Short Rib
This is apparently a short rib that’s been braised for 24 hours, then thrown on the flat top grill. The result is a strange crust on the meat, and what ended up tasting like over cooked brisket. Let’s just say this was left unfinished/mostly untouched.