It was a beautiful day in NYC and I arrived at Bar Boulud at about 12:10 for a 12:30 lunch reservation and I was ready to eat! We were seated and I ordered a sparkling hibiscus lemonade. At first I thought the lemonade was too tart, but then when I mixed it around the tartness subsided and the drink was very refreshing.
For my first course I got the fromage de Tete, or also known as head cheese. Head cheese is the meat of the head (cheek, ear, brain, sweet bread, etc.). Some people would consider this dish gross, but I think it is awesome. For people that are squeamish towards cheek, ear, brain, etc. don't be! First off if you are going to kill an animal, in respect you have to use every single part of the animal to honor it's life. Also, what is the difference between eating breasts or cheeks? They are just different parts of the body. But most importantly Offal tastes so good. When cooked properly it completely outshines the "accepted cuts" of meat.
Now back to the head cheese. It was served with whole grain mustard, whole grain bread, cornichons (baby pickles), pickled baby cipollini onions, and frisee. The mustard added a much needed acid to cut the richness of the luscious head meat. I thought the bread was cut a little too thick and it overpowered the headcheese's texture and flavor. If they sprinkled some fleur de sel on top of the terrine I believe it would have elevated the dish to a whole new level. Overall I loved the dish, but I think it could have been slightly better with a little more salt and thinner bread.
Bread service was great. A sliced baguette with rich, creamy butter was luxurious and rustic. I got a chocolate croissant which was light and flaky with intense dark chocolate chips. My dad got a cinnamon roll with walnuts and raisins, which he said was delicious, buttery and earthy.
Next our main courses arrived. I got a Boudin Blanc with potato puree, truffles, apples, and a pork demi glace. The sausage itself was super moist and delicious. The potato puree was extremely rich and a little bitter which was different, but fine. The sauce was perfect. It was the essence of pork with lots of roasted flavors. The apples added a nice acid and freshness to the dish. The only think that I did not like about the dish was how I tasted ZERO truffles. One of my pet peeves is when in the menu description it states truffles, but then there is no truffle taste. This happens a lot, even at great restaurants. When restaurants have cheap truffle dishes you know there has to be minimal amounts of the stuff because it is so damn expensive. I think that when restaurants serve truffles they should almost go overboard on them (and price them higher) so the customer gets the full experience and truly understands how truffles taste. I know they do this at The French Laundry and Per Se. Thomas Keller said that when he serves truffles and foie gras he always gives more than is needed because he wants his customers to be blown away buy the powers of these magnificent ingredients. My dad got swordfish with roasted corn, rapini, haricot vert, and julienned carrots. My dad absolutely loved the dish. His dish was very beautiful to look at. He had no complaints.
For dessert I got gâteau basque. This was a custard cake with brandied cherries and creme anglaise. Because of the almond flour in the custard cake, the whole dish had a comforting flavor of an amaretto cookie. The cherries cut through the fat and the sugar with their alcoholic notes. This was a very tasty dessert.
After the food I asked if I could get a tour of the kitchen. The manager escorted me down and introduced me with the corporate chef and the chef de cuisine. The kitchen was much smaller than Del Posto's kitchen which was gigantic, but bigger than Uproot which is where I work at. Everything was running smoothly, it was an organized chaos. There were lots of cooks in a small cramp area. The whole experience was great and I wish to come back to Bar Boulud and try some blood sausage (which was not on the menu at the time).