Every summer we mark our calendars for this time of year, not because of July 4th and all the hot dogs and burgers that come along with it (though happy 200th America the Beautiful, you look darn good) but because one of the forefathers of French cuisine and award-winning chef, Daniel Boulud, brings one of his restaurant concepts to takeover his beloved DB Bistro Moderne. The past couple of years we salivated in anticipation for DBGB Kitchen & Bar and its inventive and modern Americana riffs on classic French fare (think handmade Lamb and Mint Merguez Sausage, Whole Hog Feasts and his signature Baked Alaska), and though we were a little sad that DBGB didn’t make a comeback for summer 16′, we were excited to get a taste of the Mediterranean-inspired Boulud Sud, which has been delighting New Yorkers since 2011.
Especially after doing our due diligence and seeing what The New York Times had to say about Monsieur Boulud’s Grapefruit Givre: “a hollowed-out frozen grapefruit is filled with grapefruit sorbet, grapefruit compote, sesame mousse and Turkish delight, then topped with a tuile hat and spun sesame halvah, as if straight from a cookbook co-written by Escoffier and Ferran Adrià. That is for the win.” Indeed, it is the dessert equivalent of the toques famed foie and short rib burger. Now that you’ve had the sweet ending ruined for you, let’s begin at the beginning…with cocktails. Which emphasize flavors from across the Mediterranean, from Southern France to the shores of North Africa. There’s only four, so go with a group and drink your way through prior to dinner like we did, or better yet, go on a Monday or Tuesday when bottles of rose are half off so you can really feel like you’re in Southern France. If you only have one drink, let it be the Corsican Julep that throws bourbon, cynar and a white balsamic reduction into the mix.
Onto the edibles, the menu is a glimpse of New York favorites, that took DB Bistro’s chef de cuisine Clark Bowen a week worth’s of cooking in the Boulud Sud kitchen to perfect. A Spiced Lamb Flatbread with eggplant, pine nuts, and labneh had a perfect balance of sweetness and heat. Whipped Smoked Cod Roe with dill potato chips had everyone at the table double dipping. In Setas Con Huevos, unctuous mushrooms fight for the spotlight in a bowl peppered with frisee, artisanal croutons, and a sunny side up egg ready to have its yolk forked and runneth over. Carbonara has specks of pepper worked right into the handmade fettuccini. Shellfish Fideuà with scallops, mussels, a lonesome langoustine, and chorizo sofrito elicits a trip to Spain. But it’s the Lebanese Spiced Sea Bass with its complex yet clean flavors that won everyone at our table over.
Leave room for dessert, which besides the magical grapefruit includes rich and velvety Chocolate Fondant spiked with cardamom and served alongside smoked cinnamon gelato or tiramisu with Kahlua Ganache.
You’ve got till July 31 to savor Boulud Sud. Perhaps next year it’ll be Boulud’s eponymous and Michelin two-starred that makes an appearance. We’re crossing our fingers, Daniel.