Cafe Boulud (NY) – Money Doesn’t Buy Dreams
Cafe Boulud was a waste of my money – that’s about the only thing i carefully remember. Yet another in a long line of NY heartbreakers (Per Se, Mas, Blue Hill,Tia Pol…) beware – I am bad culinary luck.
Apparently, being one of the 3 people below 50 means you are not entitled to service. We were given our menus w/ no explanation of how to pick & choose items (the menu is a tad confusing) and, after 15 minutes, our waiter came over. I inquired about a tasting menu but he said “just pick & choose”; I asked about smaller portions and again he said “just pick & choose”… so I picked & I chose.
I ordered the white truffle risotto and our waiter says in a condescending tone – “You do know how much it is?” – do I look like a country bumpkin? (well, I was wearing jeans but they should publish a price if they’re worried about it; otherwise, i’ll assume it’s a lot.)
Maybe this passes for “class” in the Upper East side, but I’d swear I could have been in any restaurant in the US, particularly one in Florida serving senior citizens. Dull, bland, boring, and worse… I found it amazingly devoid of *any* character.
No notes, so this is mostly from memory. regardless, the food was good but it lacked any kind of heart.
1. Grilled Octopus “La Rioja”
Tender, innocous, but hardly the dish I read about in another blog. In fact, the octupus @ Craft the previous night was 2x as good.
2. White Truffle Risotto
Hard to mess this up, creamy, al dente, they shaved 1/2 truffle on it, and when I jokingly asked for more, she obliged. (However, I stopped her b/c I was afraid the $110 dish would be jacked up to $150!)
3. Chilled Maine Crab Salad w/ Ruby Grapefruit, Fennel, & Tangerine/Pepper Gelee
The tangerine/pepper gelee was way too acrid and sweet (memories of Bastide’s lobster a few weeks ago) and it completely disguised the taste of the crab.
4. Sauted Sea Scallops w/ Porcini-Pomme Puree
Tasty, caramelized, & tender but, again, hardly ground-breaking in any respect. So what’s the big deal? They cost $36 – expensive by even NY standards.
This place is overpriced, even for NY. The food is good, not great, and I could see it being a nice neighborhood place if you are quite wealthy. Or maybe it’s a cheaper way to experience the mechanized cuisine of Daniel. I’m not one top care about price tags if the quality is there, but you’re paying too much for this level of “quality” – reduce the price by 1/4 to 1/2 and Cafe Boulud is a fair deal.
GAF from Veal Cheeks found the menu hit or miss, but he did express more optimism than I.