|Daurade a la Plancha with Romesco Sauce and Arugula|
The service was formal in style but also chatty. We learned that our waitress grew up in the north of France, but (she quickly noted, burnishing her credentals) spent time living in the south. Food was placed on the table in synchronized fashion, two dishes at a time, first before the ladies and next before the men. The decor was airy, clean and elegant with a semi-open kitchen decorated with Moroccan tagines. The ambiance was comfortable with soft music, a more mature crowd but not exclusively, and a moderate noise level (easy to converse, but no need for hushed voices).
The dinner menu is divided into three panels, one each dedicated to the sea, garden and farm. The sections are further divided into small plates to share, appetizers and entrees. As we considered the options, we grazed on artichokes alla Romana, perfectly crisp and delicious dragged through citrusy aioli with a hint of olive. A preview of good things to come.
|Braised Lamb Shank with Couscous|
|Lemon-Saffron Linguini with Razor Clams and Bottarga|
There was some inconsistency. Bread service included fantastic warm flatbread, crispy on the outside and nice and doughy on the inside, and totally ordinary focaccia. As good as the linguini was, the pappardelle with wild boar ragu, while tasty, was no more tasty than the same dish at a neighborhood Italian restaurant. Soupe de Poisson, a joyful tribute to Provençal bouillabaisse, had too little fish and overly strong shellfish broth.
|Charred Wagyu with Spaghetti Squash|
The wine list was extensive and the cocktails were excellent. The bloody Mary, although not traditional, was thick, strong and spicy, just how we like it. The "Scarlet Pom", one of the highlights of the night, was a not-too-sweet, perfectly balanced composition of pomegranate juice, lemon and amaro montenegro (an Italian liquor made from a blend of herbs), spiked with vodka. The cocktail was poured at the table over a single giant ice cube with pomegranate seeds frozen inside.
Chef Boulud has carefully expanded his empire into many sectors in the restaurant industry, from his eponymous Michelin 3-star Daniel to the more casual DBGB, with beers on tap and a dozen varieties of sausage. Boulud Sud occupies a place in the middle. It offers high cuisine without being overly formal (you'll never see a lamb shank at Daniel). The atmosphere is elegant but not fancy. Like his other restaurants, it is a terrific success, reminding us again that Mr. Boulud is one of the great chefs of our time.
20 West 64th Street
Recommended Dishes: Artichokes alla Romana ($15), linguini with razor clams ($19), sweet potato soup ($14), daurade ($31), wagyu beef ($35), lamb shank ($40), grapefruit givré ($13); scarlet pom cocktail ($15).
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