Located in the Mandarin Oriental in Back Bay, Bar Boulud has been on our list of restaurants to try for a few months, since it opened in September of 2014. From French-born, New York based chef & restaurateur Daniel Boulud, Bar Boulud Boston is the newest of his charcuterie-centered restaurant. It follows in the footsteps of restaurants of the same name in New York and London.
MJD and I had come to Bar Boulud for cocktails one night before a fundraising event at the Mandarin and since then we wanted to make a trip back for dinner. We finally made it last week on the Thursday night before the long weekend. With our flight scheduled for Friday morning, dinner at Bar Boulud made for a great date night choice. It was a gorgeous night, so we chose to sit on the outdoor patio. Boylston Street, where the patio is located, is typically busy and loaded with Bostonites and tourists alike, but on this night, with many of the city heading out of town for the Fourth of July weekend, it was eerily quiet. Same was true of the restaurant- there was only a medium sized crowd there.
Bar Boulud prides themselves on their wine list, boasting 100 bottles of wine under $100 with a focus on wines from Burgundy and the Rhone Valley. We had a delicious bottle from Chateau Falfas which we both really enjoyed.
Being as Bar Boulud is known for its’ charcuterie, we couldn’t skip ordering one. We decided to go with the small board of the chef’s selection. It included three types of pate: liver, rabbit and duck, as well as ham, sausage, pickled beets, carrots and a great house-made mustard. We tried the pate in the order recommended by our waiter- liver, rabbit and finally, duck. While all three were delicious, the duck was definitely both of our favorites.
Following the charcuterie, we made selections for our main course. I opted for a salad and appetizer from the raw bar, as I’d eaten a bit too much with the charcuterie. I ordered the Salade Melone which featured different summer melons and cheese. It was a great light salad and very refreshing for a warm day. I paired this with the shrimp cocktail which was beautifully plated with avocado, as well. Both dishes were impressive looking. MJD ordered the mussels entrée, prepared with a white wine and fennel broth and a side of fries. While the mussels were delicious, the fries weren’t as good as anticipated. They weren’t crispy, which is what we both prefer for fries, especially when dipping them in to the broth of the mussels.
Now this next part may come as a surprise, but we didn’t order dessert at Bar Boulud. I know, I know, I always order dessert! But unfortunately, the service on the night we went was extremely slow. We can understand waiting for our food to be prepared, but there were long gaps before some one came over to take our drink order, and also to clear our finished dishes out of the way. We went in to the meal looking for a leisurely dinner, but as our dinner plates were cleared about 2 and a half hours later, it was a bit longer than even we had in mind for leisurely. This was just our experience on one night, so I can’t say if this is a consistent theme for Bar Boulud, but we were certainly disappointed in that.
So, the big question- would I go back to Bar Boulud? If I was to go back, I think it’d be for charcuterie and wine at the bar or in the lounge area. There are so many other restaurants in Boston that I want to try, I’m not sure repeating at Bar Boulud will make it to the top of my list.