Monday, May 18, 2009

Boulevard, San Francisco

Ok, I seriously don't know why I can't seem to blog more than once a week (ok, ok....once every TWO weeks!). Maybe between work, watching season finales of my favorite shows (LOST, The Real Housewives of NY, 30 Rock), Twittering (or is it tweeting?) and Facebook-ing (uh, is that a word?), I'm just too distracted to hunker down and document my meals these days. It's odd how guilty it makes me feel. Am I letting down the handful of people who actually read this blog ( cat)? Is FoodBuzz (with whom I just signed up) talking about what a huge disappointment I am to their food blogging community during their morning meeting (not that I know anything about their process but my imagination runs wild)? I still find plenty of time to read other blogs, but even that makes me feel bad- I mean, if Mr. Lebovitz has time to write yet another brilliant book, Matt takes time from his vacation to share this gorgeous steak (or make everyone feel jealous!), and Molly manages to get posts up inspite of the fact that she and her husband spend practically every waking moment working on their anxiously anticipated restaurant, I think I can set my lame list of excuses aside and post a few photos, no?

So here I am, head hanging in shame and back yet again with a vow to be more consistent. Not that you have to believe me, of course. You've been burned by my promises before, so I understand if you're reading this with your arms crossed, nose in the air, thinking, "I'll believe it when I see it." Don't you love how my mind deludes me into thinking that people actually care about me updating this teeny tiny blog? I told you, my imagination runs wild......and makes me have visions of grandeur.

Anyway, I did have a wonderful, blog-worthy meal while in San Francisco last weekend. J and I had only one night in the city, so we opted to return to Boulevard where we'd had a perfect lunch over the holidays last year. We wanted to make sure that our sole meal out would be good, and by choosing Boulevard we knew it'd be a wonderful experience.

Boulevard is one of those old-school restaurants in the very best sense of the term. The service is impeccable, the ambience a perfect mix of formal yet homey and the food always prepared thoughtfully and presented beautifully. It always strikes me how many staff are working at the restaurant, but it's a well-oiled machine and every single server, busboy, manager, chef, line cook and host has specific duties that each fulfill with a great sense of purpose.

J and I decided to order appetizers and entrees each, and then share all four dishes.

Up first, my appetizer: AHI TUNA TARTARE, Pickled Hearts of Palm & Mariquita Farm Carrots, Fried Fennel, Smoked Paprika Romesco, Spanish Almonds, House Made Sesame Olive Oil Crackers

This was very good, although I wasn't sure what all of the extras (the almonds, fried fennel) really added to the dish. The tuna was ultra fresh and the finely diced carrots and pickled hearts of palm added texture, but the other elements, though nice, didn't really elevate the dish beyond being a good, fresh tartare.

J's appetizer: MONTEREY CALAMARI STUFFED with DUNGENESS CRAB Italian Butter Beans with Spanish Chorizo & Meyer Lemon Relish

This dish is what J and I would dub "the winner." The baby calamari were tender and stuffed with a generous amount of fresh crabmeat. The chorizo added bite while the butter beans added a nice creamy texture. I'd order this again and again.

My entree: CAVENDISH QUAIL (VERMONT)QUAIL BREAST WRAPPED in PANCETTA & SLOW ROASTED LEG Pyramid Ravioli with "Bolognese" & Polenta Fonduta Braised Lacinato Kale with Garlic & Aleppo Pepper FlakesToasted Pine Nut & Parmesan Relish, Roasted Quail Jus

Definitely another "winner" dish here. The tiny breasts and legs of quail were wrapped in a single layer of paper thin, crispy pancetta that didn't dominate the lovely flavor of the quail, and the I'd love a plate of those on their own anytime.

J's entree: PACIFIC WALU (HAWAII)WILD CAUGHT, GRILLED Herb Roasted Artichoke Heart, Green Asparagus, Pioppini MushroomsFresh Snap & English Peas, Fava Beans, Meyer Lemon & Herb Vinaigrette

Quite possibly the "cleanest" dish I've ever had at a fine dining establishment that wasn't a crudo or tartare of some sort. This fish was gorgeous, firm but slightly flaky and the thinly sliced asapragus and other spring vegetables retained the right amount of crispness. This dish just couldn't be any fresher and nothing contained a coating of grease, or even oil, really. I'm sure there was some fat used to cook this but none of it was left on the palate. A beautiful example of quality ingredients speaking for themselves.

All of this fabulous food, plus a view of the bay....I mean, it doesn't really get much better. If you're ever in San Francisco and you want a sure thing, I'd highly recommend Boulevard.

One Mission St,
San Francisco, CA 94105
Telephone: 415 543 6084


Nanciful said...

Where's the dessert?! ;)

I will keep BLVD in mind next time I'm in the bay area. I love clean dishes. Sometimes, I just need to taste the actual substances without all the bells and whistles.

Diana said...

I'm still stuck on the calamari. That looks absurdly delicious!

Sounds like you and J had a lovely meal! Makes me want to plan a trip to San Fran!

David Ace said...

BEST calamari is at BLUE on Market street.
GO THERE!!!!!!!!!!