Boulevard consistently is rated #1, or thereabouts, in SF...5 years in a row as #1 rated restaurant in Zagat, I believe...However, my experience at the restaurant was in its first year or so, and I found it to be good, but not great...one of those "been-there-that-was-good-don't-have-to-go-back" kind of places.
With the ongoing plaudits, My Beloved Karen and I decided to revisit Boulevard to see if something about the place had escaped us. It had.
We made a last minute decision to go on Saturday, without a reservation. We called ahead and were informed that the restaurant has some walk-in tables--first come, first served. [We later learned that these tables are more in the bar area than the main dining room]. The hostess told us to call back later in the afternoon to check for cancellations. Instead, we arrived at 5:00 pm when the doors open, and found that a two-top was available in the dining room.
From beginning to end, we had excellent service and fine dining.
Our server was attentive, but not overbearing, seemingly nearby when needed, but otherwise discreet. She was helpful with our questions, and knowledgeable about the wine selection.
M.B.Karen started with fois gras and a glass of Billecarte Salmon champagne...it must have been great, because she didn't offer a taste, and her eyes rolled back in her head several times.
I had an appetizer of fried calamari and rouget...the rouget was sauteed, but with a slightly crisp outer skin--between the fillets was a sauce of pureed olives; placed next to the rouget was a small pile of calamari, fried crisp, but remaining tender. Based on the server's suggestion, I had a Reisling [Mosel] which I feared would be too sweet, but went well with the appetizer.
Entrees were halibut for Karen which whe enjoyed, but found to be somewhat sedate after the fois gras. I had a pork loin stuffed with wild mushrooms--along side it was a portion of cheek slow cooked to a confit-like tenderness and richness, and a porcini sausage patty [which tasted more like sausage and less like porcini, but I'm not complaining].
With her entree, Karen took the recommendation for an Italian red,a nebbiolo blend, which turned out to be a wonderful glass of earthy wine, but a bit much for the fish. I had a glass of Gigondas which was a good match for the pork.
Desserts were a chocolae mousse s'more concoction that went down just fine, thank you...I can't remember the second dessert, but, hey, I'd had two glasses of wine...espressos were well made.
All that delicious ran about $250.00 including tip. Not cheap, but the food, wine and service were outstanding, and the portions generous.
The upshot is that my opinion has changed...Boulevard certainly is one of the best restaurants in SF...not #1, but in the top 10 or so.