Went to Bar Boulud last night and I was not impressed at all. The room looks like a subway tunnel, arched ceiling, long and narrow with tables in the front, booths on the side and the bar on the left. A "Bar Boulud" sign is taped to the front door.
First off, service was horrendous, from check in to check out. We arrived 30 minutes early for our 8 pm reservation with the intention of getting a drink at the supposed wine bar. The front of the room was practically empty and we were told it would be a while for our table to be ready. Fine, we figured we'd be sitting in the back anyway, away from the freezing front room. Nobody asked if we wanted to wait at the bar they just said, it'll be a while so we took the initiative to walk back to the bar without really being asked to go there. No seats at the bar because everyone is eating there (a topic for another thread but what's the point of having a bar at a restaurant if you can't get a pre-dinner comfortable drink there anymore...I'm thinking Babbo, Lupa, and now Bar Boulud). A waiter asked if we needed help and we said we wanted a drink so he brought over the wine list and I ordered a nice red ($18) and my wife a nice white ($13) (sorry can't remember the names. The red was ice cold but I was told it was the proper temperature. Waiter brought over delicious gougeres but when he did a hostess said our table was ready so we carried them to our table and ate them there (hostess never offerred to carry our drinks over gougeres and had no idea if we could have the tab transferred to the table which we didn't). They gave us a table in the front where there were still a ton of open seats which lead me to believe that they made us wait for no reason. By the way, it's freezing up there now and their space heater is not nearly warm enough. We asked to move but we were told we couldn't. Waiter service was brisk and downright rude when I had to practically send flares to get a second glass of wine. When I finally got his attention, I said I wanted something like the first glass I had but not the same but he brought back the same wine! (I should add that this glass of wine was very sour and old tasting and when I mentioned this, the waiter got snippy and said he had tasted it and it was fine. I told him to get me something different and that he should try it again. I felt like he thought I was lying about it and I didn't like that insinuation).
As for the food, eh, nothing special except the tagine d'agneu, which was a pate of leg of lamb with eggplant and sweet potato. this reminded me of eating my mom's lamb stew the day after it was made (I admit I felt like Anton Ego taking a bite out of ratoutille). As for the rest, unremarkable. The pates au pistou basilic (linguine, cuttlefish, razor clams, and olives and lemon) was a very big portion of linguine with small amounts of cuttlefish and razor clams that weren't even that tasty. I had the navarin au romarin (lamb stew with potatoes and rosemary) which was pretty good but very heavy and the sauce was very greasy and my wife had the poulet roti a l'ail (chicken breast with mashed potatoes) which she didn't finish and didn't look too appetizing, just roasted chicken breast with potatoes. We also had a side of pommes frites which were crisp but cold and sauteed mushrooms. Finally, for dessert we had a phenomenal chocolate coffee tart which for some reason came with strawberry paste thing which didn't seem to go with it at all. This was very good actually but what was strange was that we went to Bar Boulud for my birthday and when my wife called to make reservations she had to choose a dessert in advance. We thought it would be something off the menu but the chocolate-coffee tart is definitely on there.
The one positive: the price. 3 glasses of wine, 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 2 sides, 2 coffees and a dessert was $140 without tip. But, with atrocious service and unimpressive food, I won't be coming back and frankly I'm surprised they would open with the restaurant operating like this.