Boulevard is reliable excellence. Nothing too innovative or creative, just really good food.
Started with two orders of the seared artisan foie (no, we cant share just one. Yes, our server did tease us about it). The foie was stellar, very generous serving size. Hot, rich, full of flavor, I get jittery just thinking about it. Paired with Satsumas, bitter greens and hazelnut bread; the whole plate gives your palate intermittent bursts of bitter and sweet so that the foie isnt too overwhelming.
We split a Romaine salad as a refresher. It was excellent, but I feel that $15 is a lot to pay for a few leaves of Romaine. Some apps on Boulevards menu can really sting you price wise; $15 for a small salad or bowl of soup. The entrees are a much better value.
I was disappointed that the signature dish, wood fire over rack of lamb, wasnt on the menu. This is my favorite preparation of lamb in the Bay Area and Id been looking forward to it for weeks. We still made out great. Grilled loin of lamb was delicious; the lamb they use has a really superior flavor. The artichokes and potatoes it was plated with were good but forgettable. Kobe bavette two ways was excellent, particularly the braised version. The braised beef was one of the richest, most flavorful pieces of beef I have ever had. Topped with a mirepoix and served on potatoes with gravy, the whole dish came together perfectly. The grilled beef was good, though a bit too medium. I would have been happier with two braised preparations.
Dessert was a clunker. Someone needs to have a long chat with the pastry chef about subtlety. Almost every dish on the menu was chocolate based. We werent in the mood for chocolate, which left the seasonally out of place huckleberry buckle and the warm apple pie, which we ordered. The pie itself was good, but it really needed a knife to eat properly. The candied pecan ice cream was way too sweet. The ice cream itself was fine, but there were too many cloying pecan chunks in there. I couldnt get a single bite of ice cream which really detracted from the mouth feel. We left the ice cream unfinished, which is a first for me. I still havent had ice cream at a nice restaurant that was better than what they serve at Sketch. I would have loved to see something with hachiyas or pears on the menu.
Service was excellent. The one hiccup in the evening was that we had a really long wait between the salad and our mains. We were happy to take the time to digest our foie, and our server did come and apologize. No harm done.
Boulevard will always be a special occasion destination for us. If we lived in the city, wed probably stop by the bar to share an order of foie about once a month. Hopefully, the wood fire oven lamb will be on the menu next time.