Thursday, March 29, 2012


Cafe this time. The scene is vastly different from that of Daniel: a bustling, busy dining room with men in suits at every available table. Our server bills it as a "neighborhood restaurant," but that's probably only applicable if you own an 8 million dollar townhouse on Park. Which, I determine by a quick glance around the room, some of these guys do.

Our amuse bouche is a tiny, hot arancini filled with black truffle. It does its job. Bread service, like that at Daniel, is precocious and I convince myself to stick to just one roll this time around. Spring has finally sprung, which means ramps and white asparagus and snap peas. I start with an appetizer of thick white spears with a scotch egg and creamy unpasteurized cheese. A take on Hollandaise, our server tells us. Another appetizer of artichoke tortellini was as delicate as the version served ten blocks downtown. A midcourse of foie gras torchon was a minor misstep--too much liver and too little accompaniment. It begged for something more crunchy than the measly helping of rhubarb batonettes and pistachios that dotted our plates.

An entree of truffle-stuffed squab was crispy and delicate and medium rare and came with two tiny empanadas filled with ground offal. The highlight of a duck entree--a breast over black rice--was a confit leg in a rich sabayon. It could have functioned as its own appetizer. Roasted radishes with sugar snap peas were bathed in a sauce that also tasted a lot like Hollandaise.

A cheese board was fine, with no real memorable touches. What was memorable, though, was a dark chocolate mousse with brandied cherries. I could have skipped the rum bananas and the gratis almond biscuit with raspberries and mango entirely. It was a precious meal, and from the looks of things, the Upper East Side appears to be doing quite well, indeed.

Cafe Boulud
20 East 76th Street
New York, NY 10021

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