Boulevard Restaurant San Francisco Review
Posted by Foodnut.com
Be sure to read Boulevard: The Cookbook
We have been coming here for years to Boulevard San Francisco Restaurant near the Ferry Building in the Embarcadero waterfront area. It is one of our favorite places as it is pretty consistent.. Always a candidate for the short list of best restaurants. It earned One Michelin Star in 2009. Nancy Oakes open Boulevard, a New American/French comfort food restaurant way back in 1993. She opened nearby Prospect in 2010. Our last visit was in April 2013, where we found the food quality top notch.
Boulevard’s busy Kitchen in Action
Decor, Vibe – Pat Kuleto design with an “intimate Belle Epoque aesthetic”. Couples, business people, and groups were all enjoying the fine food.
Boulevard has been voted most popular by Zagat’s guide for years. The place was packed when we entered at 6pm. If you don’t have a reservation, you can get a seat at the bar or kitchen counter, while they last.
The kitchen counter seats let you see the masters in action. Menu changes daily, so some of our review items might not be available or may be slightly different.
Boulevard San Francisco Menu:
Boulevard’s Menu changes all the time, depending on the season and fresh ingredients. They try to keep it influx, so that the regulars have interesting dishes to try. There are some dishes like the pork chop and fish that remain on the menu, but change preparation style.
Boulevard Food Picks:
Mojito ($12.50) was a decent cocktail. The version on our last visit was far better than the past.
Lacquered King Quail Crispy Glazed Half Brent Wolfe Quail “Broken” Anson Mill’s Fried Carolina Rice Red Livermore Walnuts & Rhubarb Sweet Sour ($15.75) was an excellent starter with the Quail cooked almost cooked in a Peking Duck style. Juicy, crispy, perfect accent with the Rhubarb.
Roasted Seckle Pear & Bayley Hazen Blue Salad Toasted Walnuts, Asian Pears with Citron Castelfranco, Field Greens & Lettuces ($14.25) was a nice refreshing salad with leaves carefully placed and fresh pears.
AHI TUNA TARTARE – Lightly Pickled Cucumber, Radish & Shiitake Salad, Hand Made Local Yuba & Chili-Soy Sesame Crisps, Japanese Shishito Pepper, Miso Mayonnaise & Wasabi Tobiko ($17.50) was a very good version of the classic dish that seems to be on every restaurant menu.
DUNGENESS CRAB SALAD – Purple & Green Basil, Lemon & Mediterranean Cucumbers, Watermelon, Aleppo Pepper & Greek Yogurt Coulis ($18.25) was very large salad with a surprising amount of crab.
Baby Beets & Shaved Summer Truffles ($14) with organic mixed greens, truffle tremor cheese, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil was a nice fresh and light summer salad. 5 big tender red beets. The truffle cheese had subtle flavor, being a truffle fan, we wanted more zest.
Alaskan Halibut A La Plancha Green Ceci Bean, Fava & Cucumber Tabouleh Green Hummus & Crispy Garlic Scapes Aioli, Turmeric & Lime ($33) looked perfect. It was cooked just right, you have to wonder why other restaurants couldn’t do this. The House still has the best one in San Francisco.
California Lamb T-Bone Wood Oven Roasted, Served Off The Bone Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Fondant German Butter Ball Potatoes Red Lollipop Kale & Tokyo Turnips Roasted Lamb Jus with Mugolio Pine Cone Syrup ($37) was cooked to a perfect medium rare and included 3 large pieces of high quality lamb. The meat was a bit on the smokey side, they could have lessened this a bit.
Eden Valley Berkshire (Kurobuta) Pork Prime Rib Chop Wood Oven Roasted Wild Boar Bolognese with Rosemary & Chocolate Semolina Gnocchetti & Truffled Pecorino, Broccoli Di Cicco Crushed Walnuts, Laudemio Olive Oil, Roasted Pork Jus ($37) also looked very appetizing. Their wood oven works wonders on this. Tender, flavorful. Excellent sugo with the accompaning Gnocchi. They continue to make one of the best pork chops in the City.
Butter poached Maine Lobster ($38.50) with Creamed Brentwood Corn, Summer Frying Peppers Fritto of Cornmeal Crusted Baby Corn & Padron Peppers, Lobster Nage was out of the fresh shell and ready to eat. Cooked perfectly and nicely accented with the sweet creamed corn. Not exactly French Laundry’s butter poached lobster, but very tasty nonetheless.
Crispy Maryland Soft Shell Crab ($16.50) with toasted garlic, rice noodle salad, lime vinaigrette, red curry, green papaya relish was a lightly battered fresh crab that had a nice crunch to it. The noodles added an Asian flavor to the dish. We ate this with one other appetizer instead of an entree. More flavors and variety at the same price!
Crispy Veal Sweetbreads ($17.75) with a Poached Slow Cooked Egg, Baby Artichoke & Lobster Mushrooms, Soubise, Natural Jus was an awesome dish. Not large quantities of sweetbreads but high quality and other items to balance them out.
Monterey Red Abalone ($19.75) Fried Green Tomato, Green Tomato Tartar Sauce, Sydney’s Watercress was an very good dish dish, but very small portion. Double portion would have been more like a normal size.
Irish Coffee Ice Cream Bon Bon ($3.50 each) is an adult version of the classic. High quality chocolate and ice cream.
Strawberries’n Cream Sour Cream Mousse, Balsamic Vinegar Olive Oil Financier ($9) was an excellent dessert with lots of fresh strawberries and a light mousse.
Seared Sonoma Foie Gras ($25) with Almond Green Tea Cake, Ginger, Dapple Dandy Plums was an ok dish, it could have been better with better tasting foie. The other items were fine. In August 2011, this dish was stellar. This variation included Fresh & Confit Strawberries, Dragee Pine Nuts, and Black Russian Rye Toast & Fennel.
Caipirina ($10.50) with Sagaliba Cachaca, Sugar, Lime, Blackberry was balanced and a refreshingly good drink that was on the rocks.
WOOD OVEN ROASTED FILET MIGNON - Dwelley Farms Haricots Verts, Baby Mushrooms & Fried Shallots Banana Fingerling Potatoes with Mountain Gorgonzola Sauce, Roast Beef Jus & Barolo Vinaigrette ($39.75) is an extremely popular dish, no surprise given its tenderness and liberal portion size.
LIBERTY FARMS DUCK BREAST ROASTED IN OUR PANCETTA – Squash Blossom Stuffed with Duck Sausage Vialone Nano Risotto with Ronde de Nice Squash, Roasted Morel Mushrooms & Duck Jus ($33.) appeared to be a very hearty and meaty version that could easily be too salty, but they pulled it off just right. We would call this dish one of Boulevard San Francisco’s signature dishes.
Northern Halibut (Alaska) ($36) Wild Caught & Pan Roasted with Crispy Squash Blossom Stuffed with Brandade Summer Squash Risotto, Roasted Chanterelle Mushrooms, Herb Beurre Fondu was a good dish. The halibut was cooked well, but the risotto was really outstanding. In sitting by the kitchen, we noticed that this was easily the most popular entree. Frankly, the non-fish entrée’s are stronger than their fish.
Berkshire Pork Chop (Iowa) ($34) Wood Oven Roasted with Figs Roasted with Pancetta, Brown Butter & Balsamic, Sauteed Bloomsdale Spinach, Potato Galette, Roasted Pork Jus was a very good entree. It’s almost always on the menu in one form or another, making it a signature dish. Bone-in, Decent sized portion, not overly big. Cooked just right, medium rare-ish. Figs provided good balance. This always ends up being a signature dish of theirs, the last time we were there, it was stellar and included Spinach Spaetzle Cacio e Pepe, A Blend of Pecorino & Various Peppercorns, Sauteed Swiss Chard, Pickled Cherries & Frizzled Guanciale.
California Lamb T-Bone (Dixon) ($37.50) Wood Oven Roasted Stuffed With Oven Dried Tomatoes, Feta & Eggplant, Fondant Fingerling Potatoes with Feta Cheese Rosa Bianca Eggplant, Pistachio, Currant & Nicoise Olive Relish, Sauteed Erbette Chard with Lemon & Butter, Rosemary Lamb Jus was a huge entree. Great for meat eaters who like lamb. High quality, No gaminess.
White Sea Bass (California), ($33) Wild Caught & Pan Roasted was excellent. Better than the halibut. Cooked well, super fresh, tender, flaky, great rice bedding.
Braised Pasture-Raised Beef Short-Rib ($30) was an excellent entree. Nice hearty quantities, tender meat, cooked to a medium rare, good sauce, and meat flavor.
Warm Gravenstein and pink Pearl Apple tart ($11) with layers of caramelized Apple, flaky puff crust, Apple swirl ice cream was an excellent dessert, not overly sweet, but including several types of textures.
Peaches & Butterscotch Desert ($10.75) Roasted O’henry peaches & Fresh Peach Sorbet, Butterscotch Coated Meringues, Buttermilk Panna Cotta had a little bit of everything and tasted great. So many different tastes made it a fun dessert.
Chocolate or Blood Orange Sorbet ($4.50 each) was a refreshing lighter dessert. Home made of course. Chocolate was better than the Blood Orange.
Triple Chocolate Napoleon Cake ($11) banana chocolate streusel, fleur de sel caramel, cocoa nib ice cream was very rich and came warm out of the oven. Light but chocolaty.
Warm Vanilla Crepe Suzette & Fresh Blackberries ($10.50) el rey white chocolate, macadamia semi-freddo manila mangos, sauternes syrup was very good. Crepes weren’t very large but everything was balanced. Not too sweet.
Dayboat Sea Scallops ($16.50) with Lobster Mushroom Risotto, Baby Artichokes, Lemon and Herbs was just Goo. The scallop quality was high, but it did not have enough carmelization. This is a personal preference, so many people may find this dish perfect. The risotto was excellent. They should offer it on its own.
Pan Roasted Squab ($18.75) was just ok. We’ve had better tasting squab at Chinese restaurants. Pick something else unless you love squab.
Boulevard’s service was above average, no need to ask for water or bread. There were some longer pauses but no slip ups. In a revisit in August 2011 the food had improved over previous visits. Only the fish dishes, did not approach perfection.
We have a feeling food seems to be better if you go early and the kitchen is not in a super busy mode.
Prices at Boulevard San Francisco have climbed over the years pushing it into more expensive territory and lessening its value. With prices this high, people start to compare Boulevard to places like Michael Mina and Gary Danko. The New American cuisine with French influence here is very accessible, no need for a menu decoder when ordering, making this place ever popular.
4% Service Charge Added For San Francisco Employer Mandates including Healthy San Francisco.
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