It was through a connection here in Montreal that I managed to get in touch with the chef de charcuterie of Daniel Boulud‘s restaurants in New York. The famed chef and restaurateur is the owner of 6 New York City restaurants, and many more around the world including Singapore, London and Beijing. In New York, his restaurant Daniel has earned 3 Michelin stars and is ranked number 8 on the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants. So you can imagine my excitement when Aurélien (chef de charcuterie) invited me to go down to Bar Boulud to take a little tour! This young 24-year old French chef has had an amazing career so far and was hand picked by chef Boulud to become his chef de charcuterie. He has been living and working in New York for a few month now and supervises a team of 4 who work at making all the charcuterie for all of Boulud’s restaurants in the city, including Daniel.
I got to the restaurant at around 5pm and the casual yet elegant space was slowly but surely starting to fill up with the after work crowd. After chatting a bit at the bar counter where all the charcuterie is displayed, down the stairs we went for a guided, private tour of the kitchen of Bar Boulud. Unfortunately, I was not allowed to take any pictures but I will try and describe the spaces I visited as best I can. What surprised me is how small the kitchen is, I mean for the number of people who are buzzing around in it. I did notice the picture of a famous New York food critic pinned up on the wall for employees to recognize if ever he were to walk in. It’s not the first time I see this kind of thing in some restaurants kitchens and it always makes me smile. We also visited the 3 private dining rooms downstairs, 2 of which are the size of a (very) large dining room, perfect if you’re a New York socialite in search of for a place to throw a dinner party. Both sides of the corridor leading to the dining rooms are actually part of the gorgeous wine cellar filled to the ceiling with dusty bottles of wine.
At some point during the visit, I felt like I was trapped in a real-life version of snakes and ladders. Up a few staircases and down a couple of corridors and we found ourselves in the space next door which is being transformed into Daniel Boulud’s newest NY restaurant: Boulud Sud, a restaurant which will be a Mediterranean grill influenced by every country around the Mediterranean, from Turkey to Morocco to Italy. That restaurant is also in turn connected to the space next door to it, which will become a high-end French grocery store with a pastry counter, a fresh bread one and of course, a charcuterie one! The grocery store will carry typical French products like olive oils and mustards as well as ready-made meals. Both spaces are under construction but it was so nice to walk through and get a sneak peak of what will no doubt become another success.
That night Marcella, Carol and I went back to Bar Boulud for dinner for our last night in New York. We sat at the bar and ordered a few things, including a small platter of charcuterie tasting which was excellent! Next came a refreshing crab salad and a rabbit gnocchi, all very good. The best part though, I must admit, were the desserts! The salted caramel tart was completely surrounded by a crunchy, burnt caramel crust holding a luscious and delicious rich interior filling. I love pistachio tarts and the aptly named La Meilleure pistachio dried cherry tart was absolutely one of the most delicious ones I’ve ever tasted, so much more delicious than the one I make, which I thought was pretty good already!
Every time I go to New York, I always end up having some pretty amazing culinary adventures. I can’t wait for the next time!
1900 Broadway (between 63rd & 64th)
Mon-Fri Noon – 2:30pm
Mon-Thur 5pm-11pm (Late menu 11pm-12am)
Fri-Sat 5pm-12am (Late menu 12am-1am)