Mar 6, 2008

boulevard

after an abortive and frustrating series of attempts to find parking on russian hill on saturday night, anne and i decided to bail on a party and go straight to late dinner at boulevard. i'm not sure where i stand on extensively-decorated restaurants; i think i prefer to eat in places that are to the point. an artificial guastavino vaulted ceiling is not critical to enjoying a good meal (at least, i think it is artificial. who would punch holes for lights in a real guastavino vault?). they also used at least four different (but similar) typefaces throughout the menu -- egregious. but the food was good.

summary: wine list is excellent, and starters were generally better than the mains. order three starters and call it a night, i think.

  • the monterey red abalone came with potato gnocchi, tiny shrimp, and black chanterelles (which i've not seen before). the abalone was warm, the shrimp cold, the gnocchi hot and crisp -- it was a collection of intensely marine flavours and a diversity of temperatures and textures and really marvellous.
  • suckling pig came in three preparations. the crisp-roasted pork belly was crackling and crunchy; it reminded me of the roast pork of home though it had not been lavished with boiling oil at the end and so was smooth and completely unmarred by bubbles. there was also a perfectly roasted chop (pink all the way through, with a fine crust -- it's a mystery how they did this in a wood oven) sitting on top of an classic flavour combination: a chunky hash of calvados apples next to a scoop of huckleberry preserves. last was a "short loin 'holstein'" (fancytalk for a piece of breaded, fried pork loin) with a fried quail egg and nettle spaetzle. spaetzle slightly mushy as always, but with nice bite from the nettles.
  • dessert was unspectacular, except for the presence of candied kumquats.
  • the swanson 2004 merlot was light with what they call soft tannins and plenty of fruit, but dry and restrained. nice.

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