Bar Boulud, Restaurant Review

This past week I had dinner at Bar Boulud inside the Mandarin Hotel on Boylston St. Boston. Not once, but twice because it was that amazing. Bar Boulud is a french inspired bistro by famous Chef Daniel Boulud and Chef de Cuisine Aaron Chamberswith. It has a spectacular wine bar with selections from Burgundy and the Rhône Valley.

Bar Boulud

Inside Bar Boulud

The waiter recognized that I had visited Bar Boulud the night before and to thank me, the management team presented my table with this beautiful charcuterie board.

BarBoulud

The sweet managing stuff presented us with this fine charcuterie, terrine, and pate plate

Bar Boulud serves classics like terrines and pâtés, burgers, in-house charcuterie, and some of the most amazing oysters I’ve ever tasted. Crisp, smooth and briny. Mmmm, now I’m hungry! With it’s delicate decor, celebrity chef and 5 star wait-staff, one would think Bar Boulud would have a pretentious air. Quite the opposite.

BarBoulud

Duxbury Oysters

Service was impeccable, the red velvet tufted seating and dim lighting was so relaxing. Perfect for a date or a nice solo meal.

Bar Boulud

My favorite dish was the Spaghetti au Citron with wellfleet countneck clam, bottarga
lemon, fennel.

Spaghetti au Citron

Spaghetti au Citron

To finish off my meal, I had the Chef’s version of a Boston Creme Pie -Gâteau à l’Orange, vanilla bavaroise, fresh oranges, grand marnier soup, vanilla ice cream. The presentation was gorgeous!

Gâteau à l’Orange

Gâteau à l’Orange

I highly recommend visiting Bar Boulud – It’s located at the Mandarin Oriental Boston. 776 Boylston St. (617) 535-8800

Gordon Hamersley of Hamersley’s Bistro

A few weeks ago I told you guys about my connection to Hamersley’s Bistro. Well, as I mentioned, Mr. Hamersley was kind enough to answer a number of questions via email…I wanted to learn as much as I could about the award winning chef before spending the day in his kitchen.

He’s cooked for the President of the United States and has won a James Beard award, ladies & gentleman, Gordon Hamersley. (Am I dreaming?)

Gordon Hamersley

 Q & A

Has the recipe for your legendary roasted chicken changed in the last 26 years?

GH: The chicken has surely changed over the years but I’ve never changed it on purpose. We try to change the cook so that it stays fresh and thus many cooks have prepared it over the years. Remember, there are a certain number of people who come to Hamersley’s and never order anything but the chicken so we really have to be consistent with the dish. It’s actually fun to do one thing over and over the same way. It has tradition, a story, and people know when it’s not quite right.”
Hamersley’s Bistro received a Best of Boston award just after its’ first year in business. How has HB maintained it’s notability in one of the toughest industries?

GH: For me…I feel that having one restaurant that I work at everyday is what has kept us focused and good at what we do. That said, I am never content and I’m always workong either to teach and maintain our standards or make things fresh and new and better than before

Was there ever a time you felt you were losing momentum?

GH: I hope not! We try to create momentum by changing things all the time. We do 4-6 new menus per year and this creates an inner sense of movement forward. When I can’t come up with new ideas (given the style and context of how I cook in general) then it might get stale…but I can feel that very fast and I work at change again. The team at Hamersley’s has stayed very consistent over the years and so we are always aware that we need to stay fresh…the inner core of people inspire each other to be creative.

Did you create a special menu for President Obama’s visit?

GH: For President Obama, we had the entire menu available to him plus a tenderloin of beef, alaskan salmon and a burger. I was told he had very conservative tastes and was pretty sure he wasn’t going to order say…the rabbit with persian spices…he ended up having the grass fed beef with local asparagus, potatoes, and a french style red wine sauce. No dessert. He eats desserts only on Saturdays!

Thoughts on the current trend: Pop Up restaurants?

GH: I like all the new trends…pop up sure…I love the food trucks! Fiona and I actually almost did one back in 1987 instead of the restaurant…I just wanted to drive around and cook wherever it looked like a good crowd. (Little did I know you can’t do that!!) but I do have a whole little business plan for a truck a la 1987.

If you weren’t a chef, you’d be…

GH: Hmm, many things. I like to train my hunting dogs…music, if I could play! I always thought I’d be a good photo journalist. I like telling stories. So if I could write I would…all these are similar to cooking in restaurants in many ways really.

Where does your inspiration come from?

GH: I usually ask myself, “What do I feel like eating tonight?” when thinking about new menu stuff. I do have a style of cooking which does not change much but sometimes I come up with a truly new idea for me and other times I do a variation on themes. I often try to think like a country French housewife…what would she cook for her family? Then I make it work for Hamersley’s.

Two ingredients you couldn’t live without?

GH: Garlic and salt…I kinda like butter too…

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If you’re in the Boston area, make sure to stop by Hamersley’s Bistro for an unforgettable experience. Seriously, you won’t be disappointed.

Stay tuned for my post about my day in the kitchen with GH & his staff!

Disclosure: I did not receive anything for this post…just bragging rights 😉