Last week I traveled to San Francisco to celebrate Thanksgiving early with my crazy family, mostly because I didn't want to fly the week of Thanksgiving and my brother had a baby so I'm a new uncle. On actual Thanksgiving, I thought it would be a good idea to check out a restaurant that I have been drooling over and wanting to go to ever since I had started writing this blog. Daniel Boulud's Cafe Boulud in Manhattan run by chef Aaron Bludorn. If you know anything about french cuisine then you've heard of Cafe Boulud, it would be a good idea to follow their Instagram account @cafebouludny.
I love spending Thanksgiving with friends and family so this year I thought it was fitting to make the trip with a friend so I could enjoy the holiday, the city and the meal. I arrived at the restaurant and was greeted with a warm atmosphere, smiles and a holiday charm. When they sat us in a cozy booth in the corner it was so ideal I wondered perhaps, they googled my reservation and wanted to give me such prime seating with excellent lighting for photos! LOL. I was also happy to be sat next to a trio of sexy, young, affluent Asian girls who were on their cell phones the entire time and were talking about how they met Oprah. We had nothing in common but here we were sharing Thanksgiving together. Everything was perfect and I knew when the food arrived it would only get better.
The first course was a delicious pile of fresh peekytoe crab from Maine, that was delicately topped with a slice of both raw and dehydrated apple, in a bed of celery root and garnish. The crab was excellent and was balanced perfectly with the acidity of the apple. Though not typically tasting of Thanksgiving, this was a nice fresh start to the meal. The boar roulade was good but not my favorite. The texture was like a liver pate and not something I usually enjoy, but the foie in the center of the roulade made the dish and thats what I ate most of. Ringed with a cured piece of pancetta this was probably the prettiest dish of the night.
The entree course was excellent, and something I could truly be thankful for. My first bite was into the beef at the bottom left of the plate. This delicious piece of beef pulled apart with ease and was coated in a rich demi-glace, reminiscent to a slow cooked piece of short rib or a roast of some sort, it melted in my mouth. The small fillet at the top was tasty, cooked medium rare. In the middle lay a sort of au gratin or 21 layer potato cake but some of the layers were carrot, this was a potato dream. The Turkey dish was just that, a turkey dish. I realize you can't offer a Thanksgiving Day tasting menu without offering turkey but come on, can anyone really say "That turkey is going to stay in my mind until the end of time?" No. Unless it was your sick fuck uncle who almost burned the house down because he fried the turkey in boiling cotton seed oil with his arms wrapped in a towel fearing 1st degree burns till that bird was a crispy treat for all to eat! …then no. However the stuffing was like a block of bread pudding style stuffing, very awesome, and the cranberry sauce was saucing on me, get it?
Once I ordered my customary post dinner double espresso I ordered dessert. I know it takes a great deal of patience and skill to cook a perfect lava cake, and if anyone could do it it was Boulud's accomplished executive pasty chef, Ashley Brauze. My hat comes of to you my dear, because this lava cake was perfect. Once cut into the chocolate flowed out like a creamy magma right into my fat fucking belly (which has gotten considerably bigger since September 1st). Paired with vanilla ice cream, and in my opinion should never be paired with anything else, was perfect. Next was the apple tart with Calvados custard and buttermilk ice cream. This dessert was so beautiful that I almost didn't want to disturb it. served with some fruit foam on the other side from the ice cream, this was also excellent. Calvados is an apple brandy from the French region of Lower Normandy, mixed into a cream makes a luxurious addition to a holiday dessert.
This was an excellent meal, and although my first choice on Thanksgiving would be to spend it with friends and family, this year it just happened this way and I was not mad about it. Cafe Boulud is upscale, I wore a jacket, but I saw some Upper East Side scum in performance fleeces, though on a regular night you can probably get away with a nice button up. For this meal, I hereby give Cafe Boulud…
This has been another installment of Benn Breaks Bread. Join me next week when I review San Francisco's Dirty Habit, run by chef David Bazirgan. Thanks for reading and hope everyone had a happy and delicious Thanksgiving!!