Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I have been wanting to go to Boulevard for a long long long time. Ms. Lin would never agree to go with me because she has been many times. Finally I was able to convince Shabu to go with me. Although I didn't really convince him as much as fate made sure we ended up there. We had actually planned to go somewhere else in the Financial District but parking was too horrendous and I had already made reservations at Boulevard as a back up, so we turned the car around and headed on over. Normally parking is not the easiest around Boulevard but we were fortunate enough to find a spot right across from the entrance, which was convenient since it started raining.
The outside might not seem like much but once you enter the doorway, you feel like you have stepped back in time. It resembles those nostalgic classy restaurants seen in movies. There are old school posters like the Moulin Rouge and more as decorations. They were pretty packed for lunch, which turns out to be normal. We were seated all the way in the back next to the window where we can look outside towards the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge. Too bad it was raining or else it would have been a better view. As soon as I was seated they changed my napkin to black to match my skirt, which shows their attention to detail and etiquette. Our server was super friendly and had a nice smile on her face. She informed me that there were personal hooks on the wall next to our seat for us to hang our jackets, which I thought was very pleasant.
They brought fresh bread to the table. The center was soft and delectable. Not sure if they were Acme bread, but it was just as good. The crust had a nice chewy texture to compliment the center.
After looking at the menu, the Japanese Hamachi with Furikake Avocado, Crispy Taro, Yuzu Kosho Vinaigrette, Wasabi Tobiko, Cucumber, Cilantro, and Red Shiso really stood out to me. I was really torn on what to order because the Tuna had Black Himalayan Truffles as an ingredient. What is a girl to do?! I asked the server which dish was better and she said the hamachi hands down. Then I responded that the reason I was torn was solely because of the truffle since I don't even like tuna. To my astonishment the server said that she will ask the chef to add it on if he can, wink. My jaws dropped in amazement. What a sweet and wonderful lady! Don't be jealous, but there was a slice of black truffle on each piece of hamachi... Free of charge! Woot! Woot! Who hit the jackpot that day?! Let's just say nothing could bring me down from that high. At this point they have accrued a ton of brownie points to cushion any following issues of the other dishes. The truffles looked beautiful and were extremely fragrant. All the components were light and fresh. They didn't take away from the natural taste and texture of the hamachi. The cucumbers were finely diced and added a slight crunch to each bite. I liked the slivers of crispy taro that gave it something extra. In all honesty, is this dish anything super unique? Nah, but it's solid and has a very elegant feel to the whole thing. I do love it because I got free black truffle... Mmmmm truffles! O=9
Shabu decided to try out their Lobster Bisque as his appetizer. The soup was thick and tasty with two tender chunks inside. If it were my soup, I'd be using the delicious bread to soak up the soup.
I chose the Dungeness Crab Linguine because Ms. Lin insisted that their dungeness crab is to die for. The dish was Housemade Farm Egg Pasta with Roasted Tomato Acqua Pazza, Chile Flakes, and Basil. Ms. Lin decieved me and she needs to regulate her Gingko Biloba intake! She said Boulevard has really good dungeness crab sandwiches and that is what she gets when they have it. So I believe her, a big mistake! >_<# I asked the server and she answered, "You mean the soft shell crab sandwich, which is seasonal and delicious!" Immediately I knew "someone" was an idiot again and that this must be what she means. Still, I wanted to believe in Ms. Lin and was trying to look for something with dungeness crab. The pasta was the closest thing and one of their signature dishes so I thought, "Why not?" It was a bit different from what I expected. The egg pasta was 1/5 the size of fettuccine and it had a unique texture to each bite. At first it was a little bit different from what I imagined, but the more bites I took the more I like the little slivers of pasta. The sauce was light but had a slight kick thereafter. There was a decent amount of crab meat on top. I think I still like my crab cold versus hot but overall it was a solid dish. Maybe some shaved truffles would have completely won me over? lol O=) They told us that there were not many servings of the Hawaiian Tombo Tuna left. For me, I didn't really care since I am not a big fan of tuna. Shabu decided to try the wild caught and pan seared tuna. It was served with Crispy Fingerling Potatoes, Currant, Pine Nut, Caper Relish, and Braise Marquita Farm Escarole with Mustard & Ham Hocks. He thought the dish was not bad but not quite what he imagined as well.
For dessert I really wanted some fresh baked cookies and they offer Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies, 3 for $5. They were actually pretty decent sized cookies. Inside is a thick chocolate mousse like filling that had hints of liqueur inside. The cookies were just the right crisp chewy nice, a nice contrast to the filling. I liked them and would probably get them again.
All in all I liked this place and was impressed with their service. I would definitely recommend this place and come back to try the elusive soft shell crab sandwich. They prepare refined seasonal seafood dishes. I can understand why they are an institution in SF and how come they are always packed full of people. It's definitely a popular place for business lunches and more. The noise level does tend to be a bit high as everyone is enjoying themselves, but I guess that is just part of the ambiance. I will have to come back to see if dinner has a different vibe and to experience their dinner menu.
1 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94105