Thursday, February 2, 2012

a most spectacular dinner (lyn)

I wish I had the skills of a Frank Bruni or Ruth Reichl.  Maybe then I could describe the exquisite meal I had tonight at Café Boulud.

Abbey’s birthday is today.  Valerie thoughtfully invites me to join her, Abbey, Adam and Jason to celebrate.  I don’t give a lot of thought to what I’ll wear, as my winter-going-out wardrobe consists mostly of black skirts and a myriad of tops.  I choose comfortable boots (as I’ll be walking to the restaurant which is only 15 blocks away), a black Thakoon skirt, and my new off-white wrap wool top.  I look thin and good from the neck down. But despite some effort, my hair looks awful…flat and flyaway.

The restaurant is elegantly decorated, reflecting a contemporary, sleek design. Everyone is friendly and accommodating.  The wait staff at Telepan could learn a lot from the waiters here.

Except for the birthday-boy, we all order drinks.  I get a Cosmopolitan, and envy the ease at which my sister and her sons review, with knowledge, the wine list.  First comes the bread. I choose one slice of pumpkin something and an olive scone.  Then, a basket arrives with little fried risotto balls filled with black truffles. Each is a perfect combination of flavors.

This is a family of large, fit men.  We order big.  For starters, everyone gets an appetizer plus we order sides of two different pastas.  I get the steak tartare, and remember eating raw hamburger meat with my dad growing up.  That was before we knew of raw meat’s potential dangers, and yet we never got sick. But the steak tartare I eat tonight  is nothing like the one of my youth.  It is beautifully presented under some kind of smooth bread topping, and every mouthful is sumptuous and perfect. 

For my entrée, I choose the “pomegranate glazed duck breast with sweet potato, puffed barley, wild arugula toasted walnuts, natural jus.”  Adam debates between the Arctic Char and Sea Bass.  He chooses the latter based on the waiter’s answer to his question, “Which is bigger?”

The entrees are outstanding and they are presented as pieces of art.  I’ve never liked sweet potatoes, but after eating the ones that come with my duck, I may have to re-think my lifelong aversion to them.  Abbey even comments on the simple steamed spinach we order as a side.  “This may be the most perfectly prepared spinach I’ve ever eaten,” he says. 

We order four desserts for the table; all are amazing.  Even the cappuccino looks photo-ready with its perfectly capped foam.

Tonight will be remembered as much for the food as everything else. And the everything else is pretty spectacular too.

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