Lunch at Bar Boulud & I Need Your Recommendations (for Philly)!

Bar Boulud's Signage
Bar Boulud

I was in the Upper West Side for lunch on Tuesday. All in the name of Bar Boulud! In case you haven’t read through blogs and press publications, it’s a huge deal since Daniel Boulud hasn’t opened any new restaurants around here and the fact that he migrated crosstown from the Upper East Side (just try to map where most of his places are: Daniel and Cafe Boulud).

Looking toward the back... Their terrines and hams along the bar...
It looks like a tunnel (on left) Oooh…meats along the bar (on right)

Arriving there at 1 PM, in this drizzly, Tuesday afternoon, I was welcomed by a hostess whose greeting felt a bit forced and a bit too perky than what I am normally accustomed to. As I walked to my table, this place is adorned in pale golden wood, modestly decorated with paintings along the walls, and the long bar beholds a huge meat slicer and the highly touted charcuterie and hams.

I perused their lunch menu (which is different than their dinner menu), I decided to try out their prix fixe menu.

Warm toasts tucked in a napkin
Warm toasts tucked in a napkin

Assiette Anglaise
Assiette Anglaise

I tried the Assiette Anglaise, which is a derivative of their charcuterie sampler – three terrines, two fromages (cheese), and two vegetable sides, or hors d’oeuvres as they called it. (Click on the photo to know what food item is what).

The terrines were sublime. Silky slices of ground meat that isn’t too jelly and balanced with enough fat, spices, and seasonings. My personal favorite of the three was the rabbit. The cheeses served that day were a smooth, firm, subtly fruity Pleasant Ridge Reserve and a creamy, bloomy, luscious, mushroom-y, Brie de Meaux. I just wish I had larger portions of the cheese. As for the hors d’oeuvres, I don’t really care for them much but it tastes fine. The choices given to me were the potato, fennel, olive and the celery-apple rémoulade. The flavors for the potato dish was a bit too subtle that nothing really enhances the potato, but the rémoulade fared a bit better in terms of flavor and textures – crunchy, sweet and tart with creamy mayonnaise.

Tarte Mocha
Tarte Mocha

Close up of Tarte Mocha Texture shot of Tarte Mocha
Close ups of the tart

As for the finale of this meal, I opted for the tarte mocha. Nothing strange in terms of funky combinations of textures or ingredients – just a straightforward, very good tart. The chocolate pâte sucrée was buttery, chocolatey, and barely sweetened; a great canvas for the intense, decadently rich, espresso flavored chocolate ganache, gilded with a flake of varak. The vanilla ice cream was delicious – smooth, velvety, sweet, and intensely flavored with vanilla. I would buy their vanilla ice cream by the gallon, if that’s ever possible.

Down in the wine cellar... Corridor of the wine cellar…

After my paying my check, I took a short tour around this place and went downstairs to their wine cellar. It seems strange when it kind of looks like a labyrinth than a cellar, down the hall would be a large private dining room since I heard people talking down on that end and off to the left are the bathrooms.

Their bathroom sink The bathroom sink

Even though this isn’t about food, I took a photo of the bathroom sink since it looks kind of cool. The bathroom itself is nice, done with the same pale, blonde wood that you saw in the main dining room.

After looking at my watch, my lunch hour’s about up and I had to run back to the bus stop in the rain to take me crosstown to work!

I Need Your Suggestions!

Ok…my aunt and her son is visiting NYC (in less than 2 weeks) and my family’s planning on a day trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Yep, I’m going to Philly for one day just for sightseeing really, just to do something for the Easter weekend (and I don’t have Monday off [groans]). I need your suggestions on where to eat. Basically, I’m looking for something casual and something that ain’t so expensive like I eat since my family’s paying. We’re pretty much up for anything but don’t bother with Chinese (because we are and we know how to cook) and Japanese or Thai (since my aunt eats a ton of it in Hong Kong). Thank you!

1900 Broadway
New York, NY 10023


I shoot, eat, and drink. My full time job is a hospital administrator. Moonlighting as a freelance photographer and food and travel writer.

  1. Giulia says:

    ohh that looks good,

    i dont know anywhere to eat in philly i havent been there. but im sure someone will know where to go

  2. Ginny says:

    I am always so jealous of your meals…if I ever end up in NY, I know where to look for suggestions. I was in Philly yesterday and although, I am not an expert…I would recommend Reading Market…you can get cheesesteaks and apple dumplings (the Dutch Eating Place) plus there is a ton of other choices. It is super causal though. Enjoy!

  3. thewanderingeater says:

    Giulia: It’s all tasty… I just wish I could try a few more things to make a real judgment on it. I feel this particular review is prima facie but something has to be written about this meal.

    Ginny: Ah, don’t be jealous of me, I’m a humble 22-year old who’s willing to fork part of her paycheck for a really good meal. Anyways, thanks for the suggestion! I’ll look into it!

  4. Erin says:

    There are so many good places to eat in Philly! Stephen Starr (who owns Buddakan and Morimoto here in NYC) has about nine restaurants there, the best of which is Alma de Cuba. For delicious tapas, I had one of the best meals ever at Amada, and if you like nuevo Mexican, definitely check out Lolita. All of these places are tasty, comfortable and reasonably priced. Enjoy!

  5. soopling says:

    For Philly, I second the Reading Terminal Market suggestion…I remember having amazing pancakes at the Dutch Eating Place. Plus it’s just a fun place to poke around.

  6. Kimberly says:

    I’m a frequent visitor to Philly as my employer has an office there … my favorite restaurants:

    El Vez – American-Mexican cuisine, very fun hangout, casual.

    Amada – Excellent tapas, if you’re game, tell your waiter to let the chef make whatever he wants … it was fun and very good!

    Fogo de Chao – I’m not a fan of chains, but this Brazilian churrascaria is amazing … I always eat here in Philly and DC.

    Estia – Good Greek food.

    Bliss – Contemporary American, very quiet, dark lighting, but some of the best short ribs I’ve ever had.

  7. thewanderingeater says:

    Erin: Thanks!

    Kim: You’re welcome. I want to eat more terrines!

    dbtron: Hey, I haven’t heard from you in a while. Welcome back!

    In regards to your comment, OOOH…GELATO! Problem is, my family would think I’m nuts to eat gelato or ice cream when it’s still cold. Buh.

    Kimberly: Great list! I’ll peruse their menus…and probably have my stomach growl as I read. Hahaha…d’oh.

  8. Philly: try Django. And, it would be criminal for you to go to Philly and *not* visit Capogiro gelateria (and, you thought I was going to name a cheese steak joint.)

  9. Ida says:

    Fancy: I recommend going for the lunch at Le Bec Fin and either getting the tasting menu ($54), which includes the ridiculously extravagant dessert chariot, or ordering a la cart and starting with the cassolet de escargots (trust me on this, it comes in the cutest little silver pot with an AMAZING hazelnut butter sauce), getting whatever entree appeals to you, and ending with the dessert chariot. There is a huge variety of desserts on the chariot. Last time I went, I am not ashamed to say I had 8 desserts.

    Casual: I third the recommendation for Reading Terminal. Definitely try the macaroni and cheese at Delilah’s (Oprah’s #1 pick for best mac and cheese in the US) and Amish chicken wings (they sell them by the pound) and apple dumplings (cored apple sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, baked in a pastry shell, and drizzled with a caramel sauce)

    You should definitely have a cheese steak! I wish you had more time! I like Jim’s on South Street, but Pat’s and Geno’s are Philly Institutions. I don’t remember the days, but the Ritz used to have a reasonably priced chocolate buffet. You may want to call them and see if they still have it.

    Happy eating!

  10. Julie says:

    Sabrina’s Cafe is definitely worth a try. It’s well-known for stuffed french toast and many other brunch items. And I think brunch is served all day.

  11. Jennifer says:

    Hi! I visisted your blog per recommendation from Jess Lin, my roommate and good friend at Cornell. I love your pictures and your writing :) IThe decor of Bar Boulud looks fantastic and the tarte mocha looks amazing. So rich!

    You’re going to Philly? I was there last semester visiting a friend. We went to this amazing BYOB restaurant (lots of places in Philly are BYOB due to stringent liquor license regulations) and I had the most amazing rabbit and foie gras. I’ll try to find the name so I can let you know :)

  12. thewanderingeater says:

    Ulterior Epicure: Thanks for the recommendation! Criminal not to try Capogiro? I hope I could fit them in my schedule…

    Ida: Damn, I wish I could stay for more than a day! Too many places to eat, so little time… Eh, well at least I know I’ll stick around Reading Terminal since it seems like a popular destination from most of you readers.

    Julie: Hmmm…brunch. Probably I might do it? I have to get the consensus of what my aunt really wants to eat, despite the fact she’ll most likely ask for my opinion.

    Jennifer: Hi! Ah, you know Jess. Weee…! :D I need to thank her. Thanks for loving my blog!

    As per your Philly suggestions, I don’t really need a BYOB restaurant since my family doesn’t really drink. BUT…I do like to get my grubby hands on some foie gras. Hahaha…

  13. Dennis says:

    If you’re hungry early on you should definitely try the Morning Glory Diner. Great breakfast/brunch place with awesome biscuits :)

  14. HarryK says:

    Since you said it’s … for a family outing, not as expensive as you would normally do and something casual, I hate to say it but many of the suggestions you’ve heard so far have been the expensive ones — aside from the Reading Terminal Market.

    I’d say, you need to go the Second and Chestnut Street area in Olde City. Why? Your near Betsy Ross House and the Liberty Bell and other historical Olde City attractions. And that intersection has maybe 30-40 casual dining spots, from Cuba Libre to Stars and Ploug Irish Pub to two Afgan Restaurants to the Philly Fish Factory and more.

    So, historical things to see there, Penns Landing area two blocks away, Tons of eatery vareity choices at decent prices.

  15. Steve says:

    Lived in Philly for 5 years. Would definitely go to amada. for brunch the next morning go to Carman’s Country Kitchen.

  16. Courtney says:

    I live and work in Philly now. If you are going to be site-seeing in Philadelphia, you’ll most likely be in Old City. I’d try Farmacia on 3rd Street between Market and Chestnut, Cuba Libre on 2nd Street between Market and Chestnut or Jones on the corner of 7th and Chestnut for lunch or dinner. If you’re having dinner, go for Fork, on Market street between 3rd and 4th streets. All have websites and are reasonably priced and within walking distance of most historical attractions.
    Reading Terminal is an awesome experience, too.

    Enjoy your visit!

  17. Carol says:

    By now you may have already gone to Philly, but anyway…

    I concur that Amada is excellent tapas and blows Alma de Cuba (or any of the other Starr restaurants) out of the water.

    Another bargain option is Ron’s Ribs for truly excellent barbecue…

    and, although you are chinese, perhaps for the benefit of others as well, there is a truly wonderful Szechuan restaurant on Race street called Four Rivers. You just can’t go wrong with anything on the menu and it is consistently great. I’ve traveled all over Asia and have tried virtually every chinese restaurant across all the boroughs of NY and this is the only one that is comparable to authentic Szechuan cuisine.

    Capogiro for gelato is amazing, better than all of the NY gelato places – and better than much of the gelato that I’ve had in Italy.

    Lastly, for fantastic coffee, try La Colombe. They supply coffee to a lot of the french restaurants in NY; their capucinos are really memorable…

    Enjoy your trip!

  18. Jfurnem says:

    these are really amazing photos of the food (and the place doesnt look bad at all…) sorry i cant be of any help for the Philadelphia day trip (in any case its long past so even if i had an idea it wouldnt help…)

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