Floridians are lucky to have not one, but two restaurants from one of the world’s greatest chefs, Daniel Boulud. Db Bistro Moderne at the JW Marriott Marquis hotel in Miami opened in 2011 and is a “modern French-American restaurant where traditional French cuisine meets the flavors of the American market; Daniel Boulud’s renowned contemporary interpretation of the Parisian classic”. Then we have Cafe Boulud at the Brazilian Court hotel in Palm Beach which has been open for 10 years and offers a menu ”inspired by Daniel Boulud’s four culinary muses: la tradition, classic French cuisine; la saison, seasonal delicacies; le potager, the vegetable garden; and le voyage, flavors of world cuisines”.
Not content with this, Chef Boulud decided to bring to the Palm Beach’s Cafe Boulud as a “pop-up” one of his newest ventures, the Mediterranean inspired Boulud Sud, which opened in NYC in 2011. Boulud Sud serves “Mediterranean cuisine drawing upon flavors of the entire region from France’s Côte d’Azur to Spain, Italy, Greece, North Africa and Turkey”.
From the M.M. Cloutier Blog “The Dish” I obtained the comments from Chef Boulud on the reasoning behind the idea. “People shift gears in summer, ready for adventure and exploring. They may be planning a trip or staying home but they’re hungry for something new. Bringing our Mediterranean cooking from Boulud Sud to Palm Beach is a great way to feed that summer travel wanderlust. We opened Boulud Sud in New York just over a year ago with a menu that travels to the entire Mediterranean in a 360-degree tour from France, Italy and Spain at its western edge, to Greece and Turkey in the east and then heading south to the shores of North Africa, touching own in Morocco and Tunisia. If you could choose anywhere to travel this summer, this would be a great itinerary. So with our pop-up bringing Boulud Sud to Café Boulud, we’re taking you on that trip, by way of flavors and ingredients”.
Great idea no doubt, and one that we couldn’t resist a trip up to Palm Beach to try out.
The first dish we tried during brunch was a gazpacho, the cold tomato based soup typical from Spain. It was perfectly seasoned but the highlight was the savory cod and piquillo pepper croqueta that came next to it.
The second dish was a Lemon-Saffron Tagliatelle with seafood (shrimp, clams and shaved bottarga). The saffron added flavor and color to the dish, the fava beans provided texture, the pasta was al dente and the seafood was cooked perfectly. A delicious dish.
Finally from the dishes tasted during brunch was a succulent grilled Loup de Mer which came with one of the most delicious vegetable combinations I have ever tasted. It consisted of a puree of eggplant, crushed zucchini and fried artichokes. A Sauce Vierge (a French sauce made from olive oil, lemon juice, chopped tomato and chopped basil) completed the dish beautifully.
During dinner things got more interesting, as we dove into the “meat” part of the menu which included of course an amazing lamb preparation. We started off with a creamy Saffron and Sunchoke Farroto, which is a kind of grain that is cooked risotto style and went really well with the goat cheese, fennel and orange combination.
The other starter and my favorite given my weakness for all things spicy and lamb was a Spicy Lamb Merguez Sausage which was served with lemon and mint couscous, chickpeas and braised spinach. The delicacy of the sausage was amazing, and the combination worked really well together.
The first main course was a Moroccan spiced Mahi Mahi, served with a chickpea falafel, cucumber raita and harissa jus. The spices were similar to what is know as Ras Al Hanout, one of the most fragrant and popular moroccan spice combinations of all. The fish was cooked to flaky perfection.
The other main course and stand-out of the night (and the weekend) was a dish that contained three different cuts of lamb cooked in three different ways. The grilled juicy loin was cooked pink to perfection and was very tender. The braised shoulder was fall off the bone soft as well and incredibly fragrant and tasty. The rib “confit” was equally juicy and tender. All three cuts were delicious, each with its own texture and personality. The aromatic eggplant and labne helped balance the dish out and make for a true lamb lover’s feast.
Dessert consisted of a chocolate and mint “pave”, which had small puddles of chocolate sauce in small circles within the pave, on top of a chocolate crusty tart and a ball of chocolate ice cream on top. A superb ending to a great meal.
Eating at Cafe Boulud has always been a pleasure and this weekend was no exception, with the added highlight of being able to savor the offerings of yet another great creation of Chef Boulud. One could not ask for a better way to spend the weekend.