It's that time of year. The cool evening breezes and gorgeous sunsets draw us out of the house for alfresco dining. Bar Boulud recently invited us to preview their Alfresco Summer Menu and it was, in a word, glorious. The weather was perfect, the conversation lively and the people-watching, as always, fun.
We began with the Grilled Chicken Panzanella. Sourdough, fennel, arugula, oregano and lemon accompanied moist, tender chunks of excellent chicken thighs. I love chicken thighs, meaty, flavorful and often overlooked as they are actually a more affordable cut than the oft-used breast. I have never thought of using them in a salad, however, and it worked beautifully.
The dish was served with Domaine Vincent Careme Vouvray Chenin Blanc, 2014, France. Perfect pairing.
For my main course I selected the Sweet Corn Risotto. Grilled corn, mascarpone, thyme gremolata, risotto was the base with a healthy dose of Maine lobster atop. The sweetness of the corn mixed perfectly with the creamy, slightly toothiness of the risotto and nothing detracted from that subtle lobster flavor. Without question, a hit. Delicious.
This course was served with an Au Bon Climat Chardonnay, 2013, Los Alamos Vineyard. Again, perfect.
The other main course choice was this Veal Schnitzel, which I did try. The breaded, fried veal was traditionally prepared. Gold bar squash, zucchini, pickled red pearl onion, basil and natural jus flavored it up. While very good, I often find veal to be a rather bland taste but the others seemed to enjoy it.
We finished with a double tasting of summer desserts. First up was a Blueberry-Pistachio Coupe. The flavors were vibrant and rich. The blueberry sauce was perhaps THE most amplified blueberry taste I've experienced and the pistachio cake was not far behind.
Last up was this Peach Napoleon. Simple in design and, again, amped on the flavor. Just incredible.
Our dessert wine was a 2012 Domaine de Durban, Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise, Rhone, France, delicately sweet.
Although the cuisine at Bar Boulud is the utmost in quality, as is the service, the place has a very casual ambiance and dining on the patio on a cool summer evening made it all the more relaxing and reminded us what a great idea it was for a surprise summer splurge.
776 Boylston Street (at the Mandarin Oriental)
Boston, MA 02199