We just returned from a first look at Bar Boulud, and our immediate reaction: dumbstruck awe. Here we thought the place was supposed to be a wine bar! In fact, it’s a full-scale restaurant with three private dining rooms, a huge kitchen, a separate charcuterie kitchen, and enough dried sausages and glistening terrines on display to get any gourmand hot and bothered. Even the design elements are special: The place is a wine shrine, with a vaulted ceiling (to suggest wine cellars), limestone floors (likewise), and white oak tables (an allusion to wine barrels). Along the walls is a series of framed photographs of wine stains made by Daniel Boulud and artist Vik Muniz. They look like red suns floating, Rothko-like, on their white backgrounds, and are slightly hypnotic. But so are the pork products!
The real draw at Bar Boulud will be the food: straight-up bistro classics. The star of the menu is undoubtedly the charcuterie by Sylvain Gasdon, disciple of Gilles Verot, the art form’s Mozart. We got to try a pork terrine grand-mère (a rustic pork spread enriched by chicken liver), a coarse lamb terrine, a rabbit terrine, and the house-cured ham, which we immediately fell in love with and proposed to and are planning to take to St. Barts for a romantic weekend getaway. Seriously, this kind of charcuterie has almost never been available in this profusion and variety in the United States. Combine that with the extensive list of Burgundy and Rhône wines, and Bar Boulud may be able to single-handedly restore France to the forefront of New York’s romantic imagination.