Summer means it's time for another intern! Rachel's been working with me for about a month now and I'm so happy to have found her! Of course I wanted to be sure we start restaurant week right, and while I may not be able to pay my interns I want to make sure their learning and they eat well! Rachel's been a great addition so far, and I wanted her to add her flavor to the website. I guess they're doing something right at Cornell! So my experience with the Summer 2014 Restaurant Week began with a disarming, high-pitched squeal from Adrienne. After shooting her a quizzical look, she explained that she had just gotten an email that reservations could officially start being made. No further questions. There is no doubt about her love for food; I can surely tell you that. And I’m right there with her.
For as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been a foodie too. When I was at the age that children are supposed to be eating a couple peas and carrots for dinner, I was eating a whole Mexican platter—and dipping my binky into the salsa. Now I’ve outgrown the binky, but not the salsa.
Personally, going out to eat is one of my favorite things to do. I think knowing good food is like knowing good wine—they both convey a certain sense of sophistication and education. (Aside from the fact that it’s also delicious.) That’s why I love NYC Restaurant Week—they make very sophisticated restaurants a little more affordable so that more of us can experience all the good eats of this city. And I think that’s great. Restaurant Week meals also feel more festive—like eating is a great big event, like a show on Broadway or a trip to one of NYC’s fabulous museums. So on Tuesday Adrienne and I enjoyed a delightful lunch at Bar Boulud to celebrate this wonderful event. And what kind of an obsessive foodie would I be if I didn’t tell you all about it?
For an appetizer I ordered the chilled creamy corn soup with mackerel escabeche and popcorn on top. This was a very satisfying soup, with a strong corn flavor and a thick and smooth consistency. The herbs on top may have come through more if they were turned into infused oil, and the popcorn didn’t fully deliver on the crunchy texture change they were going for, but I quite enjoyed it. An excellent pairing with this soup was the Snapdragon drink I ordered—a mixture of pomegranate juice, lemon, ginger syrup, and sparkling water. So bright and so delicious—the perfect amount of zing, especially in contrast with the creamy soup.
Next was the grilled chicken with salad and mustard dressing. The grilled chicken had great grill marks and flavor, and was the perfect thickness. However, it did need the mustard dressing to become “restaurant week worthy.” Fun fact: this dish was changed from the online restaurant week menu, which advertised a different kind of chicken (can’t fool me, I do my food research!)
Finally, the dessert of blueberry thyme marmalade, mascarpone mousse and peach sorbet. I think that this was the standout of the meal. All of the elements tasted incredibly fresh, and worked very well together. The tartness of the peach sorbet with the sweet, macerated blueberries and a smooth creamy mousse. There were also tuile cookie crumbs in the dessert to add some texture. Awesome.
Is your mouth watering yet? Check out Bar Boulud! Whatever you do, make sure to go to at least one restaurant for Summer Restaurant Week! It’s the event of the season!
--Rachel Kaplowitz, Cornell University, History & Italian Studies
Restaurant Week menus are available at over 300 restos throughout NYC and it's longer than a month! 3-course prix fixe lunch is $25 plus tax, beverages and gratuities, and dinners are the same deal, but for $38/person. Please feel free to contact me for my thoughts and suggestions...for example I think you're better off just going to Bar Boulud for lunch, but Boulud Sud was a GREAT restaurant week deal in the winter.