Bar Boulud's opening has been delayed (for a week or so according to Eater), but I taped a television piece there last week and got to taste charcutier Sylvain Gasdon's (a disciple of famed Parisian charcutier Gilles Verot) wares. Simply put, Gasdon is making the best charcuterie Americans have ever seen and tasted on these shores. The Compote de Joue de Bœuf shredded slow-braised beef cheek, with onion confit and pistachio, is an earthy slice of perfection. The Tagine D’agneau, a terrine of slow cooked spiced leg of lamb, with eggplant and sweet potato, is even more complex and delicious. The housemade jambon de Paris is the French ham I never thought I would be able to taste in New York. To me, the piece de resistance here is the boudin blanc, a pork and cream-filled link that is rich and so smooth it's practically warm pork ice cream. Or maybe it's pork pudding in link form.
But are Americans ready for this kind of food?
Now whether New Yorkers and Americans will embrace terrines and pates, inch-high slabs of pressed, chunked, and shredded meat and organ meat mixed with herbs, spices, vegetables, and potatoes, is indeed a question waiting to be answered. For Boulud, who grew up eating and learning to make charcuterie in Lyons, this is his soul food. But even he realizes he has to hedge his bets. So Bar Boulud will also have a bistro and brasserie-derived full menu and a fine selection of cheeses to go along with the charcuterie and wine that form the heart of the restaurant's offerings.
Bar Boulud is Boulud's gutsiest endeavor to date (forgive the obvious double entendre), and also his most heartfelt.
Bar Boulud (opening soon: call first) 1900 Broadway (63rd Street) New York, NY 10023 Ph: 212-595-0303