On the Waterfront

Boulevard

Fortunately, we didn't. Once upon a time, I believed my own fresh egg fettuccine laced with pepper would be the finest example of pasta-making I'd ever taste. Boulevard's pappardelle appetizer shattered that illusion: Imagine mile-wide belts of pasta pressed with pungent black truffles to form a tiger-stripe pattern, then served with Parmesan, a decadent white truffle butter, and more black truffles, the flavors so ruthlessly intense that a larger, entree-sized portion would have short-circuited the senses entirely.

My entree showed a Celtic/Anglo sensibility: tender, pepper-dusted, wood-oven-roasted lamb loin served with morel mushrooms, a blessedly fragrant rosemary jus, and -- the only disappointments -- buttered mashed potatoes, English peas, and asparagus. It wasn't that the sides were anything less than what they should have been, but when I saw what had arrived at Michelle's end of the table it was hard not to feel I'd made a boring choice. Why go with meat and potatoes when you can have juicy, crackling, pan-roasted mahi mahi topped with firm, buttery lobster, with a side of chanterelles in a creamy lemon beurre fondue and the most flavorful saffron risotto imaginable? To drive the point home, the plate was finished with sprigs of dill, parsley, chervil, and a single basil leaf, all quite edible, meaning those fresh herbs could be worked into the arborio to yield saffron risotto four ways.

For me, ordering only one sweet is a rarity, but one is more than enough when you've never had anything better. We selected the Boston crème brûlée pie, which meant a standard custard with tiles of chocolate embedded under the glassy, caramelized top, the whole thing set in a light vanilla cake and served with strawberries, slices of mandarin orange, and homemade marshmallows. To finish, Michelle sipped a bold, full-bodied Hennessey VSOP cognac while I enjoyed a spirited example of the world's other great brandy (Armagnac) from the good people at Domaine du Tariquet. Both were served in chic, stemless snifters that forced us to embrace these fine digestifs fully. It was another nice touch that made us realize Boulevard may be an obvious choice when you want to impress, but only because it's one of the best.

Seasoned Swank: Boulevard's sumptuous interior matches its impressive food.
Anthony Pidgeon
Seasoned Swank: Boulevard's sumptuous interior matches its impressive food.

Location Info

Map

Boulevard

1 Mission
San Francisco, CA 94105

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Embarcadero

Details

543-6084. Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., dinner every night from 5:30 to 10 p.m. (10:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday). Reservations accepted. Wheelchair accessible. Parking: valet available for $9, otherwise fairly easy. Muni: 14. Noise level: moderate.

Jacquesson brut perfection $12/glass
Asparagus with serrano ham $10
Pappardelle pressed with truffles $11
Pan-roasted mahi mahi $28
Wood-oven-roasted lamb loin $28
Boston crème brûlée pie $8.75
Domaine du Tariquet Armagnac $10/glass

1 Mission (at Steuart)

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