May 31, 2007
Boulettes’ salmon carpaccio with salt-cured capers.
I know our Eat + Drink editor, Sara Deseran, has written about Boulettes Larder in the Ferry Building, as have others. But since it’s not exactly a restaurant—more a combination of extremely high-end gourmet shop, takeout counter and, in the evening, private dining room—I for one didn’t know what to make of it until a few nights ago, when I attended a wine-pairing dinner hosted by Blackbird Vineyards. (See Jordan Mackay’s blog for more on Blackbird’s wines.)
Eating dinner at Boulettes is like employing the best personal chef at your very own Tuscan estate. With a fireplace roaring, a table set for up to 24 people inside the open kitchen, and a view of the Bay Bridge out the huge windows, the setting is dreamy. But the food exceeds that. Boulettes chef Amaryll Schwertner created the tangible definition of “amuse bouche” with the little bites passed before dinner, most memorably a seared square of tuna atop a slice of juicy cooked peach with one brilliant snap pea. Meaty, crunchy fish, meltingly sweet fruit, vegetal crispness, plopped on the tongue in that order. “Hello!” says the tongue. “I’m awake and ready.”
The first course was an achingly lovely plate of delicate salmon carpaccio dressed with microgreens, scattered lentils and salt-cured capers—little tangy pellets that exploded in the mouth to balance the earthiness. For the main course, a trio of pork tenderloins cooked tonkatsu style (lightly breaded and deep-fried) lay in a miso reduction with steamed spinach; dessert was a rustic crostata full of plump, intact cherries and walnuts topped with cream.
Cherry-walnut crostata topped with Kirsch cream.
The price for this body-and-soul bliss: $165 per person, plus service fees and taxes. It’s admittedly not something one can indulge in every weekend, but I will seriously consider Boulettes the next time I have something big to celebrate. Life is just too short to miss out on food like this.
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