Birthday Dinner: Café Boulud

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
This is the last birthday dinner post, I swear. (Well, at least from this year.) So, Birthday Dinner #3 happened on Sunday (on my actual birthday) with my friend Ronsee at Café Boulud. If it sounds familiar, it's because it is the Toronto branch of French celebrity chef Daniel Boulud's highly-lauded Café Boulud. It surprisingly flopped when it first opened in Toronto (you can read all about it here) and they had contemplated closing it down, but they decided to revamp it instead, and it re-opened this past September to much more fanfare. It's continually busy nowadays, even on the chilly November Sunday evening that we went. The space, which was once described as "cold and soulless," is now warm, comforting, and inviting. It's sort of rustic-meets-retro-cool with lots of dark woods, banquette booths, slouchy leather chairs, and spherical hanging lamps. The menu is more streamlined with bistro classics and contemporary dishes that reflect Toronto's multi-cultural flair. Everything, however, is tinged with French sensibilities.

Charcuterie Board

30-Day Dry-Aged Strip Loin

To start, we shared the charcuterie board. I would be lying if I said I remembered everything on said board, but I do know there were two different types of terrine, plus salami, ham, and some sort of chopped meat salad (maybe rabbit?). Served with toasted sourdough, beer mustard, and house-made pickles. It was a good assortment of meats and a great representation of meat preparation. I think the bigger board would've been more impressive (I imagine it to be more akin to the one we had at Hearth), but charcuterie lovers will be satisfied, nonetheless. For my main course, I ordered the steak. It really was between this and the duck confit, but my love for beef just won out. And no regrets, whatsoever. It was just perfection; so juicy, so moist, and so goddamn flavourful that the béarnaise sauce at the side just seemed like overkill (it didn't go to waste, though, 'cause I dipped all my frites into it). Honestly, after eating this, I've realized that Toronto seriously needs to work on its steak game. So many restaurants here serve steak, but the majority are sub par by comparison, whether it's in the cut, the preparation, the type of cow, etc. (That reminds me: Next year, I'm checking out Harbour Sixty. It needs to happen.) The staff here is also lovely, from the hostess to the manager, and our server was delightful. He was nice, personable, informative, and prompt despite it being a near full-house on this Sunday evening. Some people complain that it is overpriced, and maybe I've just eaten at too many truly overpriced restaurants (e.g. every restaurant in NYC), but I actually think you get what you pay for here. And while Café Boulud has received some mixed reviews (like, the people that hate this place really fucking hate it), I honestly had a phenomenal experience and would come back again in a heartbeat. 

Café Boulud
Four Seasons Hotel Toronto
60 Yorkville Avenue
Toronto, ON M4W 0A4
(416) 963-6000
2 comments on "Birthday Dinner: Café Boulud"
  1. I'm down with that charcuterie board. I've had dessert and drinks here and thought it was pretty good! Service was excellent.

    1. Right? I've read some reviews on this place and they're cutthroat! But I would definitely go again. :) The duck confit is calling out to me, lol.


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