Many of you have come to read my restaurant reviews today. Why, I’ll never know. I don’t do them that often, and I usually do a mediocre job compared to the “real” reviewers. My review of Boulevard Kitchen & Bar may be a rare exception. Then again, probably not.
Let’s get right to it: the reviews are all over the place on the web. The same thing emerges in all the 2 and 3 star reviews: too pricey. Yeah, that’s probably fair. We dropped 125 with tip for 3 lunches, two desserts, four beverages (all nonalcoholic.) and a comfortable place to talk for 2 hours.
On the other hand, the food was really wonderful. Appetizer for us was the Boulevard chili shrimp and avocado. Most people would call it a Ceviche, but since I’m not sure how it was prepared I’ll walk away from that and stick with the bar’s name for the dish. Lots of avocado, plentiful shrimp, and a fresh flavor that left no doubt that it was prepared that day. The chips were good as well, and everyone at our table gave it at least four stars out of five.
The next item was a crab cake BLT. I was a bit nervous about this, as the person who ordered it is a fanatic on the subject of crab cakes. For an extra two bucks they opted for the sweet potato fries as the side. Nicely done, good consistency of product, and a great taste that was not out of a can, our diner gave it 4.5 stars. Not bad at all.
Two of us had the same thing: chicken pot pie. The top crust was beyond puffy. That thing deserved it’s own zip code. Light, flaky, and rich, it held the heat in for a cast iron pot full of amazing chicken and vegetables. Different than a standard pot pie, it was more like a thick soup than the usual gummy innards you find at most restaurants. I loved it. That one got five stars without a doubt. It was the daily special, and probably should be on the menu every day.
Coffee was strong and rich, truly good stuff. Minnesota is widely known for its restaurant coffee: most is lousy.This was as good as you’d get in any high-priced froo-froo joint with a funny mermaid in its logo.
Last on our tour was the cake. An apple cake with apple ice cream on the side. The cake was served hot. Like, fresh out of the oven hot. The ice cream was cold. As in, won’t melt instantly. Home made cake that had all the great things I like: flavor, texture, drizzled caramel. Yup. Five stars for desert.
Our server knew the menu well, had great timing, and kept us topped up on beverages. Sunny smile, great disposition, and good recommendations. I noted, as the afternoon drew to a close and dinner neared, that a veritable herd of servers came in to go to work. Not just a handful, but a platoon of people with clean, white shirts on hangers. That told me a lot about the staff and what is expected of them.
There is a private dining room for functions, and while I peeked in all I got was an impression of a really nice space for a rehearsal dinner.
The kitchen is open to view and dazzling in its cleanliness. Same with the bathrooms (cleanliness, that is…)
All said, it’s a go. If you have some spare cash and want a great dining experience this is the place. Yes, it’s spendy. I can’t deny that for even a second. But you know where Arby’s is if that’s your goal. The BLVD Kitchen and Bar is a nice place for a great lunch. Dinner would be reviewed but I was full from lunch and couldn’t plow through another meal.