As soon as I walked through the revolving doors, I knew it was going to be a special night. To describe the holiday decor as "festive" would not be doing this restaurant justice - garlands, wreaths, and glistening ornaments decorating the ceilings, walls, and walkways make the already beautiful interior nothing short of breathtaking. The whole dining room sparkled like there was magic in the air. I know, I know that's totally cheesy but hey, I know magic when I see it.
If the atmosphere isn't enough to put you in the holiday spirit (i.e. the spirit of giving hundreds of dollars to this restaurant for dinner), then the food certainly will. While the selection of primary proteins in the starters and main courses may not vary significantly throughout the year, you're reminded that it's the holiday season through the supporting cast of ingredients - pistachios, beets, squash, pumpkin spice, cranberry, pomegranate seeds, chestnuts, parsnip, and quince add a huge helping of holiday charm to the menu. So much so that I was tempted to break out my bear skin rug and cozy up with some eggnog in front of the ovens - I don't think the chefs would've minded.
We started with the RED ABALONE (pictured above) paired with pancetta, potato mousseline, and abalone mushrooms - ingredients that didn't overpower the abalone's delicate flavor; and, the mushrooms mirrored the texture of the abalone perfectly. We also had the seared FOIE GRAS - a preparation saturated in holiday flavors with Pumpkin Brioche, Spiced Butternut Squash, Chili Candied Pecans, Cranberry Crackle & Burnt Caramel. I was ecstatic to try such a classic dish served in this way, and it was exceptional.
The PHEASANT LEG/RAVIOLI followed (apparently it tastes like chicken!), which was a bit on the dry side, but was saved by the delicious jus that accompanied it. Also of note, while I don't particularly like cod, the LOBSTER and COD was beautifully cooked, and the risotto was packed with flavor, giving the cod the boost it needed.
Finally, the HUCKLEBERRY TART with fleur de sel ice cream, cinnamon, and pomegranate seeds was a perfectly sweet/tart/salty end to a perfectly seasonal menu.
Service was...well, let's put it this way: it was good service at an exceptionally busy time. Certain grievances, like not bringing the bread soon enough, or the rushed demeanor of our waiter, were really symptoms of how slammed they were, not of how professional/attentive the service is. When it slowed down a bit, the waiter even catered to my annoying requests and helped me take pictures of the food by shining a light over the plates. Yep. I'm that girl.
My conclusion? I couldn't have picked a better restaurant for my holiday celebration dinner. Boulevard put the magic of Christmas in my belly, and for that, I'm thankful.
1 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-1209