As a foodie, I just had to attend Restaurant Week in New York City during the summer. During a specific time (actually not a week but more like a month or so) in the summer and winter, NYC restaurants offer prix-fixe lunches for $25 and dinners for $38. But it took me forever to get to it.
I’m not the type of foodie who has to go to that exclusive restaurant to try their elusive dishes. No. I prefer the street stands and simple foods. Sure I like the fancier stuff, but girl has a poor college student budget! I have to eat cheap yet delicious food. So I tend to find myself in Flushing’s New World Mall food court. They do a good job at satisfying my appetite and wallet.
My friend actually made the reservations after I decided I really didn’t care where we ate. Based on my frugal selection of food, any restaurant participating in Restaurant Week would be a step, no a leap, up from where I’ve been dining. I usually aim for less than $15 per meal, but $38 for an entire meal! Even I consider $30 to be the maximum price for a pair of jeans. It sure made a dent in my wallet but what a experience eating at Boulud Sud.
It was so fancy. Nothing compared to crowded tables in a food court or ordering at a counter and waiting for your number to be called. Here, you sit down at a table, which already have plates and probably more to come as dishes arrive, which is when you begin sympathizing for the dishwasher. My usual dining places usually use disposable dishes. What a change of pace. Cloth napkins are already folded before you when I usually have to grab a handful of paper napkins. There were also wine glasses. But too bad, I’m under 21-years-old.
A waiter, who takes the time to recite the special of the day, hands the menu to you. I listened, but I know I wouldn’t order those because I had my eye on the special Restaurant Week menu. Anything additional would just raise the already high $38 check. At New World Mall? You hear tons of shouting. Chinese is everywhere and even though I’m learning Chinese, I still have trouble deciphering the menu. I tend to rely on the English or ask the cashier for help. I try to act all innocent and childish so I don’t seem like a stupid 19-year-old illiterate Chinese girl.
It’s been awhile since I ate at Boulud Sud. Actually, I ate there on August 14. I admit, I’m a procrastinator, but better late than never, right? However, I do the preparation. Even now in China, I haven’t found the time to blog, but I’ve been taking pictures and writing notes about the food I’ve tasted. As for this meal, I took pictures and took notes on my phone. My observations of the food will be based on memory and the notes I took, which I’m now deciphering.
It’s hard to blog about food. It’s a curse but you can’t help but do it! It’s like I’m Ella from Ella Enchanted. Instead of having to follow orders, I have to follow my stomach. When I sit down for a meal, I pull out my giant camera and while eating, I take notes on my phone. I take a bite and think. Along the way, I make typos because I’m so impatient that I want to eat already! It sucks that food cools while you’re trying to get the perfect picture of it. It’s a sacrifice that I’m willing to make to have the memory of the food after I’ve devoured it.
The bread came free of charge. I don’t remember the taste of the bread that was meant to be dipped in oil. I’m sure it tasted delicious.
There was also a pancake that tasted very similar to Chinese pancakes, bing (饼). The smell and texture of it reminded me of bing. But I’m sure that idea of pan-frying dough in oil is universal. Such a simple dish but oh so satisfying!
Ouzo Cured Salmon – Whole Wheat Bulgar, Cucumber, Dill Yogurt
The salmon was very light and refreshing. Perfect for an appetizer to prepare you for the entrée and finally the dessert. The pickles added a tangy taste, which added onto the refreshing taste of the salmon.
Unknown Fried Pork Dish (friend)
My friend ordered the dish that was off the Restaurant Week menu. I don’t have the name of it but I remember that it was fried pork. I do not remember what it tasted like but my notes say: “Fried pork creamy inside. Rich because fried but veggies balance it.” I’m not sure how fried pork is creamy… As for the latter, I know that I tend to find fried food rather rich. I probably thought it was too heavy but with the vegetables, it prevented it from becoming too overwhelming.
Charred Berkshire Pork Loin – Market Bean, Chorizo, Oregano
I originally thought the pork would be very tender because it had a light color. I usually think of fat when I see that type of color, since my parents cook beef with the fat still attached. It has a rather slippery, but soft texture. However, I forgot that pork is usually light in color. I do wish the pork was softer, but that is probably from my initial misidentification.
The pork loin had a slight saltiness. Paired with the sauce, which I’m assuming is the market beans, it was almost as if eating mashed potatoes. It was very smooth and therefore had a nice consistency. The small hard pieces of meat added spice and had a bacon flavor. I believe this was the chorizo, which I’ve heard of many times on food shows but have never tasted before. It tasted amazing.
Za’atar Spiced Swordfish- Rice Pilaf, eggplant, lemon tahini (friend)
My friend ordered this. I think I got a small bite of it but I didn’t take down any notes. I’m sure it tasted great. It looks very pretty.
Chocolate Panna Cotta – Caramel, Raspberry Foam, Chocolate Sorbet
The panna cotta and sorbet just melt in your mouth. Exquisite texture. There is an appetizing dark chocolate flavor, which I don’t usually say since I usually dislike dark chocolate. So the fact that Boulud Sud was able to make me say I liked the dark chocolate is quite a feat. Well-done.
I liked that this dessert had a lot of juxtaposition. You had the soft panna cotta and sorbet contrasting with the crunch rice-crispy like bits. There were many flavors, from the bitter dark chocolate to the sweet caramel to the tangy tart raspberry foam. I loved getting a bit of each component and having them combine in my mouth as I experienced each flavor and texture, not only individually, but also together. They worked in total harmony.
Orange Blossom Cloud – Sangria Blackberries, Rose-Marzipan Gelato
Very interesting dessert. I actually wrote: “reminiscent of soap but I want more.” I guess that was the best way I could describe the dessert. The white portions were very fluffy and I even called it “strange.” I don’t remember much about it but my notes sure demonstrate my confused but admiring thoughts for this dessert.
I like fancy restaurants. Maybe instead of dining in cheap stands, I should cook more at home and save up for these type of restaurants. NYC Winter Restaurant Week? At least if I do this, then I’ll have more cooking blog posts…