On quiet 76th Street, around the corner from high-profile Madison Avenue boutiques, is the setting for Café Boulud. Reminiscent of an elegant little dining room found in Paris during a simpler epoch, this restaurant from master Chef Daniel Boulud underscores the idea that fine dining should be a relaxing and luxurious experience. Now a temple of global gastronomy, it still looks and feels like a quiet Upper East Side space best suited for hushed conversation and romantic dispensations.
Under the firm command of rising star Chef Gavin Kaysen, the food suggests a deep knowledge of the classic French techniques, yet also touches of innovation. Given the long tradition that these dishes reflect, the nine-course tasting menu offers a chance to get of a sense of the breadth of history embodied in the authentic cuisine served here.
Boulud has given Kaysen the freedom to develop his own stylish dishes within the café's four themes: traditional, a seasonal orientation, the feeling that this is a foreign kitchen from Europe, and that these creations are market-specific. Simple dishes are given unique accents, such as the truly sumptuous and succulent Winter Squash Ravioli. The Penne with Lamb Merguez Meatballs is a rich collage of flavours. An extremely well selected and versatile wine list leans mostly towards French gems.