Wednesday, February 4, 2009

That Blue spot

Events conspired to get me to Boulevard Blue twice in the past five days. This is a good thing. The old restaurant on Larchmere is a whole new place since Chef Kurt Steeber took over a couple of months ago. He's home again-after a hitch in California, where the restaurant he was working in burned down. The first thing he did after taking over was to revamp the Blue’s menu to showcase his singular style and a cooking philosophy rooted in seasonality and the good stuff that’s grown and made in this region. Instead of going with just one entrĂ©e per visit- how boring is that- I montaged a meal from the bar bites and small plate offerings. This let me try many different dishes- plus those ordered by my companions, of course, since sharing is requirement of dining with me- and everything I ate was wonderful.

A plush creamy puree of tarragon flavored chicken livers spread on toast points was rich as a dessert. Calamari took on a whole new identity because Steeber replaces the standard marinara with a smear of thick as jam lemon-salsify sauce. A fat prawn- head and all- body surfed atop a fine grit flan in a seafood reduction studded with little shrimp. Every bite of Surf and Turf, made with bits of lobster, sweetbreads, and braised endive , was an uncommon mix of tastes and textures. A cook with a dry sense of humor, he calls his re-constructed Caesar salad Et Tu Brute? and I loved it. The dish features a romaine sprout, croutons crisscrossed with anchovy filets, and a dense parmesan panna cotta. A lamb shank was accompanied by a wholly unusual and intriguing side created by stacking a polenta cake with a layer of spicy eggplant puree and another of slightly sweet fig tapenade. The husband, a connoisseur of fish sandwiches dubbed Chef Kurt’s the best he’s ever had. Could it be the homemade tartar sauce? Or perhaps the pilsner battered cod?

Although I prefer to explore and experiment, rather than revisit the familiar, I had to order the same glass of Laetitia Pinot Noir both times because the Burgundian style red was just so fine. I hear Steeber’s continuing the Blue’s half price wine nights on Tuesdays. I may just have to go again soon and treat myself to a bottle and another opportunity to graze my way through more of his good food.

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