The décor at Cafe Boulud is one-part British-influenced brasserie, one-part river cruise, and one-part Mad Men. There is a polished retro ambience. It’s as though I’ve been here before but it was somewhere else. Two-tone leather and fabric banquets of emerald green and tan, and finished wood are warm, refined and accessible. It’s been a while, but I know I’m at the Four Seasons Hotel when the server greets me by saying, “welcome back.”
The menu is French, and showcases Canadian oysters from east to west, a range of foie gras, pate and charcuterie, but it’s the rotisserie chicken, crisp and juicy, that tantalizes us. It is indeed a cluckin’ tasty bird. All the ingredients are sourced for quality and the beef is no exception. 30-days dry-aged Cumbrae beef steak is tender and robust. As I look at neighbouring tables I see that this, along with sauce béarnaise and crunchy salt-dusted frites, is the de rigueur choice. Ooh la la! The Frenchy Burger is a work of art. A profile of flavours and textures, this mouthwatering beef with pork belly, and the envelopment of morbier cheese and tomato-onion compote is rich and delish.
Linguini du Sud is a refreshing surprise. In-house made pasta is al dente, and the balance of lemon and saffron creates a sweet citrus; a soft lemon flavour that is lovely and unusual. Tossed with fennel, there is subtle crunch, while the arugula and clams add nuance and substance. A signature from the south of France, Quenelle de Brochet, is Lyon style northern pike quenelle with cognac lobster sauce. Delicate and fluffy, it is perfectly poached.
“Oui!” to the server who wants to pour grand marnier crème anglaise into the centre of our soufflé. Light and moist, this traditional French dessert beckons us to linger over our coffee just a little while longer.
~Cafe Boulud, Four Season Hotel Toronto, 60 Yorkville Ave, 416-963-6000~