BOULEVARD Restaurant, An Established San Francisco Favorite With Reason…

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I’ve been to Boulevard Restaurant on San Francisco’s Mission Street many times but have never taken the time to focus on the food from a review perspective — oh so many dishes, oh so many great wines. It’s been around for awhile — I recall going there for business dinners in the mid-nineties. Opened in 1993 by Nancy Oakes and Pat Kuleto, the place has transitioned into a classic San Francisco restaurant that’s hard to beat. Chef Oakes wonderful expression of American regional flavors with a French influenced style has made it a culinary landmark in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Let’s start with my favorites: AHI TUNA Ito-Zukuri if you want to keep you healthy. Or, if not, padron pepper tempura with white sesame aioli and togarashi-shoyu vinaigrette. They also have  a scrumptious rossa bianca eggplant with wasabi shinku pear dressing & shiso.

For something a little more unusual, try their calamari street vendor style pork belly, which is stuffed with yam starch noodles, white shrimp & scallions, chili pickled watermelon, cucumber & peanuts. Someone ordered the pan-seared sea scallops with artichoke hearts, fresh shelling beans & sea spinach, which is served with preserved lemon, castelvetrano olive & amaranth gremolata.

Before we even got to starters, they brought out a delicious cheese sampler to die for with a l’il fig on the side.

No one seemed to order a dish I SHOULD have ordered: the Ravioli Porcini Butter Confit Rabbit with wild greens and ricotta. What was I thinking? Calories likely but I’m still dreaming of the ‘what would it have tasted like?’ They serve with bellwether basket ricotta, borage, nettles (yes nettles) and lamb’s quarters. And, this delicious dish comes with hon shemeji mushrooms.   As for salads, no one ordered any of those either yet they’re my automatic go-to appetizer most of the time.

They had a poached pear, roasted squash and Spanish goat cheese salad on the list made with grapes, roasted walnuts and topped off with a Noble Sherry vinaigrette. OR, how about the browkaw avocado and roasted beet arugula salad that none of us ordered either? (served with pine nuts, hearts of palm and truffle relish, with an Arbequina olive oil — idiots that we were?)

That said,  some of us did something right since we went for the Buffalo Mozzarella & Heirloom tomato salad which was served with a red quinoa persillade, sweet basil pesto, arugula and olio verde. AND, one person ordered the grilled salmon with lemon & herbs. Need I say more? (served with roasted lobster, abalone mushrooms, Nasturtium Beurre Fondu, HeirloomCorn, Wild Rice & White Rice Beans with Roasted Shallot & Toasted Caraway). Not so much the idiots I thought we first were when I dove into the earlier menu.