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Every year my wife and I attend two or three performances at the Metropolitan Opera, and every year I struggle to find a worthy place to have dinner prior to the performance. The dining options surrounding Lincoln Center have been rather poor, considering the large number of wealthy people who descend on the area each year. Sure, the three star restaurant Picholine is in walking distance, but it is hard to squeeze in a five course meal and be out the door by seven o’clock. Daniel Boulud was obviously thinking along the same lines and has come to the rescue. Bar Boulud is a sharp, upscale wine bar that offers a perfect combination of excellent French country cooking, a very good wine list, timely service and a lively atmosphere.

Daniel Johnnes, the Wine Director for Mr. Boulud’s restaurant empire, has put together a compact selection consisting of excellent producers. I was, however, a little disappointed that the list was not larger. That said, I still found a beautiful bottle to drink, a 2005 Georges Roumier, Bourgogne, rouge. Judging by the silky texture of the wine, I would guess that the fruit for this cuvee came from Chambolle. I have had two bottles from Roumier in the past year. A 1999, Chambolle-Musigny was still young and a little rustic, but I loved its full body and depth. Despite being 17 years old at the time, a 1990 Chambolle-Musigny, Amoureuses, 1er Cru was very tight and firm. Until the last sip, that is. With one drop left in the glass, the wine suddenly softened and released a beautiful fragrance. Oh well. In contrast, the Bourgogne was delicious as soon as it was opened, full of ripe black raspberry fruit. I would have been really happy with this wine even if the lable had read ‘Chambolle-Musigny’.

I started with a cold terrine of fois gras, sweetbreads and morels and my wife ordered one made with slow braised short rib. Both were excellent. The soft shell crab special entree tasted very bright and fresh. An order of blood saugage (Boudin Noir), was excellent, moist and full of dark juices (blood?). The two desserts we ordered were very good, but not as exciting as the previous dishes. Amazingly, I left the restaurant without feeling weighed down and ill, which is important when the next three hours are spent sitting in a dark, hot theater. Bar Boulud and its burg centric wine list is a very welcomed addition to the Lincoln Center area. Roumier and Verdi, music to my ears.

 


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