connoisseur MAIN DISH
dallas DÉLICIEUX Chef Nathan Tate
Story | JESSICA MEBANE Photography | BRENLEE MCKNIGHT
f the Bishop Arts District had a contest for restaurants that most exemplify its creative and community-based renaissance, then Boulevardier would be the hands-down winner. The place looks as though someone has plunked down a bustling, Parisian brasserie within its exposed brick warehouse walls, with diners lingering over drinks and fresh, cold oysters while tossing flirtatious glances around the bar area.
Oysters, both Gulf and bluepoint, are a star attraction, perched on a huge island of crushed ice. Order a delicious cocktail from an impressive drink menu, thoughtfully curated by bar and general manager Eddie Eakin. One of Eakin’s delightful signature drinks, the Belle Femme, is a light but potent concoction and makes a lovely counterpoint to the woodgrilled oysters, which are served simmering in a sinful mélange of Tabasco, compound butter, shallots and wine. After drifting from the bar to the dining room, one is immediately struck by the casual neighborhood bistro feel of the tables and banquettes next to café curtains and chalkboard specials, but once you catch sight of the wall-to-wall shelves full of New World Reds, Sancerre and other complex wines, it’s patently obvious that serious food for serious foodies is served here. Try the bountiful Big Board with cunning combinations of meat, cheeses and fresh fruit. The blueberries pop against the salty duck prosciutto, and the in-house made country pork paté dotted with pistachios and bacon demands that you take a crunchy bite of briny cornichon pickles before trying the creamy Brie. All of this is served with crispy ovals of sourdough standing in teeny aluminum buckets, as if to remind you of this sophisticated petit plat’s humble beginnings. After all, most of Boulevardier’s produce comes from local provider Barking Cat Farms in Rockwall, just northeast of Dallas. Rockwall is also the originpoint for the entire beef selection on the Boulevardier menu, which is provided by one of the owner’s family cattle enterprises, Tate Farms. If you’ve been fortunate
enough to be raised in Texas, chances are you know good bone marrow. Here, there’s plenty to share, with three nice-sized sections of beef shank roasted and halved to reveal the silken, salty marrow that pairs perfectly with a dab of sweet onion marmalade smeared across bread. If marrow isn’t quite your favorite beef selection, fear not, for many repeat diners come just for the Boulevardier burger, also sourced from Tate Farms and ground daily in-house. Served with a custom board of condiments, it’s considered one of the best burgers in town. Venture farther down the menu to sample some of Boulevardier’s stellar main courses—crispy duck nestled among ribbons of papparadelle pasta; or the exquisitely neck of lamb, prepared sous-vide in red wine braisage. Take a bite, sip some crisp white Burgundy, and as your eyes close in appreciation, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported to a French farmer’s rustic Sunday table in Provence. If you can still manage it after sampling such complex entrees, consider the dessert menu— in particular, Nancy’s Bread Pudding. Based on chef-owner Nathan Tate’s grandmother’s recipe, it’s an elegant mouthful of cinnamon-and-bourbonlaced pudding with dense, rich flavors. Served with huckleberries and vanilla bean ice cream, this dessert is the ultimate topper after an evening full of brilliantly crafted food and wines served with casual charm.
boulevardier 408 n. bishop ave. dallas (214) 942-1828 dallasboulevardier.com