Exciting news has been stirring with regards to chef Daniel Boulud and his first venture in the city of Boston. With an exact opening date still under discussion (it will be sometime this fall), the chef has decided to open his fourth Bar Boulud concept (following New York, London and Toronto locations) with the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group in the Back Bay area.
Guests can expect the usual Boulud style and flare, but with local ingredients taking center stage, with region-specific wine lists and French-inspired dishes. Chef Aaron Chambers, executive chef of Boulud Sud in New York, is set to take the helm of the kitchen. Boulud took the time to answer some of the most pressing questions about his upcoming project.
The Daily Meal: What made you choose Boston as your next culinary location?
Daniel Boulud: My first visit to Boston was to cook with Julia Child, followed by many visits for charity events to benefit the Anthony Spinazzola Foundation, so I have been coming for years! Not long ago, my daughter went to college in Boston and when I visited we’d explore the local food scene. She’d take me to the new restaurants to show me what was happening, and I’d visit chef friends of mine based in Boston. So I’ve always had an interest in opening here, and when the opportunity came about with the Mandarin it was finally the right time. I have had a relationship with the Mandarin Oriental in London for the past four years and it has been a great one — they are wonderful partners and I think one of the finest hotel groups in the world. David Nicholls, Mandarin Oriental Group Director of Food and Beverage, takes great care to create restaurants that will appeal to the city and be a great dining destination as well as a unique service to its guests.
Will you be at the helm of the kitchen alongside Aaron Chambers? And if so, do you know for how long?
Aaron Chambers, my chef de cuisine for this restaurant, has worked for me since 2009, first as a sous chef at Café Boulud in New York City, then as opening executive chef at Boulud Sud — he knows me very well and I know he will do a great job. Of course I will be visiting often since Boson is a quick trip from New York City and am very involved in all my kitchens, but I depend on my chefs to run their restaurants as if it were their own. Besides the chef, my restaurant management group, Dinex, brings a tremendous amount of support to every project, from creating the space to training staff to overseeing operations.
How will the Bar Boulud in Boston differ from the locations in NY and London?
The core of the concept and the vibe will be similar in many ways — French bistro dishes, house-made charcuterie, an in depth wine list highlighting the regions of Burgundy and the Rhône — but you will also see local influences. Since Boston is close to the coast, maybe you will see more fish, and we always work with local purveyors to get the best products and what the seasonal local market offers.
Do you expect to be catering to a Mandarin-specific audience or are you hoping to incite a wider range of interests?
Definitely not — Mandarin draws both an international and out of town audience, in part because of all the colleges in Boston, we will see a lot of visiting parents. But Boston is also a food-loving city, and I think Bar Boulud will bring something new to the Bostonian. It will be a great place for people to come for drinks and charcuterie, for casual dinners, business entertaining, and celebrations.
Will this be your only venture in Boston, or can we expect other Boulud restaurants?
When this opportunity came along it was very exciting, because we are not adding more seats to the Boston dining scene, but recreating a new restaurant in an existing space – it seemed like a perfect fit, and so we were very proud to get on board with the Mandarin.
We certainly hope it won't be his one and only! More details will follow as information is gathered on Boston's Bar Boulud location; stay tuned!