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« Bill Taibe & Kara Brooks 2012 JBF Award Semifinalists | Main | Station Eats Opens in Stamford: Organic Burgers & Dogs »
Sunday
Feb192012

Boulevard 18 French Bistro Opens in New Canaan

 

Un autre grand restaurant Français ouvre dans New Canaan. Oops, I got ahead of myself. What I meant to say was another noteworthy restaurant, Boulevard 18, a French Bistro and Wine Bar, officially opened last Friday in New Canaan and the food is well worth a night out.  

The 62 Main Street address has been transformed into a little bit of Paris by owners Steven Semaya, Luciano Ramirez, Henry Rosenbaum and Chef/Owner David Raymer (Strada 18 in Sono). The seating in the front bay window area with a single six person high-top table is in view of the lovely wrap-around zinc-top bar that can serve up to fifteen customers. The dining room in the rear has the feel of an intimate Parisian Bistro and includes a beautiful antique map of Paris adorning the large wall overlooking the dining area. For those who were familiar with Aloi, the acoustics have been vastly improved with a noise reduction “tin” ceiling (also very French). 

The opening night menu includes numerous “Small Bites” to enjoy with pre-dinner drinks, plus traditional appetizers and Entrée offerings. The “Small Bites” include Roquefort-stuffed Olives, Deviled Eggs, House-Made Gruyere Gougeres (small puffs of cheese pastry), House-Made Herb-glazed Nuts, and Devils on Horseback (dates stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon). 

A large selection of Charcuterie, Cheeses and house-made Sausages, including Merguez, Boudin Blanc, Duck and Red Wine, and Seafood are offered as appetizers as well as a classic Steak Tartare, Brandade de Morue (a pureed salt Cod), Grilled Octopus, Boston lettuce or Frisee salads. For those who wish to enjoy the Fruits de Mer, Boulevard 18 serves Oysters, Clams, Shrimp, or Dry Sea Scallop Cru, singularly or on a Petit or Grande Plateau.

Entrées include Grilled Leg of Lamb, Chicken Paillard, Roasted Salmon and a grilled fish du jour, plus an assortment of salads including a Salad Nicoise and a Salad of Duck Confit and Roasted Beets. Of course, the Boulevard 18 menu offers traditional Moules Frites and Steak Frites with either a New York Strip Steak or a Hanger Steak

A traditional rendition of a Bistro classic, the Boulevard 18 Onion Soup au Gratin is a combination of chicken and beef stocks that present a mild and flavorful result. The onions are slowly cooked to release their natural sugars to a soft consistency and the soup is topped with a combination of Gruyere and Comté cheeses that were perfectly melted for a delicious result.

The Salad of Chopped Seasonal Vegetables is a cacophony of colors and flavors whose ingredients include lettuces, micro-greens, Gigante beans, watermelon radish, sweet peppers, carrots and tomatoes, all lightly dressed with a vinaigrette. The abundance of flavors creates a delightful combination and makes a delicious and refreshing lunch and, if desired, can include either shrimp or chicken. Chef/Owner David Raymer says this is a new twist on the crave-worthy chopped salmon and brown rice salad from Strada 18. The Frisee Salad is delicious and is topped with a perfectly poached egg to complement the lightly dressed frisée and lardons.

The Seafood Sausage is uniquely delectable and I suggest that the table orders this appetizer to share so everyone can enjoy. The sausage is comprised of shrimp, lobster, scallops and bronzino, along with a little cream, but contains no bread. The texture allows for the various fish components to maintain their individual integrity and the flavors work extremely well together and are delicious. There is a slight ‘kick’ in the spice level which I found a great addition. The Bacon and Leek Tart is reminiscent of a slice of quiche with a delicious and buttery crust to encase the creamy and leek flavored custardy interior. The tart is served with a very lightly dressed and salted green salad.

Chef Raymer’s Steak Frites includes a choice of a delicious NY Strip steak or a Hanger steak, each perfectly grilled to my requested medium rare. The two cuts of meat are delicious, extremely tender with the Hanger Steak adding a deeper and richer flavor. The frites are incredibly crispy on the exterior with a light and airy interior. A light dusting of salt and pepper finish both the steak and the frites. Overall, both were excellent choices. The Duck Magret with caramelized baby turnips and a prune-Armagnac reduction includes a large breast that delivers a smoky and peppery taste, and is prepared rare, unless requested otherwise. The aged breast meat is incredibly flavorful and the sweetness of the reduction was a perfect complement to the richness of the meat. The caramelized baby turnips add another sweet element to the dish. 

For dessert I enjoyed the Apple Tart and the Chocolate Mousse.  The Tart is delicious.  The buttery crust is topped with thinly sliced layers of apples with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce to complete. Each part is delicious and together this is a perfect way to end the meal. The Chocolate Mousse has a great texture with a soft and silky consistency. This dessert includes a small dollop of sweetened cream atop.

The wine selection includes over eighty French labels and there are twelve beers on the menu. The majority of the wines range from $30 to $80 a bottle, with a couple a dozen over $100. Over twenty wines are also offered ‘by the glass.’ Beer choices include Coors, Hoegaarden, Brooklyn, Czechvar, Allagash, Cisco Brewing and St. Peters with prices between $6-9. Aperitifs and cocktails are also available.

Many say that a review should not occur during the first few weeks after opening. But with the quality of the food leaving the kitchen at Boulevard 18 on its opening weekend I was glad I was able to enjoy many selections from their opening menu and look forward to future meals at the newest addition to New Canaan.

Boulevard 18   62 Main Street, New Canaan. 203.594.9900

Boulevard 18 on Urbanspoon

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References (2)

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  • Response
    Boulevard 18 French Bistro Opens in New Canaan - CT Bites - Restaurants, Recipes, Food, Fairfield County, CT
  • Response
    Great Web page, Keep up the fantastic work. Thanks a ton!

Reader Comments (14)

Bienvenue å New Canaan, Boulevard 18! I took my family early last night and ages 7 to, well, much over 7, thoroughly enjoyed the experience on all levels. The food was incredible, atmosphere beautiful and staff very welcoming. We will definitely return...especially now that I see the photograph of this chopped salad that I missed!

February 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJane Beiles

Apon walking into BLVD.18 You Know you are in for a great dining experiance.The staff is very freindly And the food is one of a kind. The ambiance places you In another era.Well worth traveling to visit and enjoy.

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterART SAUER

Do they have a website and contact info ?

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfoodieonline

Open for lunch? prices?

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkaren brewer

A new restaurant with fabulous food. Go there and enjoy.

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Leslie

The menu is posted on the website:

www.boulevard18.com

I do not believe they are open for lunch as of yet, but will in the near future.

February 20, 2012 | Registered CommenterJeff "jfood" Schlesinger

Are the cooks French or mexicans?

February 20, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfoodieonline

if they are trained then why would that matter?

February 22, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereanonymousc

The executive chef is CIA trained.

February 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

It makes me smile when a good opening night leads to even better experiences a few weeks later and Boulevard 18 is now hitting on all cylinders. Two separate couples wanted to try this restaurant this past weekend so who was I not to accept?

On the first night the table thoroughly enjoyed a plate of “Devils on Horseback,” which are dates wrapped in bacon and drizzled with balsamic. They were delicious. For an appetizer one night I ordered the Torchon of Foie Gras. The two slices (for those with nut allergies be aware that the torchon contains pistachios) presented a nice little tang. Some toasted bread, whole grain mustard, and house-made pickled carrots and cornichons accompanied the torchon. I recommend separating the bread from the torchon to allow all of the latter’s flavors to shine. On the first night I enjoyed the potato wrapped sea bass while my wife ordered the special Char. Both were delicious. The bass was sautéed potato side down to create a nice crispy texture to complement the moist fish and it was served over swiss chard with a Bordelaise sauce. The Char was served with roasted root vegetables. The char was perfectly cooked and the diced root vegetables were delicious as well. The second night I finally decided to test the Strada Burger and I was not disappointed. The burger was perfectly cooked to medium-rare, and sitting atop was melted cheddar cheese, two slices of bacon, plus romaine lettuce, plum tomatoes and garlic aioli (red onions are also offered but I am not a fan of raw onions). I thoroughly enjoyed the hamburger and the toppings. My bun had a little trouble holding together during meal so you need to be a little careful. The two desserts we tried were delicious as well. The chocolate mousse was creamy and topped with just a dollop of sweet whipped cream and the lemon tart was delicious and was finished with torched sugar.

On both nights the other couple mentioned how much better the acoustics were, so the efforts to address this issue from previous restaurants were well received.

Overall I enjoyed two delightful meals.

Had another great meal here last night. Potato wrapped Sea Bass & Truffle fries...yum. Burger is excellent as well.

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAllyson

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience @ Boulevard 18 and look forward to my next visit! The food was outstanding and so was the wine :) I especially love the little pickled vegetables that came alongside my entree - such a nice touch.

May 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Who is the chef at Boulevard?

May 21, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfoodieonline

@foodieonline

Chef David Raymer is the Executive Chef at Boulevard 18.

Here is a link to the website that has lots of information, menus and other good stuff:

www.boulevard18.com

Ciao

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