Tuesday, March 17

maison boulud @ the old legation quarter in beijing

yes. i am STILL on my beijing posts.  not even halfway done.  over the holiday season, toomuchfood and i trekked over to the old legation quarter to eat maison boulud, daniel boulud's latest restaurant (opened in july 2008).

having literally just eaten at li jia cai for lunch, i am not quite sure how i managed to eat this for dinner.  luckily, pricy food means small portions. still, it was pretty rich.  

my photos are horrible.  i am still adjusting to the concept of pulling out a big, awkward camera and shooting wildly at food, ruining the ambiance of a restaurant.  in particular, i really didn't want to ruin the experience for myself here since i had been waiting so long for this moment. so i brought my dying sony cybershot.  this was the best i could do in poor lighting (without using flash, obviously).  

but please take a moment to soak in the gorgeous space that is maison boulud here.

when we arrived at the legation quarter, i immediately noticed a large chloe sign posted outside.  inside the compound, a beautiful building to our right had an enormous, glowing chloe logo projected on its walls.  we peeked inside the tall, open window.  there was some sort of fancy dinner party going on.  i vowed to crash this party if it looked more open later.

the compound was beautiful at night, especially since it was decorated for the holidays.  

this is the magnificent entrance to maison boulud.

the amuse bouche. skewers of smoked salmon with cream cheese and puffy bread.

this is my soup: crayfish bisque with cognac cream and chervil. mmmm. overall tasty but a little on the salty side.

this is toomuchfood's soup. i think it is something something partridge broth. you'll have to consult his blog for details. overall, the presentation was lovely, with the servers coming out together and pouring the broth over the food in our bowls.

this photo is a little blah, but i really liked my entree.  it was called the "duo of partridge" with foie gras (of course!).  the stuff on the left side of the plate is the thigh meat and on the right side, is the breast meat sitting on top of red cabbage, which was delicious.  also on the left are delicate pieces of gingerbread and apple.  overall the dish was really nicely balanced and everything just tasted great.

toomuchfood's succulent suckling pig dish!  i tried a piece and really i wish i could have eaten both entrees.  the skin was crispy, and paired with the nice layer of fat beneath, it just melted in my mouth.  i am a sucker for crispy pork/duck skin.  

and then they were like, "a basket of madeleines, please enjoy." really? now?  they were warm, soft, spongy, and tasty.

and here are the rest of the mignardises - there was one that was a hazelnut cookie that was amazing.

overall the experience was phenomenal. maybe it's just a little bit of that nostalgia for old beijing + being shocked by the new beijing in me - but i felt a little hesitant about loving the experience.  i think by the end of it though i had fully embraced it.  dining at a place like this would have been inconceivable to me 10 years ago.  things were so different then. but now that i'm older, i appreciate the new culture of fine dining in beijing.  at the time they were doing this weekly happy hour where you'd get a glass of nice champagne and hor d'oeuvres.  i didn't get to try that but next time i'm in town, i would love to stop by.


Anonymous said...

The beautiful building next door that you described (second building on the right of the compound) is the Italian restaurant, Ristorante Sadler -- also a Michelin 2-star chef, based out of Milan. Food and ambience there is also amazing.

shoe fiend said...

thanks for the tip! i think i've heard of that restaurant too. i'll have to check it out next time