A Prolific Chef with Boundless Talent and Energy
By Alona Abbady Martinez
Daniel Boulud is not one to run out of energy. Arriving to the United States in 1982, the chef and restaurateur has since amassed an expansive culinary empire throughout the U.S., London, Toronto, Montreal, and Singapore. Today, the French native is considered one of America’s leading culinary authorities and has received numerous accolades including the James Beard Foundation awards for “Outstanding Restaurateur,” “Best Chef of New York City” and “Outstanding Chef of the Year.” DANIEL, his Michelin-starred flagship, has been named “one of the 10 best restaurants in the world” by the International Herald Tribune, received the esteemed Gourmet Magazine’s “Top Table” award, a four-star-rating from The New York Times, as well as Wine Spectator’s Grand Award.
His latest restaurant, Boulud Sud, opened in Miami this January, and, like its Manhattan counterpart, celebrates the bright and fresh flavors of the Mediterranean with Boulud’s signature interpretation of contemporary, seasonal fare rooted in French tradition.
“The cuisine at Boulud Sud is inspired by flavors from the Côte d’Azur, Spain, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Turkey and beyond. It’s sophisticated without being fussy, just like those areas of the world,” Boulud explained via email.
The restaurant’s menu features dishes like seared branzino with freekeh, apricot, and artichoke and arroz bomba with sepia and chorizo. Diners are encouraged to begin with mezzes, small dishes to be shared such as lamb flatbread with eggplant and pine nuts, or an assortment of Mediterranean starters such as tabbouleh, hummus and babaganoush. All work harmoniously with the balmy Miami weather, similar to places serving as Boulud’s culinary inspiration. Grapefruit givré, a dessert not to be missed, follows the same principle. “Givré” is French for “covered in frost.” Buried in a frozen grapefruit shell, below a crown made of sweet shreds of halva, lies a treasure chest of loukoum (rose candy), grapefruit sorbet, jam, and a crispy tuile, topped with a light foam, fresh fruit, and sesame crumble.
“It’s up to Clark [Executive Chef, Clark Bowen] and myself to interpret classic dishes from these rich areas, and make them our own. From simply prepared grilled fish and produce to complex dishes with layers of spice and texture, there is always something fresh on the menu. The design of Boulud Sud brings together the charm of Provence, the warm spice and fragrant herbs of Mediterranean cuisine to pair with the casual elegance of Miami, highlighted with original artwork by Vik Muniz. It’s the perfect backdrop for our vibrant Mediterranean menu.”
Boulud is excited to be a part of Miami’s culinary explosion. “To see how the city has evolved is fascinating. I love the incredible resurgence of neighborhoods that you would have never thought would be trendy today. Downtown Miami 10 years ago was not the Downtown Miami of today.”
With so many successes bearing his name, Chef Boulud’s heart still leans toward his first restaurant, opened in 1993 in New York City. “My favorite is the original DANIEL which is now Café Boulud. It has always been my favorite little spot in the city; it’s a special location right off the park. Quiet, charming, almost like being in Europe.”
But like any good parent, he is quick to distribute his affection equally. “I love all of my restaurants and especially my latest in Miami, Boulud Sud.”
Café Boulud’s unwavering success only reaffirms that Chef Daniel Boulud can and does withstand the test of time, particularly in a finicky and unforgiving culinary climate. Twenty-five years after first opening, it remains a favorite in the city with a menu inspired by the chef’s four culinary muses: La Tradition, classic French cuisine; La Saison, seasonal delicacies; Le Potager, the vegetable garden; and Le Voyage, flavors of world cuisines. Dishes like foie gras torchon with quince, smoked almond brittle, saumon fumé with oeuf mimosa, horseradish, beet, and pumpernickel, and dry aged beef striploin served with cardoon, black trumpet mushroom, pommes dauphine, and sauce bordelaise are among those keeping regulars happy and drawing in new clientele.
And Chef shows no signs of slowing down. With his Miami eatery opening up to rave reviews, he can’t help but plan ahead to his next culinary adventure.