Chez Daniel: Daniel Boulud

By Daniel Boulud


 At Bar Boulud, we place equal importance on food and wine-after all, it would be very out of character for me not to feed my guests!  

Years and years of talking about opening the ideal wine bar for a cosmopolitan city like New York culminated in the opening of Bar Boulud this January. Finally the dream came true and with a dream team of individuals who are as passionate about the culinary experience as I am. The passion for wine of my wine director, Daniel Johnnes, has truly driven my passion for Bar Boulud. Our love for what we do and the way it is fused in every aspect of our lives has created a bond of camaraderie between us-it must be the name (he is known as DJ and I as DB).

At Bar Boulud, we place equal importance on food and wine-after all, it would be very out of character for me not to feed my guests! And so Bar Boulud is a wine bar in name only, just as Café Boulud is not really a café at all (at least I am consistent in this inconsistency). My friendship with Gilles Verot, one of the finest charcutiers in Paris, also came to play an important role in creating Bar Boulud. When I first met Gilles in Paris, we resolved to someday find a way to introduce the charcuterie we both love to the New York restaurant scene, and with Bar Boulud we finally have. Accompanying Gilles’ fine creations is my own roundup of unpretentious seasonal bistro cuisine created in tandem with Executive Chef Damian Sansonetti.

The décor of the bar was expertly handled by Thomas Schlesser and uses subtle references to wine making as design features. The dramatic ceiling recalls the vaulted ceiling of a wine cellar and is one of my favorite design elements. The furniture is made with white oak, the same wood which wine barrels are made with, a backlit gravel wall recalls the terroir of the vineyard, while the flooring is a rough-hewn Burgundian farmhouse stone. But the story behind the story is that of the artwork that lines the wall of the main dining room. It is made by my Brazilian friend Vik Muniz. The concept arose one day when I went to visit him in his studio and brought all many prized wines to share with him. After a drink or two he began to experiment with the patterns wine forms when it stains a linen napkin. The resulting “tâches de vin” are exactly what you see on the walls of Bar Boulud today!

The Daniels (Boulud & Johnnes) Recommend
In our research for Bar Boulud, we had the chance to tour some of the finest vineyards, wine bars, and wine-driven restaurants, both in rural and urban settings. Here are a few that DJ and I particularly like:

Buenos Aires-Gran Bar Danzon
New York-Cru
Barcelona-La Vinya del Senyor
Napa Valley-The French Laundry
Paris-Le Rubis, Au Bon Cru
Brussels-Café des Spores
And in my hometown of Lyon-La Tassée