Boulud Sud, chef Daniel Boulud's pop-up Mediterranean Restaurant 

561-655-6060;  301 Australian Avenue, Palm Beach, FL, .

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By Simone Zarmati Diament

photos: Simone Z. Diament

Does chef Daniel Boulud, with a multi-restaurant empire and probably better food than many restaurants, bistrots and cafés on both sides of the Atlantic, need a pop-up restaurant?

Granted the concept, now widespread in the US, is romantic and intriguing, but it mostly resonates among young chefs who are unable to sustain the cost and the infra-structure of having their own restaurant. I am not talking of a virtual restaurant but about cooks and chefs who, like hermit crabs, inhabit someone else’s space for a night, a month or any other length of time and who, when the space proves too tight due to a resounding success, move on to generally their own space.

It is in that sense, and with the panache that the pursuit - and achievement - of excellence enables him to deploy  in total simplicity,  that Chef Daniel Boulud is popping up the  Manhattan-based Boulud Sud  (20 West 64th Street, NYC)  at Café Boulud Palm Beach, from Wednesday, July 3 through Monday, September 2, for dinner seven days a week.    

The stand-alone restaurant romantically transports you to a sheikh’s  white tent -  air-conditioned of course – set on Café Boulud’s terrace, decorated  with palm trees, Moroccan earthenware and giant pots containing lemon trees, as the fountain courtyard and local birds soothingly provide the background  sound.

The menu at the Boulud Sud pop-up offers dishes from the Mediterranean basin, from Sardinia and Greece to Tunisia, Gibraltar, and Beirut, as Master sommelière  Mariya Kovacheva  deftly mixes refreshing cocktails like “Sea Glass” with Blanche Armagnac, l’Esprit de June and Champagne, or “The Spite Ropute” with rum, Campari, East India solera sherry and ginger beer ,  and  manages to pair the vibrant menu with carefully selected pours including a Slovenia Rebula, a variety of rosés from the south of France, Italy and Spain and even  with Spanish Jerez.dsc01581

While Daniel Boulud’s rigorously-trained chefs head the restaurants in an empire where the sun never sets, the  master himself is often seen, like in Palm Beach, debonairingly deboning a fish for his guests.

Jim Leiken, Café Boulud Executive Chef, has stamped the Boulud signature on dishes like Chilled Cucumber Gazpacho with dill cream and baby radishes; on Mediterranean “Mezze” or appetizers like falafel, Meyer lemon hummus and Babaganoush ( an eggplant-based, sesame paste dip) and even on the Horiatiki, a classic Greek salad.

The menu continues with a fork-tender Spanish-style Octopus à la Plancha with Marcona almonds, arugula and Jerez vinegar;  Gambas Al Ajillo, head-on carabineros or giant shrimp from Morocco with ratatouille and basil pesto, and a moist and succulent whole Roasted Loup de Mer or Lubina  with local squash, romesco sauce and wild arugula.  Of course there is spiced Colorado roasted Lamb and merguez as well as chicken and meat dishes for those who don’t mind heavier fare in the sultry summer heat.

Pastry Chef Arnaud Chavigny ‘s desserts range from the classic with a Provençal Moëlleux - an almond-pistachio cake with strawberries and meringue;  a  Mint Chocolate Pavé with chocolate sorbet, to the more exotic like the refreshing Grapefruit Givré  served in   a hollow half grapefruit, with sesame halva and rose Turkish loukoum  .

 An evening of Turkish and other Mediterranean delights prepared with the French touch of a master chef.

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Boulud Sud, chef Daniel Boulud's pop-up Mediterranean Restaurant

561-655-6060;  301 Australian Avenue, Palm Beach, FL, .

The pop-up will serve an à la carte dinner menu daily from 5:30-10pm, and a three- course prix fixe menu for $35 per person on Saturdays and Sundays.  Café Boululd’s classic menu will be offered in parallel to the Mediterranean offerings and remains available all summer at lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.