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Q&A with Daniel 'D-Biggity' Boulud

Throughout the New York City Food & Wine Festival this weekend, Eater welcomes bloggers, journalists and food world stars to our lounge at the Standard Hotel. As the peeps pass through, we're going to chat them up and spit out the dialogue here in this business, From the Eater Lounge. Right now: four-star chef and Bowery expansionist Daniel Boulud.

2009_10_danboulud.jpgHow’s the festival treating you? DB: Very nice, a little windy. But we’ve been so lucky with the weather. All these demonstrations and events, I don’t know where they’re happening. It’s everywhere.

How is DBGB doing? DB: DBGB is going very well. I’m actually going to go on Fallon and do him a milky flavored sausage. The restaurant is growing, the service is getting better and better. Performance in cooking is getting better and better. The idea is to give people the best value. Going downtown is a challenge, but it is going well. I like the menu, and I think the menu has been very well received by people in the industry. I don’t have to tinker with it too much, not too many changes, it’s stable. I love the burgers. The grill is almost too small since we get so many orders.

Now you're offering the full menu in both dining areas, the reserved dining room and the walk-in area. DB: Yes. Well, we did it gradually, because we needed to get things under control first in the main area. The idea is to have the place open all day, so people can come in whenever and have a burger.

And you even have the wi-fi, which people at the Eater offices love. DB: Yes!

How hard is it to get a reservation these days? DB: It’s not too hard to get a table. You can call day-of. Most of the place is done through OpenTable, and it really is quite manageable and accessible.

And Café Boulud has just reopened. How is that going? DB: Yes, and its new bar, Les Pleiades. It’s going to be a more classic bar—a classic hotel bar. It’s opening in early November, and will actually have some bar food. But overall, this is very exciting: Café Boulud is starting up a new life.

New menu? DB: Same four menus: tradition, saisons (market driven), potager (vegetarian), voyage (sometimes Chinese, sometimes south American, etc.). Café Boulud’s is a chef’s dream menu: he can play many notes, have a lot of fun with it, and explore. It is more than just a French restaurant. It’s not my favorite restaurant of all of them, but if I had to do one restaurant that is not as fancy as Daniel and not as casual as the other ones, it would be this one.

What about the Bocuse D’Or competition, which you’re working on with Thomas Keller and others? DB: We are looking for someone who is sous-chef material. And the chef needs to make himself available to be trained for a while. We are going to select about 16. They will compete to present a chicken dish (that’s what I am proposing, at least). If the candidate can show us something in his technique, complexity, flavor, perfection, and sometimes simplicity?it will be amazing. It’s like taking Iron Chef, Top Chef, and any of those other competitions and putting them together. We did fantastic last year, but this year, with more training, I think we can do even better.
· All NYCWFF 2009 Coverage [~E~]

Cafe Boulud

301 Australian Avenue, , FL 33480 (561) 655-6060 Visit Website

DBGB Kitchen & Bar

931 H Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 695-7660 Visit Website