When news broke in Boston that Forbes Travel Guide Tastemaker Daniel Boulud was taking over the restaurant space at Mandarin Oriental, Boston, foodies around the Hub salivated. Rumors swirled about what type of restaurant, when it might reopen and what it all meant for the prestigious Five-Star Back Bay hotel. The bottom line of all the gastro gossip: The Mandarin’s signature restaurant, Asana, will be handed over to Boulud later this fall.
“I can say on behalf of all of our colleagues at Mandarin Oriental, Boston, we are extremely excited to welcome chef Daniel Boulud to the property later this year,” says Alain Negueloua, the hotel’s general manager. “We are thrilled to be the home of his first venture in Boston and know that chef Boulud will deliver a phenomenal dining experience that reflects Mandarin Oriental’s standards of excellence and serves as a complement to the city’s already incredible culinary landscape.”
Boulud already has a partnership with the Mandarin Hotel Group, but this opening means Bostonians will finally have a Bar Boulud of their own (other existing locations are in New York City and London).
“There are many great restaurants and chefs in Boston, and I’m truly looking forward to being an addition to the chef community,” Boulud says. “It is also a pleasure to be working again with Mandarin Oriental, after a successful partnership in London. Bar Boulud at Mandarin Oriental, Boston will be filled with energy, a great range of wine selections and soulful bistro cooking to create a vibrant eating and drinking destination.”
Of course, this isn’t the first brush with celebrity-chef stardom Boston has experienced. W Boston housed Market by star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, but the Theater District location proved to be a little too distant for Bostonians, and the restaurant recently closed. Bar Boulud, however, will be poised along Boylston Street — one of the most traipsed streets in the area — benefitting from 24/7 foot traffic and floor-to-ceiling windows that give diners a glimpse of the city and passersby a peek into what’s happening inside.
While Boston is typically introverted when it comes to infiltration by outsiders, it’s possible Boulud could break this mold. The city has embraced the foodie craze over the past few years, upping the sophistication level on a traditionally standard palate. New spots such as Piattini Wine Café and Back Bay Harry’s cocktail bar are sharing patrons with the tried-and-true restaurants in Back Bay. Bar Boulud’s French bistro-inspired menu will be a welcome addition to the city, giving diners something sexy to savor before or after a show, or on a special night on the town. The eatery will be overseen by chef Aaron Chambers, formerly of Café Boulud and Boulud Sud in New York. The new bistro and wine bar will open in September.
As for fans of Asana, the restaurant will remain open until construction begins on Boulud’s establishment in early June. “We are looking forward to opening Bar Boulud in early fall,” Negueloua says, “and continuing to serve the vibrant city of Boston.”
Photos Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group LLC and B. Milne