An idea that Chef Daniel Boulud flirted with four years ago has materialized into a culinary experience known as Café Boulud The Bahamas at the Rosewood Baha Mar. It’s a restaurant concept that is elegant yet casual and fine dining but approachable – traditional French cuisine in a sophisticated Bahamian setting.
Café Boulud The Bahamas is actually fine dining the way the celebrated chef with a culinary empire likes to dine. And for him the food and the wine are on equal footing at this Rosewood outpost, followed by exacting know-how service.
“When I created Café Boulud, it was definitely with sort of the DNA of who I am… the DNA of how I think in the kitchen and then how I live through the seasons – and also that fact that I left my country very young and love traveling, and I love other cuisine besides French.”
He is known for bringing contemporary appeal to soulful dishes rooted in the French tradition. And his menu is inspired by his seasonal culinary muses – La Tradition, representing classic dishes of French cuisine; La Saison which features seasonality, taking into account the newness of spring as he opens his Rosewood outpost; La Voyage which, of course, takes inspiration from places far and wide and creating a dish that has an identity with the cuisine; and for Rosewood, La Potager which celebrates the vegetable garden has been adapted to La Mer muse with seafood as the focal point, seeing as he is surrounded by water.
In taking into account what made the final open menu, the chef and his team tested many dishes and narrowed them down. But he said the final decision also relied heavily on supply and consistency.
“We are very particular about the ingredients we source and we are very specific about the ingredients we want to source, and the fact I have a restaurant in Palm Beach and Miami, I already have suppliers on the coast who can help me bring those ingredients here and that’s a plus,” said Boulud.
In opening Café Boulud The Bahamas, the chef is presenting vichyssoise, a classic French cold soup, usually made with potatoes, leeks and cream and blended until smooth, and it is considered a signature item. They will always have a seasonal option on the menu. The opening vichyssoise has been adapted to showcase avocado, shrimp, dill, caviar and crème fraiche, which showcases Boulud’s spontaneity and adaption and inspiration to the climate. But don’t be surprised if there’s a vegetarian option or something delicate like a foie gras offering in the future.
You can also always anticipate the application of chilled fish. Out the gate they opened with a citrus-cured hamachi with heart of palm, watermelon, Fresno pepper and shiso; and there’s also a yellowfin tuna carpaccio with harissa, crispy chickpeas, chayote mint, lemon confit. Boulud says there will always be a form of snapper or local fish going forward and to anticipate daily specials for that little something extra.
And he is, of course, jumpstarting the menu with tournedos Rossini, a dish that is decadent and practically “screams” luxury and haute cuisine, and is one of the most famous French steak dishes.
But the wine by no means takes a back seat to the cuisine. The chef says they are on equal footing, and that wine lovers can expect to be impressed by the depth of their wine list and the knowledge of sommelier.
“Food is an important component in the experience of dining, but wine is an equal one, and we have an amazing wine cellar here. For me, the wine experience is very important as is the guest dining experience.”
Since arriving in New York in 1982, Chef Boulud has continually evolved his cuisine and has had many iconic dishes which overtime you may see pop up at Café Boulud Bahamas, but he says he continually seeks to be inspired by the seasons.
“There have been many dishes that have been part of my legacy, but every day we rewrite the legacy. Those dishes live forever, but the new ones have to live with its time.”
The Rosewood brand reputation prompted Boulud to open the restaurant.
“I know of the reputation of Rosewood and I felt that would be a perfect partnership to create a restaurant together. It’s very exciting,” he said.”
And the space he occupies he describes as beautiful.
“They had a beautiful place – I had a great concept to bring, and I think the two together was a very easy fit. We did some alteration to some of the [restaurant] design, but barely. We didn’t need to touch the brasserie, and I love the wallpaper – it’s very French.”
Café Boulud The Bahamas is the chef’s first foray into an island nation. It joins his reach with dining outposts in Miami, Montreal, Palm Beach, Singapore, Washington D.C., Toronto, Dubai, and Massachusetts.
He is opening Café Boulud The Bahamas as the world reopens to a new normal in a pandemic, he said the opportunity to be able to open gives hope. And he said he and the Rosewood are taking the best measures possible in opening to ensure the safety of guests and staff.
“It’s good to bring a little bit of French je ne sais quoi [appealing quality] to the island],” said Boulud.