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Boulevard: The Cookbook Hardcover – October 1, 2005

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Boulevard: The Cookbook + The Zuni Cafe Cookbook: A Compendium of Recipes and Cooking Lessons from San Francisco's Beloved Resturant
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nancy Oakes and Pamela Mazzola opened the doors of Boulevard in San Francisco in 1993, and fans have been waiting ever since for just this cookbook. A bigger and better payoff for all that patience is hard to imagine. Boulevard glows on a table top like burnished gold, and suggestions of epic meals seep out from beneath its covers. "We cook because we love to feed people and also because we love the process of cooking," the authors explain in their opening statement. "We don't think for a minute we've invented a new cuisine or discovered a new approach to cooking--only a never-ending quest for what's delicious."

The structure of the book is as classic as many of the underlying cooking techniques--Salads, Soups, and Starters give way to chapters on Fish, Poultry and Game, Meat, and Desserts. A central dish surrounded by its sides or segments renders several recipes per page, making this a book of careful perusal. Mediterranean Mussels with Panzanella and Arugula, for example, gives us recipes for panzanella, the Italian bread salad, for the mussels' poaching medium, a fennel confit, saffron sauce, and arugula salad. Among the soups you'll find White Corn, Roasted Ratatouille, Braised Chestnut, Provencal Fish, and Artichoke Soup as well as the dozen side recipes that help elevate each dish. Ingredients are carefully delineated, followed by chefs' notes, kitchen and shopping notes (how to buy the best scallops, for example), then the cooking method for each piece of the flavor puzzle. Some cooking experience is necessary. There are some challenging dishes between these pages. But new cooks should not shy away. Boulevards establishes a level of culinary rigor to which the best cooks can aspire.

If you can find the main ingredient, Glazed Veal Sweetbreads in Potato Crust with chanterelles and a red wine sauce is a standout appetizer. Pan Roasted Halibut Fillets and Cheeks takes full advantage of morel mushrooms and crisp spring vegetables. Don't miss the Buttermilk-brined Fried Little Chickens with cream biscuits, a trip South for Cornish game hens. Beef shortribs are elevated to new heights with "Steamship" Short Ribs Bourguignon. You might want to finish with Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with caramel corn ice cream and caramel sauce. In each and every case the main theme is flavor, the attack is simple, the effect totally satisfying and elegant.

Nancy Oakes and Pamela Mazzola have distilled between the covers of Boulevard their years of combined efforts in the commercial kitchen, translating for the home kitchen. Their friendship, good humor, and fierce determination to achieve the best flavors imaginable tumble out of these pages. --Schuyler Ingle

From the Publisher

Features 75 signature recipes and gorgeous full-color photography from Boulevard — San Francisco ’s premier restaurant.

In 2001, chef Nancy Oakes received the James Beard Foundation ’s award for Best Chef in California.

Boulevard is a five-time Zagat winner for Most Popular Restaurant in San Francisco.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Ten Speed Press; First Edition edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580085539
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580085533
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #730,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jadepearl VINE VOICE on December 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I will try to strike a balance to the previous two reviews. This cookbook is beautiful. It is a large outsized book that will cause people with cookbook holders possible issues but if you have Glazer's _Artisanal Baking in America_ the size should not surprise.

I got this book the first day it was released and have spent the time reading and cooking from it.

1) the recipes are excellent. However, some of the ingredients will be hard and expensive to come by such as sand dabs which are easy on the west coast to get but quite the adventure in the midwest;

2) the recipes are not for beginners. You must have basic, competant skills not to mention maybe some specialized tools to make your life easier such as, a food processor or food mill. If you are hoping for super simple ingredients and expect to have a dinner party done in a few hours this may not be the book for you. The recipes are doable with planning and careful reading;

3) Very west coast, in particular, Northern California. Nancy Oakes and her restaurant Boulevard have been part of the cutting edge providing fresh takes on classics and loving attention to local ingredients.

4) The book is beautiful and could grace a coffee table with gorgeous pictures of food, staff and surroundings. However, sometime I felt that the design of the book took greater precedence than ease of reading and use for the cook. An example is how there is a great deal of white space but the typeface (8-10 pt) is more typical of regular sized cookbooks;

5) I have been a long time fan of her husband, Bruce Aidell, the sausage king, and in his books always had contributions from Nancy that truly showcase meat in all its glory including brining.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
`Boulevard, The Cookbook' is the product of co-chefs, Nancy Oakes and Pamela Mazzola plus professional culinary writer, Lisa Weiss. The restaurant, Boulevard is in the San Francisco Bay area and the second of two restaurants headed up by Oakes and Mazzola. The overall impression I get of the ambiance and the recipes is that Boulevard is a brasserie with a `haute cuisine' attitude and an underpinning of a love of bacon. The love of bacon is entirely understandable, as Nancy Oakes is the wife of the American Pork writer in chief, Bruce Aidells, with whom she has co-authored several books on pork cookery and charcuterie.

When I encounter an oversized cookbook volume with an oversized price (listed at $50), I immediately demote the book's overall score to four stars, unless I find within a truly marvelous source of culinary wisdom. As I write this, I am teetering on the boundary of four and five stars, so we will investigate together how to rate this volume.

To start, I give points for the fact that the table of contents lists the name and page number of every single recipe. Of course, since the book has only 48 recipes, this is no great feat, covering no more than three of the oversized pages. To be fair, the 15 main dish recipes and the soups actually contain recipes for major garnishes or veggie side dishes. If you broke out all the secondary recipes, you may have as many as 60 different dishes. There are also 27 recipes in the `Blvd Basics' chapter, but as these are mostly for things such as stocks, sauces, condiments, and stock garnishes, these hardly count.
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39 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Chris A. Altwegg on January 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Now that I have your attention, I'd like to seriously warn you about expecting this book to be a cookbook you might use. It is a collection of marvelous presentations, but unless you have a full professional kitchen, a couple of sous-chefs hanging around, and are the kind of person who loves to spend a week preparing the basic ingredients for an upcoming meal, this book should be enjoyed as a wonderful commercial for the restuarant, and not as a cookbook. Every "recipe" is a full blown presentation (see other review listing); a base preparation, under the star presentation supported by a cast of at least two if not three co-stars. And if you try to just make one of the items, I'm afraid you'll end up feeling inferior that you didn't prepare the full meal deal.

Lovely photographs, by the way.

Get the book from the library, save your money to take a trip to SF and eat at the restaurant. That's what I should have done.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Hanna Davis on October 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In response to the negative reviews stating that it takes an army of chefs to execute the menues: It is true that completing an entire menu would be rather dounting, but as is mentioned in the introduction, just pick one, maybe two items from the menu and replace the rest with recipes that you are familiar and comfortable with. So far I have made the potato cakes (potato, watercress wraped in bacon). Absolutely marvelous with a grilled steak. The fingerling potatoes roasted with tomatoes, garlic and cream are sensational. Basic roast chicken is a great match. The cider brined pork chops also were very good. My next project will be the lamb chop stuffed with broccoli rabe
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