Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge (Red Deer, AB) – Valentine’s Day Special

After having a successful meal during our first and second visit to Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge, I decided to book our Valentine’s Day dinner there. I am aware that Valentine’s Day is usually a bad day to try a restaurant because they are swamped and the set menus are meant to push things out. However, since Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge has proven itself, I won’t hold it against them if the meal was disappointing, saving other restaurants to try at another time. Before reading on, please keep this in mind as I, myself, do not consider this experience a reflection of the regular dining experience.

When we arrived, there were a lot of couples waiting for a table. Upon confirming our reservation, we were shown to our table while a non-profit society member offered each female a red carnation. We sat in the normally empty area adjacent to the restaurant (past photos online showed a brunch buffet area).

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Red Carnation

One thing that encouraged me to have Valentine’s Day dinner at Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge was the ability to choose my meal from a limited number of dishes on the Valentine’s Day menu rather than forced to have one standard set meal.

My wife ordered a Bellini which was described as peach and lemon juice mixed with sparkling Prosecco.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Bellini

The waitress gave us each an Amuse-Bouche (bite-size hors d’œuvre offered by a chef) which consisted of half a boiled egg topped with foie gras cream.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Amuse-Bouche

My wife thought the amuse-bouche was interesting as she is a big fan of eggs. The egg was light while the cream had a smooth, rich texture. I thought it was a nice gesture from the chef. It showed that the chef is innovative and not set in his/her way.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Amuse-Bouche 2

My wife wanted to start with the Boulevard Tempura Maki which was a battered and deep-fried sushi roll filled with salmon, avocado, whipped cream cheese, and a little bit of serrano chili. Shitake mushrooms and in-house Tiger sauce were served on the side.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Boulevard Tempura Maki

I did protest against this dish beforehand as I find that sushi made in a non-sushi restaurant has more often failed than succeeded. I was especially concerned with the whipped cream cheese which I have often found overwhelming due to it’s strong flavor. Out of the last 10 times that I have had cream cheese in a sushi roll, only one time have I received sushi that achieved the right balance with cream cheese.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Boulevard Tempura Maki Shitake Mushroom Wrap

The Boulevard Tempura Maki were plated with a western style (Sushi restaurants never plate the maki pieces facing up). I have tried deep-fried sushi rolls in the past and often it’s a california roll. When I first tried a deep-fried sushi, I liked it for its novelty effect, but eventually realized that the batter made the sushi rolls too starch-heavy. I found the same issue with the Boulevard Tempura Maki. The added warmth along with the battered exterior made the roll feel overall starchy.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Boulevard Tempura Maki Closeup

I don’t believe sushi rice was used as the rice was gummy. You can see from the photo that the distinct grain texture is missing.

On the positive side, the whipped cream cheese was subtle and did not overwhelm the sushi roll. The Tiger sauce also worked really well as it provided a much needed acid touch. As for the serrano chili, I didn’t get any heat from it.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Boulevard Tempura Maki Closeup 2

We also chose a second appetizer as the Wild Mushrooms Feuilleté caught our eyes. It was described as sautéed wild and exotic mushrooms in a light cream topped with a puff pastry.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Wild Mushrooms Feuilleté

The puff pastry in the Wild Mushrooms Feuilleté stood out. It had a nice golden brown shine to it. My wife was excited upon feasting her eyes on it. Who doesn’t love crispy puff pastry? Here, our eyes did not deceive us. The puff pastry had multiple layers of crispy flakes. It was also airy and light which together added texture to the cream sauce and mushrooms.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Wild Mushrooms Feuilleté Puff Pasty

The mushrooms were earthy and meaty which were well-balanced with the light cream sauce. Overall, this was a wonderful starter and a clear winner between the 2 appetizers.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Wild Mushrooms Feuilleté Closeup

After enjoying the Kobe Chicken on the regular menu, my wife felt confident with the chicken here and ordered the Free Range Chicken Supreme with King Crab. It was described as having Maltese sauce with truffle and morel capellini.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Free Range Chicken Supreme with King Crab

The Free Range Chicken Supreme with King Crab was very similar to the Kobe Chicken. In fact, I believe the same bone-in chicken breast was used which resulted in the same success we found with the Kobe Chicken: moist, tender, and juicy. The Maltese sauce was not as strong as expected though I still prefer the Kobe sauce (which wouldn’t pair well with pasta).

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Free Range Chicken Supreme Closeup

The presentation of the king crab meat was perplexing as it is usually plated as a whole leg with shell intact. Here, the meat was removed from the shell before plating (likely to make it easier for patrons to eat) which resulted in skinny torn up bits. Taste-wise, the king crab meat was moist and flaky. I was happy that despite its scrawny appearance, the meat wasn’t overcooked.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - King Crab

The side vegetables were cooked nicely, consistent with the seasonal vegetables of the past 2 visits. The capellini was a little oil-heavy which I suspect was due to the addition of truffle oil.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Seasonal Vegetables

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Capellini

I ended up ordering the 8 oz Prime Rib (choice of 8 oz, 12 oz, and 16 oz cuts) which was served with a yorkshire pudding, horseradish cream, au jus, roasted vegetables, and a choice of potato pavé or duchess potatoes. I requested medium-rare for the prime rib and potato pavé as my side.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - 8 oz Prime Rib

The first thing that caught my eye was the slab of prime rib. Sitting in its pool of au jus with a scoop of horseradish cream, the beautiful pink hue of the prime rib confirmed a medium-rare finish. There were some chunks of fat, but that’s expected from this cut of meat. The au jus and horseradish cream provided flavor to the prime rib. I enjoyed it immensely.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - 8 oz Prime Rib Closeup

The yorkshire pudding was typical of the ones that I have had in the past. It was airy and soft. Despite its appearance, it wasn’t crispy.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Yorkshire Pudding

The roasted vegetables were not the ones that I like so I passed them to my wife. She thought they were well-cooked.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Roasted Vegetables

The potato pavé was my first so I don’t have any past experience to compare. The layers of potato were rather translucent with a slice of sweet potato in the middle. Taste-wise, it was on the blander side and a bit oily.

Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge - Potato Pavé

Our meal for this visit had highs and lows. I definitely noticed the difference compared to their regular nights and would like to remind my readers to avoid judging a restaurant based on a special occasion meal because it never represents their potential.


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