Chef Nathan Tate and Brooks Anderson of Boulevardier on Their New Home in Bishop Arts District
Boulevardier is the new French bistro-inspired restaurant in Oak Cliff, which is a collaboration of Veritas owners Brooks and Bradley Anderson and chefs Randall Copeland and Nathan Tate of Ava in Rockwall. This spot opened on the last day of July and nary a negative word has been cast against its way since that time. Recently, I got to chat with Tate and Brooks Anderson about their menu, their extensive (and gluttonous) research and why cows like corn better than grass.
Desiree Espada Boulevardier chef Nathan Tate
- Boulevardier is Open in Bishop Arts
How's it going with two restaurants now, including Ava in Rockwall?
Tate: It can get a little stressful, but Randall is holding down the fort at Ava, and I'm focusing on this.
How do you like your new neighborhood?
Tate: It's great, and it's nice to be busy every night.
The scene is a little different here, although Rockwall does have a quaint little downtown with some nice restaurants.
Tate: Yeah, it's not bad. It's just the population isn't so dense and the foot traffic isn't anything like it is here.
Can you tell me about your menu?
Tate: It's rooted in France, but we've expanded form there. We have a little Southern influence, Cajun and Creole. Obviously, all of those places were influenced by French culture, so I think it really all just melds together.
Did you create the menu?
Tate: The initial idea of the French concept for this place was from Brooks and Bradley, and I met them through Randall at Ava. I worked on the menu and we went on some trips for some inspiration.
Where did you go?
Tate: We all went to New Orleans and Brooks went to Montreal and New York.
How was New Orleans?
Tate: Well, how much can we tell? (Brooks and Tate laugh.)
Brooks: It was painful. You think food research in New Orleans would be amazing, but it was awful because we just ate so much. There were days when we hit four or five restaurants and we ordered everything.
What were some of the highlights?
Tate: Herbsaint was a great restaurant. We got a little inspiration from our raw bar from Luke.
Brooks: Cochon was another great one. August was also fantastic.
How was Montreal?
Brooks: My brother and I made a trip to New York City and then Montreal. In New York we hit some of the classic French pastis, a lot of raw bar and seafood towers, to see what they were doing. We want our raw to be one of the centers of our restaurant. So, New York was really French bistro and raw bar.
Then, Montreal was all about the pig -- charcuterie and pork. All we did in Montreal was go to French bistros. We went to Au Pied de Cochon and it was one of the best meals I've ever had in my life. It was just so casual and laid back but the presentation of the restaurant in terms of how the servers were dressed, the vibe, the plating of the food was really casual. But, the technique behind the food was as sophisticated as you could have.
Isn't that what you're going for here?
Brooks: It's what I'd like to think we're doing. We're really about being casual and comfortable. We encourage people to show up in shorts and a T-shirt and hang out on the patio. There's no need to be stuffy, but the technique and the direction of the menu are presented in a very approachable way. I tell people all the time that our chicken dish might look like something your mother would have made, but it doesn't like taste anything like what your mother could do unless she has really sophisticated equipment.
What kind of sophisticated equipment are you using?
Tate: Well for our chicken, we sous-vide it for three and half hours, and we have a JR wood-burning grill that we do all our meats on.
How else do you work on the casual atmosphere?
Brooks: I think part of it is the design. There are some intentional unfinished elements; like the rough brick and concrete floor, unfinished wall. That's balanced by some of the design elements. When you walk in, we want it to feel like an urban bistro. Something you might find in New York. The servers wear plaid and jeans, the music alternates between Radiohead, the Stones and old jazz. The emphasis with the servers is that you can be casual and proper at the same time.