Bar Boulud to sip some wine and enjoy a few small plates. But, the thing is, it can get crowded. We recently discovered a secret: the bar at Boulud Sud, which is located right around the block. It's not nearly as big as DB's vino den, but the square bar had plenty of cushy stools and the wine was just as good (in fact, the restaurant shares a cellar with the bar).
We had a few bites while hanging out - the crab and sea urchin toast was a particular winner - but it was the octopus with Marcona almond, arugula and Jerez vinegar that was our favorite. The tender tentacles are cooked a la plancha and the consistency was completely on point. The nuttiness of the almonds was a nice touch, and the acid from some oranges balances the dish nicely. It's no wonder that this plate has become something of a signature at this venue. Maybe we'll just skip Bar Boulud all together and head here first next time (20 West 64th St.).