LENOX — You don't have to travel to Manhattan's Upper East Side this summer to experience the haute cuisine of Cafe Boulud New York.
Reservations at Blantyre are all you need to enjoy a dinner prepared by world-renowned chef Daniel Boulud and his staff.
The Michelin-starred chef 's acclaimed cuisine is now available at the Tudor-style mansion and country estate through mid-October. The seasonal pop-up, Cafe Boulud at Blantyre, brings all the offerings of Cafe Boulud New York to the Berkshires for the first time.
"As we were not ready to open Cafe Boulud New York yet, it was a great opportunity to bring it on the road. Many friends and customers live in the Berkshires and are very excited for us to come," Boulud said of the decision to relocate to Blantyre for the summer in an email response to The Eagle. "It's a great opportunity for my team and all about bringing the cuisine and soul of Cafe Boulud to this iconic Berkshire destination, perfectly situated between Boston and New York."
The restaurant, which is open to the public, launched Wednesday, July 1, and will remain open through mid-October. Dinner service is available 5 to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, along with brunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations are required and can be made online or by calling 413-637-3556.
Those familiar with Boulud's restaurants will be delighted to know that a portion of his team from Cafe Boulud New York will be on hand at Blantyre to ensure the restaurant's temporary transition from Manhattan to the Berkshires is "seamless." Executive chef Jerrod Zifchak is at the helm in the kitchen, while general manager Rachel Ossakow is heading operations in the dining room.
Dinner guests also can expect a menu similar to what is offered at the Manhattan restaurant.
"For the last 23 years, the Cafe Boulud menu has always been inspired by French cuisine with a seasonal focus on local ingredients, vegetable-driven creations, and far-away ethnic flavors," Boulud said. "Guests can expect to see some light and refreshing dishes like a chilled cucumber-avocado vichyssoise with lobster, dill cream and pickled Fresno; a Vietnamese summer roll with poached shrimp, marinated vegetables, mint, cilantro; a tuna crudo with compressed melon, yuzu, shiso and sea beans; or a pate en croute."
Main course offerings, available during a preview night on Tuesday, included a Sweet Corn Risotto, with chanterelle mushrooms, shaved Parmesan, and tarragon; Rack of Lamb Provencal with confit cherry tomato, zucchini, eggplant puree, chickpea panisse, and rosemary-scented jus; Branzino "Cha Ca" with turmeric, vermicelli noodles, scallion, peanut, and fish sauce vinaigrette; Poulet Roti A L'Ail (garlic-roasted chicken) with a summer bean fricassee, kale, and natural jus , and Grilled Ora King Salmon with baby beets, charred cipollini onion, dill, trout roe and sauce champagne.
Those looking for a burger will not be disappointed. Cafe Boulud's menu includes "The Frenchie Burger," topped with confit pork belly, Morbier cheese, tomato onion jam, and cornichons.
"Although I was born in France and studied French cuisine there, I was certainly influenced by my mentors," Boulud said of his culinary influences. "A big part of my life as a chef has been in America, New York mostly, but traveling a lot and having restaurants all over the world always gives the opportunity to be inspired. This is why some dishes at the Cafe Boulud reflect other cuisines."
Boulud owns 16 restaurants and 7 licensed properties worldwide (10 of which are in New York City) through his company, The Dinex Group. His flagship restaurant, Daniel, a 2 Michelin-starred restaurant in Manhattan, known for its French cuisine and fine-dining experience opened in 1993.
"It is an honor to be collaborating with a culinary innovator like Daniel Boulud, whose presence will elevate Blantyre to a world-class dining destination," Linda S. Law, owner and steward of Blantyre, said in a statement. "Our partnership is a much-needed bright spot in what has been a challenging few months for everyone, and now, more than ever, people want to enjoy special moments with an added measure of safety and security. We are thrilled to be able to create this for our guests in our expansive 110-acre setting, which was designed for social distancing."
While Boulud chose to move Cafe Boulud to the Berkshires for the summer due to limits placed on restaurants as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, he believes the fine-dining experience will survive.
"Fine dining will still have an audience — people are tired of cooking from home, and they miss that special experience that can only be offered by going out to a restaurant. I think the well-established, fine-dining restaurants may take time to reopen. I hope they will," he said. "The art of cooking, service, celebrating special occasions and moments of excellence between friends and loved ones is so special. They make the finest memories. So, I believe it will come back."
He added, "Fine dining is worth taking the journey for and I don't think that will go away. We may have to be more sensitive to our local community, but so many people enjoying traveling for a unique dining experience. As travel picks up, fine dining will certainly come back."
Blantyre reopens for individual overnight stays
The arrival of Cafe Boulud at Blantyre also marked the return of individual night and weekend stays at the Relais & Chateau hotel on Wednesday, July 1. Prior to Wednesday's reopening, the 110-acre luxury country house had been closed for individual stays, but remained available for meetings, retreats and individual celebrations, such as weddings, with weekly and monthly buyout options. The closure, announced at the end of May, followed the state's COVID-19 lodging restrictions and the cancellation of Tanglewood's 2020 season. At the time, 70 to 80 employees were laid off.
A limited number of individual night and weekend stays, as well as weekly stays and partial/full property buyouts, are now available. Spa services, for an additional fee, are also available.
While Boulud's culinary and service team is overseeing and running Cafe Boulud, Blantyre, according to a spokeswoman, "will employ the remainder of employees for the other operational areas and the majority of these employees were previously employed at the property."
The return individual night and weekend stays at Blantyre coincided with Gov. Charlie Baker's announcement Tuesday that visitors from seven states are now exempt from a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers. Travelers from Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey became exempt from the required quarantine beginning July 1.