Daniel Boulud has established a large collection of restaurants, nearly all of which sport his name or his initials. I've dined at two of Boulud's fancier restaurants, Daniel and Cafe Boulud in West Palm Beach, and though the meals were good, there were drawbacks at both. Lunch at Bar Boulud left me with a similar impression of Boulud's empire as the others had — the food is decent, but not outstanding, not a great sign if you're going to stay afloat among New York's myriad of restaurants.
Though Bar Boulud might be considered less formal than the others, don't be fooled into thinking you're going to be able to taste the esteemed French chef's food cheaply. The prices still represent a white tablecloth dining experience (even outside on the sidewalk) with prices to match. But at lunch, you can stick to the less expensive sandwich section, unless you are looking for heavier meal.
The soup was the most memorable part of the meal for me — creamy and chunky — though the bowl was difficult to eat out of with the large spoon provided. The corn was nicely roasted and crunchy, as though it had been cooked separately and added to the soup just before serving. I loved the delicate homemade potato chips that came with my salmon club. My dining companion seemed to enjoy the Croque Madam, an egg makes almost everything better.
I can't say that months down the road I'll remember what I ate, but at least I can associate the Boulud name with consistency.