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With Bar Boulud, a Michelin-starred chef comes to Boston

Essdras M Suarez/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Where to Bar Boulud, the first Boston restaurant from famed chef Daniel Boulud. It is located in Back Bay, in the Mandarin Oriental space formerly occupied by Asana.

What for Bistro fare that bears the imprimatur of a Michelin-starred chef (even if flagship restaurant Daniel, in New York, was just docked a star, down from three to two).

The scene The restaurant's design echoes that of the original Bar Boulud in New York, where the arched ceiling evokes a wine cellar. Here, the curved, slatted wood panels above make you feel you've just pulled in to Gare de Futon Frame. There are burgundy accents and walls covered in wood shingles made from wine crates, emblazoned with logos. Guests tuck into pate at a small charcuterie bar; at the bar bar, women with black Longchamp bags wearing tailored navy dresses and tan pumps drink Chablis with their buttoned-down boyfriends. A well-heeled couple shares a decanted bottle of red. Next to them, a young guy in khakis and his girl, in a French mariner shirt, canoodle and exclaim over steak tartare. Asian tourists tuck into charcuterie boards; an elegant Indian couple whispers in a corner. Two patrician women with silver hair and artisan-crafted jewelry have an after-work drink beside dudes wearing post-meeting North Face and doing the same. A table of 30-somethings in skater sneakers and dreadlocks eat steak frites, while a lone jazz musician type with tangled white locks gazes intently at the coq au vin he is devouring.

What you're eating Bar Boulud is known for charcuterie, like the decadent Pate Grand-Pere, made with foie gras, pork, and truffles. Boulud also helped start the luxury-burger trend with his foie gras and truffle-stuffed version at DB Bistro Moderne. Here, he and chef de cuisine Aaron Chambers offer burgers like the Frenchie (with confit pork belly, tomato compote, Dijon, and Vacherin cheese) and the Departed (with Irish bacon, cheddar, and Guinness-braised onion).

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Care for a drink? Sommelier Joe Camper's program focuses on wines of Burgundy and the Rhone, with categories such as "the discoveries," "the classics," and "the legends." There is also a collection of more than two dozen grower Champagnes.

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Overheard Conversations about dog portraits, holiday gifts, mothers, ketosis, meetings, PowerPoint presentations, and statistics. Two people toast, and a man declares: "This is a celebration. I'm grateful for your help. I didn't just use you." "Where's your accent from?" a businessman asks a Bulgarian bartender. "Southie," she quips. A visitor complains about Boston dining hours: "That [expletive] was closed at 10:30 on a Friday! I told the chef I would eat cheese." "I didn't get the feeling he was a good decision maker," one co-worker tells another. "Yes, this seat is taken," a woman tells a new arrival. "By your earbuds," she mutters, moving farther down the bar. "Gluten-free is a great way to minimize calories," someone tells his friend, tucking into steak frites. "Do you want some french fries?"

776 Boylston St., Back Bay, Boston. 617-535-8888. www.barboulud.com/boston.


Devra First can be reached at dfirst@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst.