In my opinion, BOKA has been one of those restaurants in town that you could always count on for a great meal. It may not always be the hottest ticket in town but it was always a tough prime time reservation to secure. The restaurant under Chef Giuseppe Tentori could always be counted on to deliver. So, when it was announced that new chef would be at the helm, it was a little cause for concern. That is, until I heard that Chef Lee Wolen would be taking over. Chef Wolen was most recently heading the kitchen at the Lobby Restaurant at the Peninsula Hotel. I had an excellent meat there last summer. He was best known for his whole roasted chicken, which was spectacular. But, all of the food that evening was delicious, so I was truly excited to see what he would do at BOKA.
I had been anticipating dining at BOKA all week. I had been following Chef Wolen's Instagram feed and that only increased the anticipation level. Coupled with another long wintery week, I think I had very high hopes for this evening! Please excuse my pictures that accompany this post. They were taken with my phone, without flash, as I'm not a fan of using flash photography in restaurant.
Dinner began with a cocktail from their house cocktail list called Fortune Laid Away. This consisted of Templeton Rye, Cocchi Americano, Gran Classico, bitters, and coffee essence. It was surprisingly light and nicely balanced. As cocktails were being enjoyed, the meal started with an amuse of lentil soup. The soup was not thick at all, nicely spiced with strong notes of cumin and finished with a curry oil. It was delicious and engaged the taste buds to get them primed for the meal.
I ordered the roasted broccoli salad as my first course. I make roasted broccoli at home all the time. It's a go-to side dish that my kids love. Therefore, I was curious to see what else can be done with roasted broccoli. The roasted broccoli salad was served with yogurt, preserved lemon, parmesan, smoked ham, and Marcona almonds. I was expecting a warm salad of roasted broccoli but this salad was served cold. And it was awesome! I thought it was a fantastic idea to roast the broccoli to impart the flavor the caramelized vegetable but then serve it as a bright, fresh salad. I loved this dish!
For my main course, I ordered the roasted Pekin duck breast, served with duck sausage, roasted fennel, prunes and cranberry beans. If you like duck, you'll love this dish. The duck was perfectly cooked, tender, and with perfectly crisped skin. It was satisfying and hearty.
I should also mention that the wine manager directed us to wine that was not only superb but paired well with both of our entrees. As a fan of the wines of Burgundy, he recommended a half bottle of Domaine Christophe Perrot-Minot Nuits Saint Georges La Richemone 2004. It was an exceptional wine! I forget his name but he was a pleasure to chat with and I could tell that he really loved his job and did a great job of making wine approachable to diners.
For dessert, it was olive oil cake with white chocolate ice cream and grapes. I'm not a huge dessert fan so I don't like overly rich or sweet desserts and this hit the mark perfectly. The cake was moist and just sweet enough with the ice cream providing just the right amount of richness with each bite.
The meal was delicious and did not disappoint even with the high level of anticipation going in. I'm looking forward to returning in the summer when the beautiful patio is open. I should also mention that dessert was not quite the end to meal. The real finale was a glass of 15 year-old Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon. I couldn't think of a better way to end a meal.