Check here to see Part 1 of our interview with Nancy Oakes from Boulevard, recent recipient of the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurant. Part 2 begins with the question we’ve all been waiting for…
Ali: What is your favorite type of caviar?
Nancy: My original favorite used to be the now unobtainable wild Iranian caviar. I like the people who are striving to match that. Mother Nature, she is a force to contend with. I think the closest that we’ve seen has been the Bulgarian and Israeli caviar farms, both known for their Osetras. I also like the Idaho caviar I’ve had.
Ali: Can you talk about the flavors you like in caviar?
Nancy: Some people like briny, saline, dark, but I like the nutty, buttery flavors.
Ali: How do you enjoy your caviar?
Nancy: I’ll eat the caviar straight off the spoon and be perfectly happy. But my favorite way is with about this much butter and then three times as much caviar on an English muffin. I’ve given it to every chef. I call it the caviar moment and then they’re addicted to it. We passed them out at the Meals on Wheels gala with the mini english muffins. But I like it with the big ones. If you’re someone who likes all of the accoutrements with caviar, then you’ll probably tend toward the brinier, sharper caviar. You want that contrast.
Ali: One last question, people love to return to Boulevard because of the warmth they are shown here. Where do you think that comes from?
Nancy: I think it is rooted in me being in the front of the house for ten years before I started to cook. I always remember why I’m here and I remember who you are. We are only here at the grace of the people who sit at these tables. I think it’s a mistake for a Chef or owner to not spend time in the front of the house. If you want to have a full and happy restaurant, you have to see it through your patron’s eyes.
Thanks again Nancy! I’m sure we’ll see you again soon.