Things didn’t exactly start out well for Bobo. There was a Ducasse-trained chef, Nicolas Cantrel, in the kitchen, but Bobo was panned. The Restaurant Girl said that “Bobo…is a no-no.” Gotham Gal didn’t like it either. Cantrel left in December. It was described as an amicable parting, but something is amiss when the chef leaves after less than two months.
Rick Jakobson and Jared Stafford-Hill were brought in to revamp the kitchen, though as of last Friday the menu still seemed to be basically the same as Cantrel was serving. Despite the early hiccups, we thought we’d give Bobo a try.
If Bobo can settle down, it could easily become one of the most romantic spots in town. It has the loveliest dining room we have seen in a very long time. The name, derived from bourgeois bohemian is admittedly a bit precious, and so is the concept:
…inspired by European dinner parties, celebrating the shared experience of dining with family and friends in a warm setting. So that, even at 5 o’clock in the morning, your guests haven’t even considered leaving.
But Bobo really grows on you. The food isn’t consistent enough yet, but perhaps it’s getting there.
I started with a wonderful spaghetti appetizer (above left), and a codfish entrée (above right) was first-rate. My girlfriend found the foie gras terrine satisfactory, but Chicken Grand-Mère—a holdover from the Cantrel era—was slightly overcooked, as indeed other critics had found it.
There are several enjoyable house cocktails: I especially liked Bobo’s Mead (Plymouth gin, Lime, Lavender-infused honey). The staff transferred the bar tab to our table, as all decent restaurants should, but alas, many do not. We were also pleased to see a real choice of decent red wines below $50. Service was just fine, aside from slightly stale bread rolls.
Bobo is a restaurant you want to root for. The early negative press doesn’t seem to have hurt very much, as the space was close to full on a Friday evening. I look forward to visiting again after the new chefs have their own menu in place.
Bobo (181 W. 10th Street at Seventh Avenue South, West Village)