Blvd 56: Boulevard of Broken Dreams
A recent dinner at Blvd 56 turned into a learning experience
A handful of things show up on my newsfeed in a sick cyclical motion: people getting married, married friends having babies, babies playing with puppies, puppies tripping down stairs, and food. The only thing in this mix worth my time is food. So I don’t really mind being inundated by food group notifications. If anything I enjoy it, it helps me stay in the loop.
If you’ve had the chance to peruse any Facebook food groups recently there’s no way you haven’t come across posts regarding Blvd 56. For those of you who haven’t encountered a slow-motion video of their chocolate lava cake yet, Blvd 56 is the first bona fide restaurant on the otherwise barren Phase 6 commercial strip.
The residents of Phase 6 have been swept away by the collective frenzy of finally having a restaurant in such close proximity. Since I live pretty close by I got caught in the riptide as well. Which is exactly why on a slow Saturday night I decided to check out Blvd 56 with a few friends in tow.
The building was a small yet swanky structure. A minimalist wooden exterior wore the restaurant’s logo like an iron crest. Upon entering we were motioned towards the mezzanine floor and directed towards a cozy table in the corner. Paper menus were provided.
The menu was well curated. Although by no means extensive, it still had enough options under each category to whet our collective appetites. After careful discussion and ruthless deliberation, we decided on a rather ambitious order.
Several minutes and one smoke break later the appetizers arrived: Mozzarella Cheese Pops with Herb Infused Spicy Dip, Pull Apart Italian Bread and Fried Calamari with Ranch Dressing.
The Blvd 56 Slow Burn
As soon as the waiter placed the pull apart bread in front of us I knew it was a fail. Instead of a golden-brown beauty, the bread was as pale as Shameel’s ankles. Raw bread is a no-no. Hard pass.
The mozzarella cheese balls had us excited simply because cheese is always exciting right? Wrong. The stuffing inside the cheese pops was excessively salty, the herb dip was great but overall this appetizer was a disappointment.
The fried calamari was next. While the others felt that it was a bit chewy I quite enjoyed this one. The batter was light and crispy. The dip was pretty dope. I’ve got no complaints.
Before the last of the calamari disappeared we ordered our mains. Collective decision making resulted in us ordering their Mediterranean Pizza, Beef Wellington, and a Smokey X-Factor Burger.
There was some debate over whether we’d be ordering the Pad Thai or the Drunken Noodles. Once we’d convinced Rafay that the noodles would not be sufficiently inebriated Pad Thai was locked down.
The Mediterranean Pizza was brought forth on a thin charcoal colored slab; it turned out to be a flatbread topped with grilled chicken and an array of veggies. I’m talking peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, olives and spinach; by the end of it, I actually felt healthy. With a nice airy base and the right sauce-to-cheese ratio, this flatbread turned out to be the hero of the night. Things quickly went downhill again.
The Beef Wellington was seven chunks of overdone beef, wrapped in puff pastry and topped with chimichurri (yes, in a Wellington). The Mozzarella Cheese Balls made a guest appearance alongside the Wellington and were justly ignored.
We soon turned our attention towards the Smokey X-Factor Burger. With a thick beef patty and a mozzarella disk serving as its middle bun it looked promising. I took it upon myself to cut the burger into four equal portions. As I pried a quarter towards my plate I anticipated a majestic cheese-pull. It never appeared. Womp womp.
Not one to be easily deterred I took one massive bite and that’s when it hit me: Shan Chapli Kebab Masala. No amount of BBQ sauce could cover that unmistakable flavor. The burger came with waffle fries but even waffle fries couldn’t sufficiently detract from the sloppy desi mess we had been served.
The fourth item we tried was the Pad Thai, as in each of us tried to eat a forkful. However, the Pad Thai didn’t make it down a single throat due to the intolerable stench emanating from the dish. It was either the chicken or the egg; that’s not a debate I ever want to get into. There isn’t much else to be said about that one.
The Pad Thai was the final nail in the coffin that was our Blvd 56 dining experience. Once the meal had been paid for we dashed towards Rafay’s car and headed straight for Hotspot to wash down our dinner with a sugary overdose.
Thereafter I spent the next few weeks pretending like Blvd 56 never happened and only recently found the courage to relive that terrible, dark night. No amount of Facebook testimonials will ever mislead me.