Bullion is a very stylish and large place on the second floor of a high-rise downtown building. The restaurant, created by Chef Bruno Davaillon, juts out as a gold rectangle protruding from the second floor, which he calls a French brasserie. Shiny lacquered tables are outfitted with lots of banquette seating, except for the center tables, and are fairly close together. You enter on the ground level and first notice a two story art piece that looks like giant glass beads. Upstairs there is a large lounge area where you are invited to stop and have cocktails before dinner. The bar is adjacent to the dining room which provided background noise but not so much that you couldn’t easily talk at the table.
At the table and around the restaurant many items are identified with the restaurant name or initial. The menu is not large but there is a daily special offered in addition to the 8 main plates. A group of appetizers is identified as plates to share. Service was friendly but slightly disorganized and pacing was not good. For example, on plates to share no utensil was brought that would be suitable for serving, clean plates nor utensils were brought between courses and the promised visit from the sommelier never happened. Servers all wear long leather aprons and tennis shoes.
Three types of bread arrive in the table’s bread basket. A brioche which was soft and buttery was the best of the lot. The white had a nice chew but was slightly dried out due to pre-cutting. The baguette was cottony and bland.
We split a Steak Tartare that came with smoked cream, radish and crispy farro. The meat was in a chunk cut rather than fine dice. It went very well with the smoked cream for a nice combination of flavors and textures.
We had a side order of fried potatoes with a tarragon dipping sauce. The fries had a wonderful crisp exterior and creamy center. The dipping sauce was well flavored with tarragon and the fries were nicely pre-salted.
The Poireax was leeks, goat cheese, and hazelnuts with a truffle vinaigrette. Some parts of the leeks were quite tender while others you could barely cut. The truffles were tasteless. This was acceptable but I’ve had way better examples.
The L’Oeuf Poché was billed as a poached egg, wild mushrooms and vin jaune. The mushrooms did not appear to be wild but rather ones easily obtained at a nice grocery store. The egg was cooked to runny which certainly was intended to be part of the sauce but no spoon was served to portion it out or to eat with. The bread was too dry to use to soak it up. Otherwise it was quite tasty. In their defense the manager did come by to apologize for the lack of service detail, which was very unexpected in this caliber restaurant.
For main plates we tried the daily special of veal sweetbreads. They were cooked nicely with a tasty sauce. I would order them again.
The Orange Duck was plated with parsnips, endive and orange marmalade. It was cooked nicely rare with most of the fat already rendered. It had a bit of seasoning on the crispy skin and was surrounded by a nice brown sauce. It was good.
For dessert the Baba au Rhum was a rum syrup soaked brioche served with chantilly cream and exotic fruits, which were never specified. A wonderful fruit compote topped the soaked bread which worked nicely with the cream. The bread (cake) had a tad too dry crumb which turned to grit in your throat. I ate the fruit but some of the brioche got left.