Home cooking on the BLVD

Giulia Imholte, staff writer

It’s 6 o’clock on a Saturday night and BLVD Kitchen and Bar, the new American bistro off of Wayzata Boulevard, is already jam-packed. The industrial architecture, and simple, but inviting aura of this apparent hot spot has proven it can draw a crowd in only its third week of business.

This comes as no surprise, since the owner, Dean Vlahos, is the former owner of Champps Americana and Redstone restaurants. “This restaurant has been in the works for about two or three years. Dean Vlahos had been basing his idea off of a restaurant in Chicago, Luxbar, and he ended up flying down there and hiring the chef,” said manager, Kelly Lange.

Currently, the menu offers a variety of burgers, fish, and large sandwiches. Staff and customer favorites include the Truffle Gorgonzola Fries, which are flavorful and perfectly salted, and the halibut, which is accompanied by a somewhat salty, somewhat spicy corn relish which accents the halibut excellently and makes it taste a little sweeter.

The selection of five burgers on the current menu all have their own unique twists on a regular burger, save for the Classic. The BLVD Royale is loaded with American cheese, leeks, and is served on a pretzel bun. The BBQ burger is two barbecued burger patties with provolone cheese. A new take on burgers for dinner is the Breakfast Burger, which is topped with egg, bacon, and cheese.

All of the food served at BLVD is homemade in the kitchen, except for the bread which is made through a partnership with a local bakery. “The chef is focused on adapting the menu to what is in season. In the spring he plans to grow herbs in the planters that surround the outdoor dining area,” said Lange.

Not only do the burgers have their own distinctive qualities, but the preparation is first-rate. For example, the Classic is perfectly juicy, topped with white American cheese that oozes into the burger, and the meat cooked just right at medium well. Plus, the price of a burger falls around $11.50.

Overall, the price range is decent. Appetizers range from $5 to $14 with the only exception being the Buki Platter, a combination of five appetizers, which is $32. The highest priced salad is $14 and the lowest priced soup is $5. Main entrées, not including steak, average at about $21, with steak being about $28. These prices are all definitely within reason for the quality of the food.

The only major downside of BLVD is the noise, which carries across the restaurant. On a busy Saturday night, a table in the far back corner of the restaurant fails to evade the loud conversations and sporadic cheers that erupt from the bar where six TVs project nightly sports games.Plus, the busy atmosphere can create wait times for potential customers since they do not yet take reservations.

Still, it is no wonder people are drawn to the buzzing crowd and good food of BLVD. The sophisticated and clean atmosphere of this Minnetonka restaurant makes it a clear crowd-pleaser.