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Dining Out: Newly renovated Boulevard Grill keeps same good taste

BOULEVARD GRILL

210-22 Northern Blvd., Bayside

423-8833

They spent a million. There's been a metamorphosis from Canyon Creek (formerly Toni Roma's) to Boulevard Grill. It's the same ownership but they rebuilt the outside and rebuilt the inside.

After 15 months of renovation, they reopened in February. Everything is brand new. There's even a brand new crew. The exterior is a slick, subdued beige with a multitude of floor-to-ceiling windows. Inside a stone facade dominates the far wall. A dark green banquet runs around the room. Huge framed posters of quaffables punctuate the room. Call it clean cut minimalism. Votive candles, Black Phu Whiskey emblazoned, glow after dark. There is soft music and seven very discrete TVs. A separate bar room is off right as you enter.

My first encounter with Boulevard Grill was the night the plane from Pittsburgh which we were to meet at LaGuardia was 50 minutes late (So what else is new?) and we dropped in for an early supper. Mini shredded pork tamales, hand-wrapped corn husks stuffed with shredded pork, made a delicious appetizer. Kudos for the pork. And minis are more fun than a maxi.

A salad main course for me. "The kitchen sink," it's called! It's really big, about 12 inches across. It's similar to a chef salad with mixed, chopped greens, warm (nice) grilled chicken, bacon, tomato, onion, black beans, corn nibblets, hard boiled eggs, croutons and crisp onion straws tossed in a vinaigrette dressing. An accompanying round, crusty loaf of Italian style bread is on a board with ramekin of butter.

He had coconut shrimp, battered and rolled in a crunchy breading, served with waffled fries and a special sauce. Good, yes. Great, no. But the house salad with diced tomato and croutons and a house dressing was great, and salad comes with every entree.

Boulevard's fried ice cream dessert is a revelation - not the usual rolled-in corn flake kind, mind you, but dipped in a pound-cake batter. So delicioso! Mud pie here is really muddy and very, very good. Coffee cups are small. Seconds, if you please.

The new chef at Boulevard is from the Culinary Institute of America. In fact, it's like alumni hall, all chefs are CIA grads.

A list of 20 imported beers was propped on the table. The Cuban was a must try.

My steak plate was spectacular: A mound of magnificent waffle french fries. (Were they good!) The steak tasted like marinated Rumanian tenderloin tidbits par excelance, and was heaped on a toasted roll spread with Caesar mayonnaise and topped with straw onions, wafer thin slices, done like their famous, improved, Tony Roma onion loaf breaded and lightly fried. The other half of roll was topped with Romaine and two jumbo slices of beef steak tomato. Have you ever considered doggy-bagging a sandwich?

My Yul Brenner look-alike waiter, clad in black slacks with a black butcher apron, and I exchanged views on things Cuban.

I discovered Boulevard's Sunset menu, served from 3 pm to 6 pm Monday to Friday: Soup or salad, an entree (most with baked potato or fries and vegetables) dessert and coffee or tea. The entrees are steaks, chicken breast, pork chops, fettuccini, rigatoni, ravioli or Cobb salad. Beat this: $10.95!

THE BOTTOM LINE

Metamorphosis of Canyon Creek to Boulevard Grill. New inside and out. New crew. Fine grill menu. Imported beer selection. Good service.

Chef's Choice

Onion Loaf (seasoned Spanish onions, breaded and lightly fried)...$6.95

Crab Cake (fresh lump crabmeat served with remoulade sauce)...$8.95

New York Sirloin and Fries...$22.95

Grilled Chicken (two chicken breasts sauteed in walnut cream sauce, served with vegetables)...$13.95

Baked Filet of Salmon.$15.95

Burger Factory (10 ounces of prime cut ground beef, broiled in an open pit with lettuce, tomato and fried onions on a warm bun)...$7.95

A Special Treat (fried ice cream sundae with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, maraschino cherry and nuts)...$5.95

Mud Cake...$4.50

Cuisine: American

Setting: American

Service: American

Hours: L & D, 7 days

Reservations: Yes

Parking: Lot

Dress: Casual

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