Gut Reaction: Boundary Road’s $15 PB&J With Foie Gras Is Decadent & Dinky
This is not a formal review, but rather an off-the-cuff first-impressions-style riff on a brand-spankin' new D.C. restaurant.
"It's tiny!" the woman beside me chirps up when my order arrives. I'm sitting at the bar at Boundary Road, the newish eatery along H Street NE, which recently hosted a hugely publicized visit from President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. I have not come to bask in the presidential afterglow, however. I'm here to try the advertised $15 Foie Gras Torchon PBJ, featuring grilled country bread, homemade peanut butter and peach vanilla jelly—and, as my fellow diner aptly points out, looking pretty darn diminutive for the double-digit price tag. More like a half-PB&J, really. Which might explain why this tricked out spin on childhood nostalgia appears on the appetizer portion of the menu.
This is not the first fancified peanut butter and jelly sandwich with fattened goose liver, of course. I've previously devoted hundreds of words to a similar item on the menu at America Eats Tavern. But, while the concept and price is nearly identical—America Eats' version, originally priced at $14, is now slightly more expensive ($16)—the two approaches couldn't be more different. At America Eats, the tiny sandwich came in four sections, served on soft buttery bread that was sealed along the edges, as if in homage to the childhood practice of cutting the crusts off. The homemade peanut butter and blackberry jam oozed from inside, with only a hint of foie gras flavor in each bite.
Conversely, at Boundary Road, the rich foie gras torchon serves as the dominant aspect of the sandwich, with only a thin layer of crunchy oil peanut spread underneath and a slightly more substantial smear of jam on top. I tasted more of the thick, crispy bread on each bite then either the PB or the J.
Both versions were pretty small portions for the price. Boundary Road's serving is probably the smaller of the two. And the America Eats version came with a carton of milk! Boundary Road's take is served with salad, which, purely in terms of comfort food, is simply not as comforting. Advantage: America Eats.
When I ask the bartender for a recommendation on a beer that pairs well with the PB&J, he offers a number of possibilities. After some extended banter, we settle on a bottle of the Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse. The advertised banana notes are probably what sealed the deal. It just seemed a natural pairing with the peanut butter. It was also similarly priced—a whopping $16. This guy should sell cars.
Refreshingly crisp and sour, the brew proved quite cleansing after all the scrapes and scratches my palate endured from the crackly bread.
Frankly, I think I prefer the beer to the sandwich.