It's a hectic Saturday morning at the Ferry Plaza, but really, all Saturdays here are like that. It's a mob of tourists and locals getting their fix of the Farmer's Market and coffee. Since we live relatively close by me and the SO often make a visit there to meet up with folks or just get ourselves out of the house, which is what we were accomplishing on this particular day. There are a myriad of food choices from the vendors outside the building to the permanent ones inside. A recent new edition inside is Bouli Bar. An offshoot/addition to Boulette's Larder which is around the corner and is sort of an upscale meat and stuff to go place. Like most new places in town it was packed with folks......

...but we inquired anyway and it was only 5 minutes or so as several tables were in the process of leaving. More like 10 minutes later we got a table inside the industrial looking space. The lights were low which gave the impression of dining at night when it was actually around noon. It's a small but focused menu with lots of nods to Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors. Our waiter said the chef specializes in this so we decided to just go with that when choosing our food. Eastern Mediterranean Salad seemed a good starting point...

Purslane, barberries, freekeh, bulgur, tomato, cucumber, ricotta salata and pomegranate seeds with a pomegranate reduction and red wine vinaigrette.  At first I was dubious, not really knowing what purslane and barberries were and then after doing a quick search on my I see headlines on them like weed it or eat it, it can make one hesitant. And yes, there are a lot of ingredients, but it works and works well here. It's an oft used term but fresh is what comes to mind when taking a bite of this salad.  The greens are crisp and flavorful with just a bite to them that is offset nicely by the sweetness of the pomegranate, tomato and vinaigrette. The addition of the bulgur also gives it a hearty earthiness that blends well with everything else. Both me and the SO like this very much, well he liked just a tad more. My one drawback is that this is an $18 salad, it's good but not that good or that large. Even with all these ingredients I think this is about $5 too much, even for San Francisco, still....above average and good start. Pizzes are what this place is becoming known for so we pick the musa.....

...Turkish spiced lamb, tomato, feta, mint and parsley. They call it a pizze, but I will say it is more like a round flat bread instead of a pizza per se. The lamb is ground with tomatoes and Middle Eastern spices, we thought we could taste things like cardamon, nutmeg, maybe some turmeric? It was all like a paste that was then spread on top of the bread basted in olive oil. This is a no sauce pizza which I have to say makes seem a bit on the dry side. Plus they are using feta chunks which don't really melt or add any liquid to the mix. I did enjoy the flavor combination and even though I'm not a fan of mint on savory I do think it added an extra layer of brightness to offset the saltiness of the feta and lamb. The SO wasn't a real fan of this and I just thought it was okay. Again I'm gonna ding them for pricing. At $18.50 it seems on the way high end of appetizer pizzas, I'll say this is $4 too much. Since we were sharing stuff and still not really full we went for dessert and got the beignets. 

Deep fried dough balls rolled in Ras al Hanout North African spice blend, vanilla sugar and sea salt. Yes, even the dessert carried on the Mediterranean theme. It took a little extra time for these as they make them to order and what can I say, it was totally worth it. These were like little puffs of salty sweet, creamy air. The were fresh and warm and when you bit into it, the dough inside tasted almost creamy. The sugar, salt, spice blend they were rolled in was perfect--not too much salt, not too much vanilla (as it can get cloying) and just a hint of the savory from the blend to make it more interesting. We both thought these were delicious and we probably could have eaten our own full bowl. We got 12 large ones and at $10 a bowl I will say these were actually worth it. If there is such a thing as going out on a high note these little balls of joy did it for me. I know sometimes dessert can save a meal, here it both saves and adds to the overall experience.  

Currently Bouli Bar is only serving lunch, though there are plans to add some dinner services as a test run soon. As an alternative to some of the food vendors at the Ferry Plaza, I'd say give the place a try if you don't mind spending a few extra bucks than you would at other places. But whatever you do, get the beignets...because you'll be sorry if you don't. 

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