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Boudin brings San Francisco sourdough to the 'burbs
By Jennifer Olvera | Daily Herald Correspondent

A flatbread pizza at Boudin SF in Lombard features goat cheese, tomato and bacon.

 

Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

The baguette burger at Boudin SF.

 

Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

A display of pastries tempts diners at Boudin SF in Lombard.

 

Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

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Published: 7/29/2008 12:01 AM

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The Lombard dining invasion continues, and it's a well-documented fact. We won't belabor the obvious, except to say Boudin SF is, in fact, another chain. This San Francisco-based business, however, is a venerable institution dating back to 1849, and it all but caused the rise of sourdough bread. So, it's understandable that bakery enthusiasts were champing at the bit for it to open.

Located in Yorktown's adjunct lifestyle mall, The Shops on Butterfield, this isn't just a carryout location. You can score a full meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Our experience proved nighttime is the best time to visit if you hope to avoid crowds. When we dined at 6 p.m., nary a soul, save staffers, was inside.

Upon entering, diners are corralled to the front counter where a case of sweets tempts them to impulse buy. Behind, racks of fresh-baked bread (we loved the fun turtle-, crab-, lobster- and teddy-shaped numbers) get kids talking.

Booths and dark wood tables fill the space, and outdoor seating expands it during warm weather. On the wall, black-and-white photos of the Golden Gate Bridge hint at the eatery's heritage.

This is an order-at-the-counter operation, but food is brought to your table. Not surprisingly, sourdough bread pops up everywhere, from its sandwiches and "bowls" of soup to its hand-stretched pizza crusts.

The menu's not wacky, so don't come looking for a reinvented wheel. Still, there are a few fun additions. For example, the thin, crisp-crusted barbecue chicken pizza gets slathered with sweet, slightly smoky sauce and is topped with pepper jack and mozzarella cheeses, balsamic red onions, tomatoes, meat and cilantro. It was colorful, flavorful and something we'd order again. Most of the other pizza offerings are pretty pedestrian, but we liked the sound of the veggie with goat cheese and arugula as well as the spinach, mushroom and Alfredo pie.

Although we were excited at the prospect, the generously sized bread bowl of broccoli cheddar soup, while good, lacked tang. Likewise, the rustic tomato soup, while hefty, lacked oomph.

Boudin is big on sandwiches and they can either be ordered full-size or by the half with selections such as soup, a small Caesar or spring salad or half of a pizza.

We really enjoyed the chicken pesto sandwich topped with arugula, pesto mayo and tomatoes on a sourdough baguette. Other choices range from a BLT that's updated with arugula and garlic aioli to a turkey and avocado with havarti cheese on multigrain bread or a croissant.

There are a few hot sandwiches as well, including a crab cake on bread and a baguette burger made from Niman Ranch beef. On the side, diners can choose from potato chips or organic greens.

The entrée-sized salads sound appealing. There's a Cobb and Chinese chicken as well as a Waldorf with chicken, dried cranberries, celery, Swiss and smoked mozzarella cheeses, walnuts and honey-mustard dressing.

Hearty eaters feel the love here, too, with entrees such as beef stew, baked chicken rigatoni and crab mac and cheese.

For dessert, the choices are simple, but there are a handful of cookies and bars to choose from. We found the brownie rather bland and therefore can't recommend it. But the still-chewy white chocolate-macadamia nut cookie was quite good.

Beer and wine by the glass and half-bottle are served, giving the place enough cred for a p.m. visit. Whether you're shopping at the mall day or night or simply are craving carbs, this transplant might well be the pit stop you're looking for.

Restaurant reviews are based on one anonymous visit. Our aim is to describe the overall dining experience while guiding the reader toward the menu's strengths. The Daily Herald does not publish reviews of restaurants it cannot recommend.

Boudin

Location: 348 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard; (630) 691-1849; boudinbakery.com/Boudin_SF

Cuisine: Soups, salads and sandwiches

Setting: Quick-serve, casual cafe

Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

Price range: Soups $5.79 to $6.99; salads $3.99 to $5.59; sandwiches and pizza $6.29 to $9.99; entrees $6.99 to $9.99; desserts $1.79 to $1.99

Accepts: Major credit cards