I am a big fan of soup and salad for lunch. I prefer it over anything else for a weekday lunch. Where I work, there are a bunch of options for soup and salad- Panera and Le Boulanger to name a few. So when a branch of Boudin, the popular SF bread maker opened up in Cupertino, I was excited. Over the last few weeks, I have made multiple trips to Boudin and have had a chance to try everything vegetarian that they have on their menu. Here is my review.
It is a challenging task to review a soup and salad place because the food is simple, relatively easy to craft and given my predisposition to the style of food, easy to rave about. I will do my best to give you an objective opinion of the place and specifically for vegetarians.
Boudin is a busy place for an afternoon lunch. Queues often stretch to outside the place. But there are multiple lines and the queues move quickly. Menu cards are available at the entrance. There is seating inside and outside. Most tables are for 4 people and combining them can be challenging given how many tables are packed inside. The most I have seen is 6 people outside. The queue snakes through an area where you have full visibility of the bread making process- obviously an intentional arrangement to tease the senses. Also along the way are cookies and breads to buy to go. Once we arrived at the counter, the only additional menu item to determine is the soup of the day. A few of the soups of the day options are vegetarian. Once the order is placed, a number card is made available and the food reaches the table. Service in all trips was courteous and pleasant.
I have sampled pretty much all the available vegetarian options on the menu. There are two daily soups and one other “soup of the day” that are vegetarian. The daily soups are rustic tomato and butternut squash. The rustic tomato is creamy and rich. The butternut squash soup is great especially with cranberries and walnuts as garnish. Both of them serve as fantastic soul food, especially on a chilly afternoon. I have sampled two sandwiches and love both of them- the grilled brie with fig jam which is mildly sweet and cannot be handled beyond a half size with reasonable comfort and the California veggie which is great. On the salad side, I have tried three of them- the Spring Salad, the goat cheese and apple which I totally love and the asian chicken salad with avocado to replace the chicken. The salads are fantastic. Boudin has walnuts or almonds in almost all its salads which is great. Overall, the place fits my eating life style very well.
Ambiance: 8.5/10. Pleasant ambiance. The view of bread making is pretty neat.
Service: 9/10. Great service. Maybe because they are new. But I love their service.
Food: 8.5/10. For the food I want on a weekday, this is fantastic. Love it. Only reason its not a 9 is the limited size vegetarian menu (not that its any different at Panera or Le Boulanger).
Price: 8/10. Prices are league average for the most part. Only gripe is that soups are pricey and if you pick a full soup and salad, it works out very expensive.
Restroom: 9/10. Clean (for now).
Overall: 8.5/10. If you are in the area, this is a good option for a business lunch. Service is good. Food is not too heavy and tastes good too.