TO the list of terrific Daniel Boulud restaurants in Manhattan, add this Lyonnais chef's first significant gesture toward the sea that laps at the South of France and Spain to its west, then stretches across to Africa and east to the Levant. Boulud Sud is the Manhattan equivalent of a private yacht anchored off Monaco, serving the food of Sardinia, Greece, Tunisia, Gibraltar, Beirut. And you are invited along.
Here are sardines marinated in slick oil and pungent vinegar, with toasted pine nuts for texture and white raisins to bridge the sour and sweet. Iberico ham with grilled pan con tomate – a dish seemingly made of time and water and sun, happy pigs and spitting fires. Beautifully charred squid with bits of chorizo and a tumble of Swiss chard, with tapenade for salt. Spiced duck wrapped in pastry, with date chutney: soft and rich. Harissa-fired lamb, tender and grassy, with yogurt sauce and Algerian eggplant.
Just add a glass of rosé from Bandol, and "War Horse" at the Vivian Beaumont to follow. You can always come back after for more, or for a hot dog at Mr. Boulud's new épicerie Boulud on the corner, next to Bar Boulud, where come to think of it you might also go, just to score a frisée salad and a glass of Côtes du Rhône. Forget the boat. Stay in New York City.
Boulud Sud stretches out beige and sunny along West 64th Street, all open dining rooms with curving ceilings that evoke Cunard ships and Fred Astaire. It is connected to Bar Boulud via the basement, where the two restaurants share restrooms. You could stage a farcical romantic comedy in them, with Justin Timberlake hustling between Katherine Heigl (his fiancée, pouting at Bar Boulud) and Anne Hathaway (his true love, at Boulud Sud), then getting lost downstairs.
Mr. Boulud could have a cameo, perhaps playing a hairdresser. (In 10 years, at the rate he is going, Mr. Boulud will have annexed Café Fiorello, Bar Boulud's neighbor to the south, to make it into a supermarket and liquor store, then jumped across Broadway to run the Grand Tier restaurant at the Metropolitan Opera, and perhaps worked a deal to cater socials at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints up the street.)
The real star of Boulud Sud is its executive chef, a young Briton named Aaron Chambers, whose white-jacketed upper body can occasionally be glimpsed through the narrow pass into the restaurant's open kitchen. Mr. Chambers, 30, has put in time at Raymond Blanc's Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Oxford, and Mr. Boulud's Café Boulud on the Upper East Side, where he rose to be the executive sous-chef. He cooks with a silken French-trained style that turns out to be appropriate to the menu and the environment.
Mr. Chambers's food may have its roots in the coastal beauty and casual quayside culture of the Mediterranean. But it looks divine, court-ready. He is a cobbler selling formalwear espadrilles.
To wit: Saffron linguine with razor clams and dark little clumps of bottarga is a delight, Cezanne-yellow, lemony and sweet, then briny and butter-rich. There is a strong argument for having the dish in addition to whatever else you order. Rosemary-threaded scallops with snow peas and a drift of scallion polenta offers more hearty pleasures, though the entree is no less beautiful in composition, sitting above a swoosh of soft grains, placed on the rectangular plate as if ready for auction. Bid now!
The menu at Boulud Sud is, most of the time, divided into a Café Boulud-like grid of items from the sea, garden and ranch. (An abbreviated pre-theater menu runs from 5 to 7 p.m., broken up into a more traditional three-course format. It is a bummer for those eating early only because they could not get a reservation at 7:30 or 8.)
Meals begin with shareable tapas and build through appetizers up to heftier fare that includes a now apparently requisite dry-aged rib-eye steak for two, served with wild mushrooms, taggiasca olives and crushed potatoes with olive oil.
A diner's best bet for flavor and value is to concentrate on the start of the menu, sharing a somewhat larger variety of small plates with the table than usual, and ordering perhaps one fewer entree. There is a marvelous summery wine list to match the food, courtesy of Michael Madrigale, who also runs the cellar at Bar Boulud, and he guides it well. (So do the restaurant's bartenders and waiters. As at all of Mr. Boulud's restaurants in Manhattan, the staff at Boulud Sud is first-rate: attentive and knowledgeable, with what the restaurateur Danny Meyer calls high hospitality quotients.)
To start, dive into a bread-thickened Andalusian gazpacho bright with acidity and cucumbers, a basil-flecked reminder that tomatoes should be a part of every August meal. Then crunch into grilled blue prawns cooked to the sweet and precise moment when they count as cooked and not raw. Have those sardines, which define "agrodolce" in a bite. Also that purplish Spanish ham, acorn-fed and velvety, ambrosial in flavor. (Perhaps two orders?)
Vitello tonnato is a miss; served almost like an hors d'oeuvre, it lacks the punch of tuna and brine that a properly sloppy version would afford. So is a strange grilled version of veal Milanese, however vegetal the roasted artichokes that come with it. It is dry and unpleasant.
But octopus cooked on a plancha – then served with Marcona almonds and an almond purée, along with arugula and a whisper of sherry vinegar simultaneously to tie the flavors together and set them apart – is fantastic. Crisp-fried artichoke hearts with a pulsing aioli are likewise, as is grilled manouri cheese with tomato confit and a small breast of ricotta.
These all taste of vacation, and are as welcome. You can have the lamb afterward, or the scallops or the seared wagyu with puréed fava beans, or share a salt-baked loup de mer that could run for office as Manhattan's moistest fish. In Mr. Boulud's house, there are many mansions.
But be sure to leave room for Ghaya Oliveira's desserts. Her baklava, torrone, rosemary-poached Bing cherries, all good. Still, they are nothing compared with her grapefruit givré, in which a hollowed-out frozen grapefruit is filled with grapefruit sorbet, grapefruit compote, sesame mousse and Turkish delight, then topped with a tuile hat and spun sesame halvah, as if straight from a cookbook co-written by Escoffier and Ferran AdriÓ. That is for the win.