September 27, 2004 1:50 AM | By Adam Roberts | 2 Comments

The Hurricane Dining Sessions: BLT Steak

Seems that God (or whomever it is that controls the weather) (Al Roker?) must be a fan of this website. As my parents are propelled North to escape the mighty winds of a series of successive hurricanes, I get to eat out a lot and you get to read about it. Score!

Last night was a bit of a compromise. Dad likes steakhouses, I like gourmet food. Alas, there's the new BLT Steakhouse---the perfect answer for our convoluted needs. (Mom has needs too, but they're not so much content-based as context-based. BLT fit her trendy quotient).


There are two ways to read our evening.

1) We are nice humble people and arriving 30 minutes early we were treated terribly by waitstaff who refused to seat us for 20 minutes despite the fact that we called first and they said its ok.

2) We are bad evil people who showed up 20 minutes early and demanded a table despite lack of availability.

Either way, we were sat by a freckly redhead and were soon greeted by a rather stiff waiter. We asked for help with the wine list and after mom asked, "How's this?" pointing to a red that looked nice, he shrugged and said: "That's a good one."

We were served chicken liver mousse. (No picture taken, but this was nice. Foie gras-ish with a red wine layer on top.)

Then killer pop-overs:


These were mighty filling but mighty enjoyable. Mom snatched dad's away so he wouldn't ruin his dinner. I exhibited self-control and only ate half.

My appetizer was the waiter-recommended figs wrapped in ham with goat cheese:


Rich and delicious. Notice how the presentation echoes presentations at Jean-Georges and Per Se. This is a Frenchified steakhouse---very formal, very pristine. Dad ordered a lobster salad and mom tuna tartare. All of us were equally satisfied.

Then for the steak. Mine came out beautifully:


Mom's was a bit more problematic. She ordered it medium rare ("red center," she told the waiter when she ordered) and, cutting into it, saw gray and pink. Not medium rare at all; not even medium.

She called a waiter over and she said, "This isn't medium rare." And he said, "It isn't?" as if to challenge her. But he caught himself mid-argument and agreed to remove it to the kitchen since for the money we were spending we should get the food that we ordered. Soon he returned with a properly cooked steak. Mom was happy.

I'll be honest, the steak was just fine. Not terrific. What upped the ante, though, was a series of dipping sauces that came with the meat. I ordered two: horseradish and red wine. Dad ordered peppercorn and mustard trio. Mom ordered Bernaise. The dipping sauces added a lot to the steak, but the steak itself could have been more flavorful.

As for sides there was creamed spinach, Hen of the Woods mushrooms, and onion rings:


All expertly done but not as thrilling as the first course. Maybe because steakhouse food is so standard that even the most glorious preparation will always seem somewhat uneventful. I'm not sure. But there's talent in the kitchen at BLT Steak, that's for sure.

Next hurricane, we'll have to try Peter Luger's...


On a recent visit to NYC from London we went to BLT and this review sums up some of my experience. Although i think we had some very fine starters (tuna) the pop-over(?) resembled a terrible school-dinner yorkshire pudding and was awful. The beef was superb although perhaps a bit salty. I think with beef this good you don't need sauces. But anyway, what spoiled the experience a little was an extraordinary brattish waiter called Jeremiah. We were quite curious why the average bottle of wine was circa $200 - coming from Europe i knew a couple of these wines and they sell for about $30 in the UK,so this was quite an ambitious mark-up. Anyway, jermeiahs solution was to mention that they didn't have any "thrifty" wines which was somewhat pompous for a 12 year old. He also sulked when he didn't get quite 20% tip, but then he hadn't nearly earned it.

Bad service is a problem I have encountered in all BLT restaurants. Even if the food is usually pretty good, at this price level, you are entitled to expect a minimum from the staff.

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