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Nov 13, 2006 06:44 PM

BLT Empire - Not Impressed

Went to two of Monsieur Tourondel's restaurants in the last 72 hours and will be reluctant to go back. BLT Steak friday night and BLT Burger today were totally unimpressive, uninspired and overhyped.
We (I and some family members) waited at BLT Steak for 30 minutes after my reservation time to sit down. No apologies, no nothing. We were seated at a couple of squeezed together two tops that left the person in the middle on either side with an uneven eating surface. Anyway, I like my steaks with a decent amount of red in the middle, and usually order rare to medium rare. I ordered the ribeye medium rare, on the advice of our captain, who told us that they tend to undercook their steaks just a little. I also ordered hen of the woods mushrooms and asked that I have a glass of cabernet with my main course. (I didn't get an app, but others did). The captain told me that I would have to remind him later... I tried everyone's apps. Nothing stood out other than the caesar salad, which was pretty good. When entrees were coming, not only did the captain not remember my cab, but he even asked me if I wanted anything to drink with my main course. The food came out, and my steak was overcooked. It was medium to medium rare. And count me as one who is not a member of the whole "a proper steak should have a good char on it" school. My steak tasted like charcoal, which completely overwhelmed any meaty taste the ribeye might have had. Also, the hen of the woods musrooms were soggy, and my wine came halfway through my main course. Overall, I was just not happy with the quality of the food or the service. The captain seemed lost in describing the food and was not comfortable with the wine either, and the food really just wasn't good.
BLT Burger was not as egregious as Steak, but I just found their burgers to be underwhelming, especially given the price. I would much sooner walk over to Corner Bistro, and get their better burger and fries for half the price. Oh, and my milkshake was runny and small.
Maybe I caught these two on bad days, but I'm not sure I will try them again to validate that theory.

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  1. I went and got burgers this weekend.. Everything was average.. Besides the Onion rings being below average. I have never been to any of his other restaurants but, after this experience , I have no desire to..

    1. I agree with your opinion of the BLT Empire. BLT Steak was interesting when it first opened but there is nothing there that would make me want to run back. I wanted to love BLT Prime, but it was a one and done place where I would probably not return because there are too many other good places. BLT Fish is overpriced for very mediocre food. I have not been to BLT Burger and based on the early reviews, I do not see myself going there. As the "emire" expands, the quality can only get worse.

      1. I used to eat at Cello a lot, and Laurent Tourondel is a wonderful chef. It would be sad if he has overextended himself, but he wouldn't be the first. I think Humpty Dumpty was really not an egg but a chef who opened too many restaurants.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Brian S

          Yes, but another way to look at it is that Cello shut down, whereas the bunch of BLT restaurants are doing great business. It might not look like a mistake from his point of view.

        2. Laurent Tounendel is one of the most talented chefs in NY. He was smart and decided to have 'financial glory' instead of 'artistic glory'. I'm sure his family is happy for him. So am I. The food is still great at his places.

          3 Replies
            1. re: hardcore

              Thank you hardcore. "Financial glory" is not the point of this site.

            2. re: muro

              for those who do not know...LT is just a" partner" in the business.. a small partner.. others have financial control not LT

            3. That BLT burger location is haunted, so many places have opened and crashed over the last 3 years.