BLT Bar & Grill opened late last month in the new W Hotel downtown and to say that this was uncharted territory for the BLT empire would be an understatement. This represents the first restaurant to open for BLT Restaurant Group since they and their namesake, super chef Laurent Tourondel, divorced just shy of six years together. Though Bar & Grill was in development before the split, it appears as Tourondel has moved on and is not involved in it at all. So will guests cotton to the change at the helm? Does it even matter? Let's find out.
The "Tourondel Is Not Missed" News: Abbe Diaz of PX This visited shortly after the grand opening and files a very thorough review of the place and it appears as though the absence of Tourondel is not missed by this blogger. "Sorry, Laurent! I was wondering if I’d detect your umm "absence," but uh? no, I don’t. Granted, the menu is hardly creative, but the execution is outstanding (particularly for a place that just opened)." She enjoyed just about everything she ate but, most importantly, the restaurant passes her litmus test of properly executing a Caesar Salad. [PX This]
The "Pleasantly Surprised" News: Yelper john b. almost seems shocked that he would find a warm staff and quality food here, thinks it's perhaps a reward for making the trek to the "somewhat hard to find BLT outpost." He likes the burger saying that it was "perfect - Well cooked, accessorized and accompanied by the house fries that were on the mark - plentiful and delicious." [Yelp]
The "Happy for Anything in FiDi" News: Yelper Nina S. checked it out only days after opening and thinks it shows: "Lots of excited and eager staff greeted me at the entrance, and I could see many servers just idling around. It was very uncomfortable to dine while listening to the staff trade personal stories and watch me eat." But fear not, she likes the food! Or at least some of it. In particular, she really likes the flat bread grilled with pesto and cheese - "made me go OMG." Her fish and chips, though, were a mixed bag - she liked the chips ("thin, crispy and perfect") but the fish, not so much ("chunks were too large, which made it hard to eat . . . and I could taste the breading very clearly"). [Yelp]
The "Obscenely Positive" News: MenuPages commenter david diaz raves and likely shills: "The service was extreme. I have been there for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and it was great.The food excellent but the service stands out the most. and managers are on top of things, not like other places i have been where u ask for the mananger and cant be found for a long period of time. so go for it you wont be sorry." [MenuPages]
The "Local Community" News: The Battery Park City community website filed a blog post on the opening and some of their commenters chimed in with their thoughts. Doug liked the roast chicken and thinks the place has potential but is not enamored with their drinks menu: "For a place that has 2 bars and bills itself as a “bar and grill”, the drink list is completely uninteresting and unimaginative. They need to get a good cocktail director like Don Lee or Phil Ward to come in and give their list some excitement." Another commenter, Michael, is effusive - some might say shilltastically so - with his praise: "We had dinner at the new BLT last evening (7.31.10) and it was terrific! My steak was very flavorful with a charred surface, just as I like it, and my wife’s cod was superb. Our service was very attentive, but not intrusive. We dine out frequently and will return to BLT Bar and Grill." [Battery Park City]