Longtime but recently closed upscale New York steakhouse BLT Prime makes its return today, this time on the Upper East Side — home to owner Jimmy Haber, the guy behind hospitality behemoth ESquared.
The restaurant closed because of rising rent in December after 13 years in Gramercy. Its new home is at 1032 Lexington Ave., between 73rd and 74th streets, and there are some new menu items with the relaunch. Executive chef and ESquared culinary director Clifford Crooks brings back all the specialty steaks and classic sides — and those popular gruyere popovers — as well as more modern dishes such as a salmon burger and Wagyu reuben. The restaurant opens with dinner and lunch, with brunch starting on March 30.
The new space is spread over two floors and sultry, done up in greys, black, and browns, with smoked mirrors, a zinc bar, and cognac banquettes. The whole space seats 140 people.
BLT Prime has had a complicated history in NYC. Acclaimed chef Laurent Tourondel and Esquared Hospitality opened Prime in 2006, part of the empire the team built on the BLT — “Bistro Laurent Tourondel” — brand. There are now more than 15 BLT-branded restaurants spread across the world, including Prime locations in DC and Miami inside Trump-branded hotels.
But in 2010, Tourondel and Esquared parted ways and one messy lawsuit later, Tourondel retained legal rights to his name, with ESquared continuing to pay him a licensing fee. Meanwhile, Tourondel has his own restaurants called LT.
BLT Prime is now open Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday brunch is from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., with Saturday dinner from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The bar is weekdays from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a limited menu.