We have a sneaky habit of arriving in advance to restaurants where we were only able to secure a late-night reservation. Often, even when OpenTable had said there was nothing available, we are able to be seated and fed right when we arrive. At BLT Market, Laurent Tourondel’s new cuisine-specific outpost in the Ritz-Carlton, early arrivals are pointed to the bar at the Star Lounge, just outside the restaurant’s door. This is the sort of spot where city bartending legend Norman Bukofzer charms gents and ladies alike, and a cocktail-for-a-crowd called the 1k will run you a cool $1000. Old-school class pervades. With this as our starting point, the chaos within BLT Market was all the more striking.
BLT Market serves tasty local, seasonal fare in an atmosphere so loud that I’m not sure I would go back. But I’m getting ahead of myself; first, the food. After we were seated, magical tongs placed a long, narrow white paper bag on our table, next to the small pot of rosemary that served as our centerpiece. Inside lay a delectable baguette, each segment spread with butter, garlic, and parsley. As our 9:30 reservation had refused to budge a moment earlier, we were starving and most appreciative of this flavorful beginning—or, frankly, anything edible placed before us.
I started the meal with the heirloom tomato and watermelon salad with Vidalia onion and
The langoustine arborio risotto with basil broth, zucchini, and Wisconsin Stravecchio cheese was offered in two sizes. I was prepared to order the smaller one, but sought the counsel of our waiter, to get a sense of what I was in for. He assured me that the smaller size was “very small.” Me: “How small?” Him: “A couple bites?” Come on. Really? So I took his advice and ordered the large, which came in at $38 to the small’s $24. It was good, although I couldn’t help thinking that my Italian forebears, if I had any, would plotz if they knew I was eating cheese and seafood together—or, worse still, that a restaurant had offered it that way! When we traveled to
For his main course, Gourmando had the 7-pepper-crusted, grass-fed
My dessert was a peach Tarte Tatin with frangipane, black currant, and frozen almond milk. I like to think of myself as something of a Tarte Tatin connoisseur (sample size: embarrassingly large), and I found the black currant an unfortunate addition to an otherwise respectable dessert. The flavor was unnecessary and got in the way. The almond, on the other hand, went well with the peaches and the overall Tatin ethos, if you will. Gourmando was excited about the rhubarb, raspberry, and blueberry cobbler with