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BLT Burger


Sneakeater
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Not that it's such a big deal, but to clarify, I'm not offended by BLT Burger or anything. And I wish Laurent Tourondel all the success in the world.

I just think that what he's doing now (in ALL his restaurants) is a waste of his talents.

Here, for example, I don't think the food is bad, or a bad value, but from a chef like Tourondel you'd optimally want something more than "not bad or a bad value."

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If I may give an example--Bread Bar at Tabla is really its own place and has informal food (intended to be almost "bar food") but it reflects a sensibility, is interesting, and quite tasty. At BLT Burger, I was hoping for tasty food that I would walk away from thinking "That was unusually good." Personally, I think the folks running it should know the reaction and make modifications. New York is a hard place, and BLT Burger isn't going to live on the tourist crowd.

Edited by DutchMuse (log)
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I forgot to add that I did also try the onion rings.. I was not a big fan.. Mine were not fried well, they were really greasy.. I also did not like the sweetened crust they had.. It was a similar version of the onion rings at the Clover Grill in New Orleans...One thing I did see was the people next to me got the wings.. They look pretty good..

Edited by Daniel (log)
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Agreed.  The whole point of real wagyu is the melting texture that still manifests itself in whole slices or as a steak.  I'd much rather pay $125 for a five oz. steak than $65 (or whatever it is) for a five ounce burger.

The way to eat the best wagyu, and I always found Matsuzaka not necessarily "kobe" to be the best, is to cook it yourself as Yakiniku, or a stone or hot flame... searing it quickly. The fat melts at lower temperature so you want to sear it and enjoy the marbled characteristics -

BTW while American wagyu cattle might not get the same level of service the Japanese do, many Japanese and myself consider the American wagyu to be up there with the Japanese at this point, they're doing something right..

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It sounds like people want this to be something other than a burger place. Which is fine. But to be surprised that BLT Burger serves, well, burgers seems strange to me.

BTW, does anyone know if BLT Steak and Prime are now serving Wagyu imported from Japan? It'd be surprising if they weren't. Is anyone else yet?

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Just to be clear:

1. I don't want this to be anything other than a burger place. I mainly want LT to be doing what he's capable of, rather than ONLY stuff like this.

2. Having said that, though, I think that if someone like LT is going to operate and market a burger place, it ought to be better than this one. What's the point of having a leading chef run a burger joint if there's nothing special about it? (Compare the bistros that name chefs have opened in Paris -- or Bistro du Vent under Laurent Gras here in New York: they succeed, when they do, not because they're pretty good bistros, but because they're bistros where the food has been tweeked by a haute chef, and so isn't just ordinary bistro fare. What's the point of having a burger joint run by LT if all it is, is a pretty good burger joint?)

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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  • 2 months later...

I'm gunna go lowbrow and just comment on the food.

My wife has some kind of thing for this place. I don't know what it is but anyway I've found myself eating here pretty regularly since it opened. Frankly the whole BLT thing has got her atwitter. Whatever. I don't mind the classic burger one bit. Especially when it has cheddar cheese on it. And our two year old eats the sweet potato fries. We like that. But for some reason, unless one orders a burger well done, it comes out quite rare. It could be just my bad luck so I'll just say that on eight out of of ten visits a burger ordered medium has come out raw in the middle. This seems to me something the kitchen had ought to get on top of.

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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  • 5 months later...

FINALLY went to BLT Burger for the first time last night. I think the burger preparations have changed somewhat since most of the discussion in this thread. I went with the Classic Burger with American Cheese and BLT Sauce instead of the default mayo, mustard, and ketchup. I also had an order of fries.

I was thoroughly impressed with the burger. I love a big juicy "restaurant" style burger, but I have a particular affection for fast food style burgers and this was an outstanding example. The patty is just thin enough to be in the fast food style, in harmony with the fixings rather than hogging the spotlight as a "restaurant" style burger should. It was cooked right to medium rare as I requested and had good beefy flavor. The lettuce and tomato are high quality as is to be expected given the price tag and BLT moniker; the red onion is thinly shaved, on the mark; and the BLT Sauce is a very good thousand island like spread. To my tastes, a fast food style burger typically cannot approach perfection without some sort of thousand island like special sauce so my requested substitution scored major points.

The fries, however, are a big problem. They are neither good nor as advertised. Although the menu claims them to be hand cut it is impossible for me to believe this is so. They are instead the variety that have coating on the outside, like you'd find at Burger King. Coated fries are a huge, huge pet peeve of mine. I simply hate them and (maybe I'm being closed minded about this) cannot understand why anyone likes them. To me, a french fry is all about the crisp golden exterior (and a fluffy interior) of the POTATO , not the crisp exterior of some other starchy substance. I think it is extremely misguided to serve this type of fry and it reeks of shortcuts (I'm guessing that they require less attention). I'm appalled that a place with LT's name would resort to this; heck, I'm appalled when a diner does. And this is leaving aside the fact that the menu advertises hand cut fries. Glancing at some older photos on Flickr, it appears that they once served truly hand cut fries but have since changed. I have no problem if they want to serve frozen fries or something else, but coated fries are simply criminal.

Edited by zEli173 (log)
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  • 7 months later...

No New York eating experience in recent memory has upset me as much as BLT Burger. It frightens me that such an abomination is possible in New York, with the initials of an accomplished chef all over it. (I'm surprised BLT is not embossed on the toilet paper, too, so proud is this man of his name and reputation.)

I was hopeful, not fearful, the burger efforts of so accomplished a chef as Laurent Tourondel would produce either a great success or, at worst, an intriguing and even commendable failure. But this is neither. It's too pricey, too inauthentic and too pretentious in its calculation to qualify as a burger joint, yet the small burger, poor fries, hapless onion rings and desultory accessories fall far of anything resembling a serious burger experience. Moreover, the design and execution are entirely oblivious to the New York burger experience. Is it possible that Tourondel has never sampled a good or merely representative New York burger or golden, twice-fried, hand-cut frites?

This shameful effort tarnishes two brands: "BLT" and "NYC" It is the damage to the latter that concerns me.

Edited by danyoung (log)
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Couldn't agree more. Shake Shack, the humble little place in Madison Square Park, runs rings around it.

Tourondel is greatly diluting his name and brand by such a place. People still remember his accomplishments from Cello. After a while, they will forget what he can do (like at Cello) but remember places like BLT burger and some of the other places that fall far short or assume his expertise is cooking a steak. I've always thought this was a real shame.

Edited by DutchMuse (log)
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I was hopeful, not fearful, the burger efforts of so accomplished a chef as Laurent Tourondel would produce either a great success or, at worst, an intriguing and even commendable failure. But this is neither. It's too pricey, too inauthentic and too pretentious in its calculation to qualify as a burger joint, yet the small burger, poor fries, hapless onion rings and desultory accessories fall far of anything resembling a serious burger experience. Moreover, the design and execution are entirely oblivious to the New York burger experience. Is it possible that Tourondel has never sampled a good or merely representative New York burger or golden, twice-fried, hand-cut frites?

This shameful effort tarnishes two brands: "BLT" and "NYC"  It is the damage to the latter that concerns me.

I'd like to hear you elaborate on what you found to be inauthentic? And could you tell us what you didn't like about the burger other than it being small?

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I've gotten takeout from BLT burger a few times, only if I happened to be walking by. I don't eat-in there mostly do to the douchebag quotient. Their combo, burger, fries and a shake is $16. Shake Shack = $14 for the same thing and no matter what you are standing on that godawful line. It's not like they're saving lives there, isn't there anything they can do to quicken it up?

To Dan, I'd say, what's a NY burger? I think that's a tough one. If anything, I think it's a pub burger, of the Piper's Kilt, Corner Bistro ilk. I don't like fast food burgers. Leave those for the in'n'out set of the west coast.

Anyway, I found the burger perfectly good, for what it was, which is another blend of cuts, fresh-ground, with high-quality toppings - the shake was good and so were the fries. Not worth going out of the way for, but if you want to splurge a little on a classed-up fast food meal, go for it...

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I've gotten takeout from BLT burger a few times, only if I happened to be walking by. I don't eat-in there mostly do to the douchebag quotient. Their combo, burger, fries and a shake is $16. Shake Shack = $14 for the same thing and no matter what you are standing on that godawful line. It's not like they're saving lives there, isn't there anything they can do to quicken it up?

To Dan, I'd say, what's a NY burger? I think that's a tough one. If anything, I think it's a pub burger, of the Piper's Kilt, Corner Bistro ilk. I don't like fast food burgers. Leave those for the in'n'out set of the west coast.

Anyway, I found the burger perfectly good, for what it was, which is another blend of cuts, fresh-ground, with high-quality toppings - the shake was good and so were the fries.  Not worth going out of the way for, but if you want to splurge a little on a classed-up fast food meal, go for it...

I haven't eaten at BLT burger yet, but have you guys tried Stand on 12th between university and 5th? I have had a couple really good burger and fries experiences there

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