Monday, October 6, 2008
8720 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood CA, 90069
The blurb on the BLT website says the following:
"Executive Chef Laurent Tourondel brings BLT Steak to the West Coast in the famed Le Dome space on Sunset Boulevard just west of Sunset Plaza. The menu showcases raw bar selections, the chef's signature warm popovers, specially selected Certified Angus Beef, fresh seafood and blackboard specials. Steaks are dressed with a selection of sauces, ranging from Bearnaise to Horseradish, and paired with decadent sides such as Parmesan Gnocchi and oversized Onion Rings, all of which create an impeccable dining experience in Los Angeles."
BLT Steak stands for Bistro Laurent Tourondel, not the well known lunch dish. However, they do offer bacon as a side dish. Mmmm. Bacon.
Last week we swung by BLT Steak late night to share a nightcap and an appetizer. I was so impressed with the warm interior and the chicken pate that I made a bold move. I changed our early Saturday night reservations to eat at KaGaYa in Little Tokyo with J & L to late reservations at BLT. Bold and daring.
I love how warm the room is, warm yet very modern and sophisticated. The bar area is superbly comfy for eating or just drinking. And there is a small lounge/living room area just inside the patio doors. I could happily wait there for a table or enjoy appies lounging on one of the couches. The dining room is to the left as you walk in the door, it is elevated, but only slightly. It doesn't have a stagey feel at all. The entire room has a cohesiveness that makes one comfortable and relaxed. This is a place you can stay awhile. I did not like the downstairs bathrooms, high high super high heels make climbing up and downstairs not my favorite challenge after a couple of drinks.
An homage to the protein of the evening...
The first thing that comes to the table is the infamous and delicious chicken pate. To begin with they serve it with simple sourdough bread.
I love the presentation, pate in the canning jar with the rubber seal. I love the homeyness....
The texture of this is superb. It is very smooth and slightly fatty...and just a small schmear flavors the sourdough bread to perfection. To Hades with butter.
A little chicken fat goes a long way.
They must slip these beautiful popovers in the oven the second you sit down to the table. They come out piping hot, one per person. They are accompanied by the BLT popover recipe card, which I think is a thoughtful and inspired touch. The attention to detail and the feeling of being included in the dining experience makes me just love this restaurant.
A slightly sexier photo op. These popovers look so seductive in the flattering candlelight. Eat me.
Sea salt comes to the table in a large and heavy metal urn shaped shaker. The earthy and slightly old fashioned accessories on the table are incredibly appealing. I want to touch everything, and secretly take the jars, bottles and shakers home in my handbag.
The steak looks kind of vierd. I ordered filet mignon, and it looks like they wrapped it in a circular shape, tied it with string and cooked it trussed up. Served in piping hot cast iron.
When cut open, however, it looked and tasted like the perfect specimen of filet mignon. I find this to be cooked slightly more rare than the medium I ordered, which is exactly what I was banking on.
The flavor was immense, but natural. It didn't taste like it had been injected with butter or sugar or heroin or any of the other mysterious ingredients that one suspects Masto's and Ruth's Chris injects into their meat to make it taste to addictively wonderful. This was simply an excellent cut of meat, well cooked.
The french fries were very nice. Nothing fancy or dressed up about them. No garlic, parmesan or bleu cheese, no herbs or adornments or fanciness. Just good French fries.
I love asparagus. It is my favorite side dish at a steak house, and these were large and shaved along the bottom, grilled and served with a moderate sprinkling of chives.
What is up with mashed potatoes these days? Have we changed the culinary definition of the mashed potato? They seem less mashed these days than pureed within an inch of their starchy existence. They taste good, but sometimes I want some texture to my spuds. And this trend is so durn universal I am a little perplexed. I might have to make some mashed taters at home to satisfy my craving for the kind of potatoes Grandma Ruby used to make. Yes, my granny's name was Ruby, and she had a way with the vegetables.
The third side dish we ordered was the sweet creamed corn. It was delicious. Served piping hot in the ubiquitously adorable cast iron pans. I may or may not have a couple of these at home in my dish washer. Only the inside of my purse knows for sure.
I envied hugely the head of garlic and the bone marrow that accompanied L's rib eye.
Bone marrow makes me feel very Racquel Welch circa cavewoman era One Million Years B.C., 1966. WHY did my beautiful filet not come with bone marrow? I like bone marrow. Not fair.