Wine Dine and Play: March 2017

Laurent Tourondel / BLT Steak



















French Bistro In An American Steakhouse
Atlanta, Georgia, United States
New York, NY, USA
Cuisine Style: American, French, Steakhouse
Average Price: $$$$
Overall Rating: 5/5
Dined in: November 2009
By Sean Overpeck (CFE)
**A full article and index glossary of restaurants, wines, recipes and travel for 
Wine Dine and Play are in the pages section above, or by following these links:




BLT Steak Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 



Executive Chef:
Laurent Tourondel 













French Chef Laurent Tourondel of BLT Steak began his carrier at the Saint Vincent Ecole de Cuisine in Montluçon, France, where he graduated with a “d'Aptitude Professionnelle de Cuisinier.” He was a chef to an Admiral in the French Army, worked at the famed Gentleman's Club, Boodles in London, and as Executive Chef at celebrity caterers Tentations, Potel & Chabot, and as Pastry Chef of Restaurant Beau Geste in New York. His travels later continued onward to Moscow, back to France and then finishing back in New York, where in 2004, Chef Tourondel opened the first in a series of modern bistros, BLT Steak, BLT Fish, and BLT Prime. In 2007 The BLT Steak in Atlanta opened and this review is based on that location but encompasses the signature brand of all locations.

New York Strip picture courtesy of BLT Steak

Americanized French cooking is the best way to describe the concept of BLT and its other restaurant brands from Prime, Fish, Grille, Market, and Burger. The BLT Steak brand is franchised in fourteen cities around the world from Aruba, Charlotte, Ginza and Roppongi both districts of Chūō, in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, New York, San Juan, Seoul, Waikiki, Washington DC, and White Plains. The Atlanta location of BLT Steakhouse opened towards the end of 2007 in Atlanta at the W Hotel and received the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence for 2015. As a disclaimer in writing this review, I used to work here at BLT as part of there opening crew, and will write this review fairly from a customers perspective while having the knowledge of the inner workings of the restaurant. I worked with the group for half a year before accepting a job with KBR in Afghanistan as a food service contractor at Bagram Airfield.  Sadly the BLT in Atlanta permanently closed on December 31, 2016, and the W Hotel reopened the space as The W Kitchen on January 1, 2017.

BLT is part of ESquared Hospitality restaurant group, the BLT Steak restaurant chain offers a variety of cuts of USDA prime, certified black Angus, American Wagyu and Japanese Kobe beef, each naturally aged for maximum tenderness, served with an herb butter in a cast-iron pan. In addition to seasonal blackboard specials, the menu also offers fresh fish including sautéed Dover sole and tuna tartare with avocado and soy-lime dressing. Before the closing of the Atlanta location in 2016, Chef Laurent Tourondel split from the BLT franchise in 2010 to open restaurants of his own. After a court battle, he won back the rights to the “BLT” restaurant moniker after a legal battle with his former business partner and BLT co-founder Jimmy Haber.

Tuna tartare with avocado

 BLT Steak integrates traditional elements of the French bistro with an American steakhouse and combines its signature rich warmth and texture with the sophistication in any city on the map. The Atlanta location featured a private dining room that accommodates up to 18 guests and a unique world wine list which included wines from Screaming Eagle, their sister winery Jonata, and Domaine de la Romanée-Conti.

Screaming Eagle wines at $3,000 USD per bottle

When you visit the other BLT locations you will receive excellent service from a Captain and co-waiter, expert Sommelier, and a great kitchen staff. Unfortunately, and you're seeing it more and more these days, the service staff has to tip-pool, in other words, if they serve a table and make $40, and another server waits for a table and makes a $150 tip, both servers, and all other servers have to split all tips equally, even if one or more servers worked harder than the others and had more tables. In other words, its redistribution of wealth based on class not on work ethic, or Socialism in restaurants. No matter how hard you work or what you sell, everyone makes the same amount. When I worked in the front of the house, it was the one thing that disgusted me the most, and several other servers felt the same, but a job is a job, especially since in 2007-2008 the Great Recession had just started, and people needed every penny. One example was a party of fifteen people that a fellow server and I worked on together with the Atlanta Falcons Football team. The gratuity was $800.00, which normally the two of us would have split. We both worked very hard to earn that money. But once we pulled it with the other servers, we walked with $75.00 that evening.  

As you place your order, the first item that arrives is complementary popover bread with gruyere cheese melted on top. This popover is the American version of a Yorkshire pudding common with the English Sunday dinner menu. Each order came with a little recipe tag for customers to take home and make themselves. From there, everything else on the menu is à la carte from starters, entrees consisting mainly of steaks, sauces, and wonderful sides like the onion rings and bacon Brussel Sprouts are a must have.

Popovers picture courtesy of BLT Steak

Dessert:
The dessert menu changes every so often but some of my personal favorites included the œufs à la Neige floating island or the crêpe soufflé with passion fruit sauce.

Please see these guidelines for Tipping in Restaurants and on following proper etiquette, customs, cultures, and avoiding assumptions when you dine out.


Other Noteworthy Bistro Articles & Restaurants:
Bistro at Biltmore Classy farm to table eatery in Asheville, North Carolina 
Bistrot La Minette Charming French Bistro with movie filmed terrace in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Carolina’s Southern Bistro with Seafood, in Charleston, South Carolina
Cook'n' With Gas Bistro High end bistro with modern New Zealand cuisine in Christchurch, New Zealand
Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro - Laid-back dockside spot for global eats in St. Petersburg, Florida
Josty Bistro Eatery serving German regional cuisine at the Potsdamer Platz Sony Center in Berlin, Germany
Le Grand Chancelier Countryside French Bistro in Cheverny, Loire Valley, France
Level 11 -Rooftop Artisan Fusion Bistro at the Grand Plaza Hotel, in St. Pete Beach, Florida
Lobby at Twelve Boutique hotel bistro, New American, and Southern favorites at Atlantic Station, Atlanta
Prato Rustic Italian bistro with modern takes on classic dishes in Winter Park, Florida 
Restaurant Le Gabriel Haute Gastronomique French restaurant & bistro in Bordeaux, France
Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B) Bistro w/Southern & Lowcountry cuisine in Charleston, S. Carolina
Spinners Rooftop Revolving Bistro Buzzy seafood spot & 360-degree views in St. Pete Beach, Florida
Terroir Seasonal South African cuisine bistro in Stellenbosch, South Africa
The Brasserie at the Café de Paris A Parisian style bistro rendez-vous in Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Tirquaz Bistro and Garden Lounge  W. Asian, N. African, & European dishes in Bur Dubai, UAE
Zinc Bistro and Bar Southwestern-inspired New American fare in San Antonio, Texas


See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary


Other Atlanta restaurants and articles on Wine Dine and Play:

Hip burger chain with space-age decor 
Midtown, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Sci-Fi Convention Event at the Hyatt, Downtown Atlanta
Seasonally inspired continental European fare
Downtown Atlanta and Airport


A Few Georgia Favorites:

Modern and contemporary American cuisine 
Peachtree Corners, Georgia, USA
A Southern 24/7 breakfast chain
Norcross, Georgia, USA 
Eclectic tavern for Surf 'n' Turf  in Griffin, Georgia, USA


See the whole list by visiting “The Wine Dine and Play Article Glossary by country




Final notes, review basics, observations and more pictures:

Most reviews are subjective, depending on the writer; but they should also be responsible, and respectfully written, upholding the truth, and accurately conveying the experience to the best of the writer's knowledge, even if it includes metaphors the restaurant may not like to read about. My ratings are by the stars I award (from 0 to 5). The rating is calculated on a point accumulation of six separate factors based on individual experience. They include wine and other beverage selections, plate presentation, customer service, restaurant or café ambiance, food quality, and wow factor. To see more details of this rating list, read this article:

Overall from this experience, and the score factors outlined in the ‘about page’ section, based on my individual experience and rating, I give Laurent a 5 out of 5 stars, meaning that they not only exceeded my expectations and were far above the average dining experience of most restaurants, but they surpassed outstanding and were extraordinary.
Scores are detailed in the factor chart below:

Formula Factor Conclusions and Overall Ratings
Max Points Possible:
Total Points Awarded:
Total Points deducted:
Ambiance
10
10
0
Food quality
10
8
2
Plate presentation
10
9
1
Customer service
9.5
8.5
1
Alcohol and other beverages
10
9
1
Total regular points awarded
49.5
44.5
5
Total percentage — less the Bonus

0.898989898989899

“Wow” factor BONUS
5
3
0
Total bonus percentage

0.0606060606060606

Total percentage and bonus for a final star rating

0.95959595959596

Stars Awarded (see chart below)
             0 - 5
5

**A full break down and explanation of the observations and point disbursement is available in the linked article above. To receive a detailed copy of your score, feel free to contact me at any time and I will provide it to you.**


***

Overall Star Rating:
5 of 5 Stars: 
95% Rating with a 2 point “wow” bonus
An Extraordinary Dining Experience
Corkage fee’s:
This Restaurant does not list any corkage fee’s however, most American restaurants charge 
$25.00 per bottle
Restaurant style:
Conservative dining
Cuisine Style:
American, French, Steakhouse
Allergen or dietary accommodations: 
Farm to Fork, Gluten Free, Grass Fed, Pescatarian, Vegetarian Options
Reservations:
Not Required, But Recommended
Walk-Ins:
Accepted, but not guaranteed
Dress code:
Conservative attire
Child policy:


The Restaurants reviewed on this site may have a kids menu or cater to them; however, for full enjoyment of food and wine, it is recommended that kids not to be in attendance, unless they have been trained in proper etiquette. 
If not then:
Hire a Babysitter! 
Experiences:
Place for foodies, Modern, Hotspot, Great bar, Great brunch, Upscale, and a Neighborhood Gem.
Payments:
Cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express
Parking:
Valet, or Street meter parking
Wifi
The restaurants reviewed on this site may have Wi-Fi, but do not require you to go online, because the excitement of the food and wine alone will keep you too entertained instead of checking your social media and emails.
Noise level:
Medium to Loud
Smoking:
Nonsmoking restaurant
Patio or terrace:
No




Food Prices 
(excludes, alcohol, taxes & 20% gratuity’s)

$£€¥ -                Under 50.00 (inexpensive)
$£€¥ x 2 -          51.00- 99.00 (moderate)
$£€¥ x 3 -          Over 100.00 (pricey)
$£€¥ x 4 -          Over 200.00 (expensive)
$£€¥ x 5 -          Over 400.00 (very expensive)


**Currencies reflect the world’s major travelers, restaurant, or wine connoisseur’s**

Currency:
Price
United States Dollar (USD)
$$$$
Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP)
££££
Canadian Dollar (CAN)
$$$$$
Chinese Yuan (CNY)  
¥¥¥¥¥
European Union (EUR)
€€€€




Laurent Tourondel:
Now the W Restaurant
45 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard
Atlanta, Georgia 
30308

Map location is for the Miami Restaurant of Chef Laurent


Contact Information: 
Restaurant website:
Maître d or host:
+1 404 577 7601
Online reservations
Email Contact:
Serving hours:
Eastern Standard Time
(GMT, Zulu, or UTC - 5:00)
Lunch: Mon-Sun
11:30 am - 2:30 pm
Dinner: Mon-Sun
5:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Social Media 
Accolades:
Facebook link                





****
The worlds best restaurants is a subjective list of who is writing it and changes on a regular basis. The Wine Dine and Play best experiences are based on my highest rated stared restaurants, meaning that the visit was an outstanding or extraordinary experience. From cafés, chains, mom + pops, hole in the walls, to fine dining including a few Michelin spots. Visit the Top 100 page to see the entire list.

A few to tease you with…

Farm-to-fork new American fare
Sonoma, California, USA

Country style market & café w/craft beer
Dundee, Oregon, USA
Refined eatery with Lowcountry fare and Southern Brunch
Charleston, South Carolina, USA




Other Pictures:

Picture courtesy of BLT Steak
Picture courtesy of BLT Steak
Picture courtesy of BLT Steak




“Culinary perfection consists not in doing extraordinary things, 
But in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.”

-Angelique Arnauld (1591-1661)

Who is John Galt?


TTFN


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