I had an average-minus meal at L Tourondel's BLT Steak recently, following a very good first meal there. The aspects of the meal that compromised it:
-- We ordered the Kobe flat iron steak "medium rare, leaning towards rare". The steak was presented almost medium-well. When we asked that it be re-prepared, we were told there were no more Kobe steaks in the kitchen. We were comp'ed on this.
-- The peppercorn sauce we chose for the Kobe steak was not well-constructed. Not enough body in the sauce, which was not well-integrated with the whole green peppercorns (too stark relative to the sauce). This and the red wine sauce had been suggested as possibilities for the Kobe steak.
-- Slow service, despite our group's indication that we were in a slight rush that evening.
-- Too much white truffle oil in the mushroom soup with white truffle oil dish. Interestingly, white truffle sabayon is in the dish, and the soup is poured at the table on top of it, but falls underneath it shortly thereafter. Also, mushroom soup was not particularly interesting.
-- Arguably not too freshly deep-fried fries with the steak tartare, which itself was only average. Some of the fries tasted arguably limp and unappealing, although we were so hungry, given the dining hour, that I ate quite a few.
-- Too much sage in the daily special of pork belly with sage. This made the material on top of the pork belly, which had the sage, a bit overpowering for the pork belly. The belly itself was not among the better ones I've had even in NY.
We were comp'ed on dessert and our bottled water, due to the Kobe beef mishap. Favorable aspects of the meal: (1) continuing good service by the maitre d' level personnel and the person in charge of the wine, (2) friendliness on the part of the bar team (esp. Thomas, sp), (3) recognition by the dining room team of our Kobe situation and at least some attempt to address our dissatisfaction.
It was not helpful to the food, I am sure, that Tourondel was out in the dining room schmoozing 75% of the time we were taking in this meal.
However, I remain somewhat optimistic about this restaurant. If Tourondel concentrates more on cooking, he could still turn out very good cuisine :)
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