10 February 2008

BLT Market

Ritz-Carlton Hotel
1430 Sixth Avenue
New York, NY 10019

The corner of Central Park South (59th Street) and Sixth Avenue (Avenue of the Americas) that has been the home of many international dining places is now home to an outstanding Regional American run by French owner/chef, Laurent Tourondel, his kitchen staff and his excellent restaurant management team. While we have not been fans of other BLT restaurants around Manhattan, we love BLT Market.

BLT Market is the latest and perhaps the best of the Manhattan artisanal and the locally grown farm produce restaurants featuring the best of the Hudson River Valley and Long Island agricultural purveyors. In fact we were seated next to a large table hosted by BLT Market’s meat purveyor who enjoyed celebrity status with the restaurant management and the executive chef. Yes, this is truly a restaurant that benefits from and takes advantage of the best of local food products, including mounting photos of the purveyors on the walls of the restaurant.

The restaurant’s style is definitely the best of the turn of the century; that is 1900. Plenty of natural wood, zinc buckets, canned vegetables, bottles of honey, fresh cut flowers and wired wound incandescent lamps. The house tap water is served in real milk bottles.

There are three dining areas, the prime room facing Central Park, the entrance room which has a bit of coffee shop feel and a more quiet room off to the right of the entrance. And being directly across the street from the Central Park horse carriages taxi stand, there can occasionally be a faint smell of the horses throughout the rooms, which adds to the country feelings.

We have had excellent service throughout our dining visits. The front desk has always honored our reservation and reservation request for a special table. Our frequent waiter, Sergio, is excellent. Wine service is very professional.

We received wonderful updated versions of pigs in a blanket as our chef’s tasting along with a wonderful fresh, hot garlic and pesto infused baguette. The menu is seasonal featuring produce and other ingredients available at the time. During a recent winter visits, salads were accompanied with winter seasonal produce such as beets and Brussels sprouts and winter seafood. All were outstanding. Our main courses of Amish chicken, Long Island Duck and Berkshire pork chop were very good, both a reflection of a slow cooking approach. A recent northern Halibut dinner was outstanding with a cauliflower puree. And while slow cooking has advocates, it our personal opinion that we prefer our pork chops and chickens roasted in a hot oven which produces crisper and more seared results.

We are not dessert fans so we have passed, but the desserts at adjoining tables looked old fashion and wonderful.

The wine list was comprehensive with an excellent collection of New York, American and European wines. The prices were on the high side, when compared to other comparable restaurants. We have selected the excellent Wolffer Estate Chardonnay, which was well balance with rich fruits and citrus, which complemented our seasonal dishes.

BLT Market – Highly Recommended

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