At #6 in the current power rankings, BLT Steak holds the award for top-ranked steakhouse. Given that there are about 6,000 entries in that category, give or take a million, it is no small feat. So for a food critic from Broweird (dubbed as such by others, although fitting here) to hop on I-95 and dump on one of the more successful new restaurants in town (especially over on South Beach) is surprising. All the more so given that the James Beard Foundation recognized BLT Steak’s chef, Sam Gorenstein, as a semi-finalist in the “rising star” category this year.
Anyways, here is the review by John Tanasychuk of the Sun-Sentinel (hat tip: Feast). My thoughts, broken down by the categories that Tanasychuk uses, follow (and while we’re on the topic, what ever happened to a review that contains a series of successive paragraphs without bullet points or categories? Victoria Pesce Elliott is doing the same thing in the Herald/Miami.com. I’ll blame the editors for this move away from exposition and towards flash cards.):
First impression: Tanasychuk’s first observation is that something is wrong with the a/c. And since Tanasychuk is the HVAC critic for the Sun-Sentinel, it is only fitting to mention that point not once, not twice or even three times, but four times. What is that you say? He’s the food critic? Oh. Well, moving right along.
Ambience: It is hot. And the room feels like a “crowded bus station waiting room.” Maybe that is true on the bus route between Monaco and the Vatican but definitely doesn’t match up with the bus station waiting rooms I’m familiar with. And I should know, I was a hobo in a past life.
Background: A recap of the BLT empire that is no longer accurate since the business partners went their separate ways five months ago. I guess the heat is getting to him.
Starters: Tanasychuk begrudgingly praises the popovers, salads, and appetizers, except to gripe about the tuna tartare and the chargrilled octopus. You’re not going to believe this but Tanasychuk then makes a joke about the heat (“Perhaps the octopus had been overcooked before hitting the grill.” Get it? Before hitting the grill! Outrageous!).
Entrees, Sides: Nothing witty here, just a rundown of pros (ribeye, parmesan gnocchi, English peas) and cons (NY strip, filet, onion rings).
Sweets!: Another reference to the heat. Apparently the food critic for the largest (2d largest?) newspaper in South Florida is allowed to skip dessert. His readers are obviously more interested in thermostat-related news.
Service: And the service sucked! Tanasychuk writes that he and his guests “wanted to be pampered” but instead just sweated through their Pampers. And worst of all: “Our waitress on one visit thought we wanted to hear all about her personal troubles.” I can relate. I once read a restaurant review where all the critic did was gripe about the temperature.
The verdict: One star. Here’s hoping that it’s a Chinese star so Chef Gorenstein can grab it and throw it at this guy. This review is further evidence of my belief that I-95 should be a one-way street.