Note: BLT Burger closed in April 2014. Long before that, the chef Laurent Tourondel had severed his relationship with the restaurant and all of the other “BLTs”. As of May 2014 the space was a Mexican restaurant called Horchata.
The Bistro Laurent Tourondel empire keeps growing, and this week Tourondel added another offspring to the brood: BLT Burger. If first impressions are any guide, the new outpost will be just as successful as the first three (BLT Steak, BLT Fish, BLT Prime). An eGullet post mentioned that the place was packed on a weeknight just a day or two after it opened, but I had no trouble getting a table at 12:30 on a Sunday afternoon.
The restaurant doesn’t much resemble the other BLT’s, except for the chocolate brown upholstery on the banquettes. The prices certainly set it apart. Unlike the other BLT restaurants, BLT Burger could actually be called a bargain.
In addition to the “Classic Burger” ($7), there’s the “BLT” Burger (two patties, $11), a Kobe Burger ($16), Lamb Burger ($10), Turkey Burger ($7) or Veggie Burger ($7). All burgers come with tomato, onion, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayo. Cheese is an extra $0.50, other toppings (such as bacon, avocado, portobello mushroom, chilli) are $1.50. A “combo” of the classic burger with fries and a milkshake will set you back all of $13.
There’s a variety of sandwiches ($10–15), salads and appetizers ($9–14), sides ($2–5), and desserts ($3–6). The whole back page of the menu shows an impressive array of drinks, including nine kinds of milk shakes ($5), five kinds of floats ($5), four kinds of alcoholic milk shakes ($9), house cocktails ($11), twenty-seven kinds of beer ($3–10), and six wines by the glass ($6–9). Sodas are $2 or $2.50. Tap water (free) comes in a beautiful tall glass caraffe.
I had the classic burger with cheddar cheese ($7.50). The burger was enjoyable, but nothing special. I would have preferred a thicker patty. The “BLT” Burger, with two patties, is always an option, but I thought that would be too much of a good thing. Onion rings ($4) were delicious. I especially admired the lightness of the batter. A strawberry-banana milkshake ($5) was plenty of fun. Service was friendly and efficient.
You have to wonder if Laurent Tourondel can keep up the quality as his empire grows. Ominously, BLT Fish was stripped of its Michelin star, and I must admit my last visit to that restaurant wasn’t stellar. At least two more BLTs are on the way: BLT Market in the former Atelier space, and BLT D.C. But for now, Tourondel is happy to go downmarket, and at these prices BLT Burger is sure to be a hit.
BLT Burger (470 Sixth Avenue between 11th & 12th Streets, Greenwich Village)