Chef Laurent Tourondel To Open Chicago Restaurant
This Fall, Chicago will be introduced to BLT American Brasserie, a new restaurant concept from acclaimed Chef Laurent Tourondel. The restaurant will be his first in Chicago, located at 500 West Superior Street in the River North neighborhood. BLT American Brasserie will offer simply and skillfully-prepared food in a casual, brasserie setting. Whether meeting for drinks and appetizers with friends or a multi-course, date night dinner, BLT American Brasserie will truly have something for every guest, every palate and every price point.
Tourondel, named Bon Appetit’s Restaurateur of the Year 2007, has created a modern day grill that combines his personal global influences with his commitment to utilizing the best ingredients. BLT American Brasserie’s menu will begin with “Salads and Starters” including Asian Calamari Salad, Tiger Shrimp Avocado & Crab Salad, Wood Oven-Baked Figs with Pancetta & Gorgonzola ($9-15), followed by “Burgers and Sandwiches” where Tourondel transforms classics into culinary treasures, from Pilsner Battered Fish & Chips Sandwich and Organic Turkey Burger to his BLT Sandwich “Deluxe” and Fairbault’s Blue Cheese Burger. A wide variety of “Grill and Rotisserie” dishes will include Brick Chicken Diablo, Steak Diane, 22-ounce Bone-In Ribeye, Barbeque Baby Back Ribs and Grilled Mediterranean Branzino ($15-36). BLT American Brasserie will have a state-of-the-art brick oven”Pizzetta” station that serves as the creative center stage for nine different, 10-inch sizzling pizzas, such as Clams Vongole topped with smoked pancetta and rapini and Spinach Sunny-Side Up with fontina and tellaggio ($11-14). An exquisite sushi selection will offer nine rolls, including coconut shrimp tempura, peekytoe crab and tuna tataki. The raw bar section of the menu will feature a selection of oysters, little neck clams, ceviche, Florida stone crab claws among others. Decadent desserts, including banana-steamed pudding, passion fruit crepe souffle and warm, flourless chocolate-spiced cake will provide the perfect finish. In addition to the nightly dinner menu, weekend brunch will be served Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Upon entering BLT American Brasserie, guests will arrive in the lounge area, filled with low-rise tables, upholstered chairs and couches for 80. This setting is suitable for sipping red, white or bubbly from the 100-bottle wine list (30 poured by the glass) that features domestic and international varietals, with most bottles priced between $40-50. The custom cocktail menu, which will change seasonally, is inspired by Chef Tourondel’s cookbook, Fresh from the Market: Seasonal Cooking with Laurent Tourondel. Signature drinks from the opening menu include the Habanero Margarita (Patron Silver, Monin Habanero Lime), Red Apple & Bourbon Fizz (Maker’s Mark, Apple & Lemon Juice, Ginger Ale), Pumpkin Patch (Coole Swan Irish Cream, Absolut Vanilia, Pumpkin Syrup), Concord Spritzer (Svedka Grape Vodka, Concord Grape Juice, Club Soda), Cranberry-Mint Martini (Absolut Vodka, Cranberry Juice, Fresh Mint) and the BLT Negroni (Square One Botanical, Aperol, Bianco Vermouth). A seasonal selection of local, craft beer will be available on draft and bottled beer will also be offered.
The main dining room will seat 140 guests at intimate tables and leather banquettes set among low-hung, industrial pendant lights and deep-hued, soft draperies. The decor, designed by Jean Denoyer, pays homage to the great Art Deco designer, Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann through nickel plated fixtures, octagonal mirrors and faux makasar ebony detailing. Denoyer is considered one of the world’s foremost collectors of Ruhlmann designs.
Outdoor dining for 140 will be offered in season on the front patio, located on Superior Street. BLT American Brasserie’s beautiful private dining room can accommodate 120 guests for a seated dinner or 200 for a cocktail reception and can be evenly split into two private rooms. The enormous back patio, located on Chicago Avenue, is available for alfresco private partiesup to 500 guests. Tent rental is available for outdoor events.
A native of France, Chef Laurent Tourondel parlayed his love of food at an early age into a four-year program at Saint Vincent Ecole de Cuisine in Montlucon, France, where he earned his “d’Aptitude Professionnelle de Cuisinier.” After graduation, he received his first post in the kitchen as Chef to the Admiral in the French Navy. This classic French training is still evident in his current style. Following this position, he worked at several restaurants in France and then traveled to London where he cooked at the famed gentleman’s club, Boodle’s. In the years that followed, he worked under such notable chefs as: Bruno Tison at Restaurant Beau Geste in Manhattan; Jacques Maximin at Restaurant Ledoyen in France; and Chef de Partie at Restaurant Mercury at the Hotel InterContinental in Moscow. Tourondel then worked at the three-star Michelin Relais & Chateau Troisgros, before taking a post as Executive Chef of C.T., ClaudeT roisgros’ debut restaurant in New York City. He served as Executive Chef at Palace Court Restaurant at the world famous Caesar’s Palace Hotel and Casino, followed by his return to New York City at Cello. When this restaurant closed, Tourondel saw a great opportunity to spend time traveling through South America, Asia and Africa, where he further developed his own cooking voice.
Tourondel returned to the States to open BLT Steak, BLT Fish, BLT Prime, BLT Burger, BLT Market, LT Burger in the Harbor and most recently, LT Burger and LT Signature in Panama. Currently, he is also the Executive Chef at Brasserie Ruhlmann in Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. In October 2007, Bon Appétit magazine named Tourondel Restaurateur of the Year. Tourondel has published three cookbooks, Go Fish: Fresh Ideas for American Seafood (J.Wiley & Sons, 2004), Bistro Laurent Tourondel: New American Bistro Cooking (J. Wiley & Sons, 2007), which earned him a 2008 James Beard Foundation Award nomination, and Fresh from the Market: Seasonal Cooking with Laurent Tourondel, (J. Wiley & Sons, 2010).
Hours of Operation:
Saturday Brunch: 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Saturday Dinner: 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.
Sunday Brunch: 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Sunday Dinner 5:30-10 p.m.
Lounge will have late-night hours
BLT American Brasserie
500 WestSuperior Street
BLTAmericanBrasserie.com site coming soon
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