Laurent Tourondel’s BLT American Brasserie Opens Tonight

BLT American Brasserie, a new restaurant concept from acclaimed Chef Laurent Tourondel, is now open at 500 West Superior Street in the River North neighborhood. Whether meeting for drinks and appetizers with friends, a date night dinner or a leisurely weekend brunch, BLT American Brasserie truly has 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 brasserie, offering simply and skillfully-prepared food that utilizes the best ingredients. The approachable menu offers a wide variety of salads, sandwiches, sushi rolls, raw bar items, pizzettas, grilled dishes and decadent desserts. “Salads and Starters” include Asian calamari salad, rock shrimp & avocado salad, big eye tuna tartare and grilled chicken salad cobb-style ($8-$16), followed by “Burgers and Sandwiches” such as WI Capital Lager-battered fish & chips, heritage turkey burger, BLT sandwich “deluxe” and butcher burger ($13-$16). A wide variety of dishes “From The Grill” include brick chicken diablo, 22-ounce bone-in ribeye, barbeque baby back ribs, steak frites a “l’echalotte” and grilled Mediterranean branzino ($21-$37). Eight different 10-inch “pizzettas” will be served sizzling from the state-of-the-art brick oven, like spinach sunny-side up with nutmeg and fontina, and mortadella and mustard with roma tomatoes and emmentaler ($11-$13). An exquisite sushi selection offers eight rolls, including coconut-macadamia shrimp, peekytoe crab and tuna tataki ($11-$16). The raw bar section of the menu features oysters, little neck clams, ceviche and stone crab claws, among others. Decadent desserts, including banana-steamed pudding, passion fruit crepe souffle and warm, flourless chocolate-spiced cake provide the perfect finish ($10).

In addition to nightly dinner and lounge service, BLT American Brasserie offers weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Brunch items include “Eggs and Entrees” (eggs piperade with chorizo; steak n’eggs n’mushrooms; egg frittata with turkey maple sausage and smoked gouda; baked eggs, spinach and mushroom gratin; Challah French toast with gingerbread spices; bagel and lox $16-$24), “From the Grill” (jumbo lump crab cakes; organic salmon in apple broth; tuna a la plancha; butcher burger $16-$28) and “Breakfast” (fruit salad; Greek yogurt; steel cut Irish oatmeal; homemade granola; bread basket with croissant, pain au chocolat, cranberry-orange scone, banana-walnut muffin and more $5-$12). The weekend brunch menu also offers salads and starters, raw bar, pizzetta and sushi selections. BLT American Brasserie will serve three bloody marys: BBQ, balsamic and BLT, complete with gourmet garnishes. At both dinner and brunch service, Chef Tourondel’s famous comte and black pepper popovers are served complimentary to each dining guest.

Chef Laurent Tourondel has appointed Aksel Theilkuhl as Chef de Cuisine of BLT American Brasserie to execute and oversee his distinct vision. Chef Theilkuhl, a culinary school graduate of Johnson & Wales, most recently served as Chef de Cuisine for the Stephen Starr Restaurant Group in Philadelphia. Prior to that, Theilkuhl and Tourondel worked together for several years, including BLT Market at the Ritz Carlton Central Park and BLT Steak at the Ritz Carlton located in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Red, white and bubbly varietals are found on BLT American Brasserie’s hand-selected wine list. Featuring domestic and international pours, over 30 wines are available by the glass and most of the bottles (listed by country) are priced between $50-$60. 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 Jalapeno Margarita (Tanteo tequila, yuzu juice), Red Apple & Bourbon Fizz (Maker’s Mark, apple and lemon Juice, ginger ale), Pumpkin Patch (Bailey’s, Absolut Vanilia, pumpkin syrup), Cranberry Mojito (Ten Cane rum, cinnamon, cranberry, mint), Caipiroska (Absolut Citron, cucumber, lime, cane sugar, tonic) and the BLTNegroni (Square One Botanical, Aperol, Bianco Vermouth). A seasonal selection of Midwest craft beer is available on draft (Flossmore Station Master Wheat, Indiana’s Barley Island Bar Fly, Michigan’s Founders Porter, Wisconsin’s Capital Brewery Supper Club Lager, Ohio’s Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale) and bottled beer is also offered (Dogfish Head, Three Floyds, Chimay, Goose Island, Stiegle, Summit).

MENUS may be found at www.bltamericanbrasserie.com/restaurants/chicago/menus 

BLT American Brasserie has been designed by Jordan Mozer and Associates, Limited. Designers Jordan Mozer, Karen Lilly Mozer and Jeff Carloss have created a restaurant environment that reflects European elements of the 1920s. Upon entering the brasserie, guests will arrive in the lounge area, filled with low, smoky glass top tables, chocolate leather club chairs and red Chinese mohair ottomans. The lounge is sectioned-off with half-walls that are papered in hand-painted, watercolor murals transferred to canvas. The nearby bar area, located directly under the grand, metallic mural, offers custom-made, almond colored barstools and banquettes that surround the large, dark granite bar. The main dining room seats guests at intimate tables and leather banquettes set among pendant lights, soft draperies in rich hues, nickel-plated fixtures, octagonal mirrors and faux makasar ebony detailing. The circumference of the main dining room is adorned with a 200 lineal foot oil painting that has also been transferred to canvas paper.

Seasonal outdoor dining will be offered on the front patio, located on Superior Street. BLT American Brasserie’s interior 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 ChicagoAvenue, will be available for alfresco private parties for up to 500 guests (tent rental is available).

LAURENT TOURONDEL

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., Claude Troisgros’ 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

Dinner
Sunday-Wednesday: 5:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday: 5:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Brunch
Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Bar & Lounge
Sunday-Wednesday: 5:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Thursday-Saturday: 5:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.

BLT American Brasserie
500 West Superior Street
Chicago, IL 60654
312-948-8744
BLTAmericanBrasserie.com
Twitter @BLTABChicago
Facebook BLT American Brasserie

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Filed under Bar, Beer, Restaurant, Spirits, Wine

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