- scene: Communal table that faces the open kitchen in a modern setting; A sense of foodie adventure and bonding all around
- sip: The paired beverages
- savor: The whole menu
- sit: With someone who will appreciate the coolness of the whole experience; only groups of up to 6 are allowed, there are only 20 seats in total
- spend: $$$$
- address: 261 Moore Street (Between White and Bogrart)
- phone number: (646) 703-2715
- website: www.blancanyc.com
Fashion trends can be painstakingly obvious- ask anyone who currently has pink tips on the end of their hair where they once had feathers sewn in, or anyone who has used “color-blocking” in casual conversation. Food, like fashion, also has a cyclical pattern of trends- some things can be hot for a minute (fondue, heel-less shoes), considered a classic (a great burger, a Chanel jacket), an ironic throwback (fondue again, trucker hats) or an outlier (molecular gastronomy, Marc Jacobs in a dress ). In the microcosm of the NYC dining scene, much like the fashion scene, we are subject to our own trends, and considered to be on the cusp of everything . The arrival of Blanca is something that surpasses the ephemeral connotations of the word “trend”; it is a true game-changer, a paradigm shifter. Quite simply, it is a mind-blower, a show-stopper, stomping down the runway to a standing ovation.
The quality and inventiveness of the food at Blanca evokes the top tier of NYC dining, but the lack of pretense and over the top luxuries represents a new form of high end dining. The only places that come to mind that are similiar to Blanca’s open kitchen, more casual tasting menu format are Momofuku Ko and Degustation. Degustation, however, has a set menu, and Momofuku Ko is such a pain to get into that it dampens the excitement. Also, at those restaurants, although the seating is communal around a counter, there are staggered reservation times, so that people can be next to each other and on different stages of the meal. At Blanca, everyone is on the crazy ride together; sampling the same fare at the same time, like being on Space Mountain in the same car. Blanca is refreshing in its contradictions; it is extremely expensive, but it is in Bushwick; service is flawless, and the servers are all extremely knowledgable, but there are no uniforms and they all have tattoos; you can only eat dinner at the uncool time of 6pm, but you still get home late for a school night.
Just for some background, Blanca is the twenty or so course tasting menu that was born out of Roberta’s pizza. Currently it has its own space, in a high-ceilinged, light wood room, where you sit at a counter and face the very modern kitchen. (The chairs have high backs and are really comfy for counter seats). Everything moves at just the right pace for a meal of this length, and when you order the alcohol pairing, the portions are healthy and refills are allowed. I highly recommend the pairing- it is worth every dollar, and I was truly impressed by some of the inventive pairings- sake, cider, and even wine, that truly complemented and enhanced the dishes. If you are anything like us, you will leave hammered, and you will leave full. In full disclosure, the end of the night got a little blurry until I saw the pictures; one thing that I did not get a picture of was the bread and butter, which was served almost like a course, and was beyond indulgent. The only thing that struck me as weird was that of 23 courses, including 3 dessert courses, there was not one morsel of chocolate to be found. The fruit desserts were all refreshing and composed, but sometimes a little chocolate really ends the meal right.
Also- a note about reservations- we had been on a wait list through the old system forever, and got offered reservations randomly that we were unable to take. Once they began taking reservations by phone on August 1st, we called and were able to secure our first pick of days. Everyone was friendly throughout the whole process, even accommodating our guest count change via email. I am not sure if we were so lucky because dining there is price prohibitive or because it was August in NYC, but don’t be scared to call on the first day that new reservations are accepted.
So, consider this your front row ticket to Blanca; like a fashion show, we figured the best way to show you what it’s all about is through pictures. The menu varies (seasons, availability), but if you haven’t heard the goat bolognese is true stand-out that seems to be consistently on the menu. Take your seats, the show is about to start…