Amazing Birthday Chef’s Tasting Dinner at Blanca (Brooklyn, NY; 2* Michelin)
Blanca is the 12-seat, ambitious, 2* Michelin sister restaurant of Roberta’s in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (Roberta’s is more known for its pizza but I digress.) I was elated when I managed to get book a seating with one of my closest friends to share this exciting, experimental meal on the weekend of my birthday since I’ve read over the past almost 3 years, how serious but interesting the food is.
When it comes to any Michelin-starred restaurant, the price comes with that status — $195 per person, not including tax, gratuity and additional beverages. You are subjected to a strict seating time policy since they start serving within a minute or two from the reservation time since the restaurants does two seatings a night. Is all of this hassle worth it? I think so. The food was interestingly daring and delicious. Sure, there were a few dishes that make me think if it works but I still enjoyed it.
Many diners and professional food critics have mentioned about the marathon of 20+ courses in recent past but the kitchen churned out 16 courses the evening we dined there. It’s sufficient enough to make you full but not make me feel like I had Thanksgiving feast. All of these dishes were about one to three bites large.
We were welcomed with the restaurant’s exclusive collaboration beer with Evil Twin Brewing – Biere Blanca. It’s a Berliner Weisse beer that is light, almost pale ale-like in color but it certainly has notes of lightly toasted grains and it has a sweet doughy note and then a sweet lemon finish. Body is a bit syrupy with a sweet semi dry finish.
This cranberry bean, autumn olive soup topped with cranberry salt was a gorgeous, light soup that had a wonderful body. The soup wasn’t briny or have a heady bean flavor like a kidney bean that it’s so enjoyable.
The grated frozen foie gras topped with apples was a light take on the fatty foie gras. The autumn inspired dish was delicious and delicately sweet and tart from the crisp cubes of apple.
The roast kabocha, macadamia nut curd with matsutake broth was incredible. It’s a vegetarian dish that resonates in my mind. The sweet squash with the creamy, nutty macadamia curd created smooth, creamy textures. The earthy matsutake broth was so clean and wonderful with all of these elements.
These two pastas were unique for its liquid (literally) fillings. The plankton agnolotti were incredible (but I’ve overheard a few neighbors disagreeing since it’s not for everyone). It’s filled with inky-green liquid made from melted taleggio and phytoplankton that echoed the flavors of the ocean but managed to not be overtly salty. The ‘nduja raviolo was a indulgent burst of creamy, spicy liquid encased in perfectly made pasta.
The cheese curd, beef lardo was a beautiful and delicious dish. Gentle salinity from the fresh cheese curd and the silkiness from both the cheese and thinly sliced beef lardo were great.
When bread service rolled in, it’s essentially Roberta’s pizza dough, brushed in olive oil and baked as a loaf in their wood fired ovens. It sounds simple but I never anticipated for a simple dough that’s blistered and pocks of dark caramelization be so flavorful and addictive to eat. It didn’t even need that fancy, gently tart housemade butter blended with a touch of yogurt.
The duck with Asian pear and beet mole was generally a good dish but that beet mole tasted more like a smoky, slightly sweet ketchup than the deep, complex flavors of a true mole. The slice of duck was succulent and the Asian pear wonderfully worked together.
The palate cleanser of paw paw ice cream and wheatgrass juice was interesting. The tropical flavors of mango-banana-citrus with the yeasty note at the end made it so peculiar but tasty. The wheatgrass juice added a subtle bright, grassy note that worked together. It’s definitely not dessert sweet at all or salty either.
The other protein – a slice of wonderfully fatty, aged beef with a spoon of creamy, earthy celery root and teaspoonful of vincotto isn’t too substantial but it blows my mind how intense that beef is (though I won’t mind having another few more ounces). The vincotto was wonderfully dark and sweet-tart to cut through the big flavors of the beef.
The savory desserts by pastry chef Samantha Short were very tasty. The sourdough ice cream with yuzu foam was just sweet enough to be considered as dessert and the light, creaminess of that dessert was amazing. The frozen goat cheese mousse with celery granita was a great ending to this meal. The sweet-salty flavors of the goat cheese worked with the herbaceous, refreshing celery granita.
I really enjoyed the nicely brewed pur’eh tea after desserts were done. The mellow, smooth sweet flavors of the aged, fermented black tea leaves.
While sipping our tea, the staff presented us my birthday dessert of brownie crisps topped with creamy peanut butter. The nice touch was the handwritten birthday greeting with a fresh pressed flower (the small things that make me happy).
After the check was paid, we had a parting gift of housemade granola and the evening’s menu.
To view more photos of this meal, please view the photo set or the gallery below:
261 Moore Street
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Phone: (347) 799-2807