If there is such thing as “Brooklyn fine dining,” I think no other restaurant epitomizes it more so than Blanca. First of all, it’s hidden inside Roberta’s, a perennial Brooklyn hipster institution known for its pizzas and crowds. Once I was led by the host to step into the dining room, I saw that nothing in the space that would suggest the kitchen is serving an ambitious (and expensive, with $195 per person tasting menu and optional $85 per person drink pairings) tasting menu of chef Carlo Mirarchi that is not really subject to any culinary boundaries. Calling the dining space “minimalistic,” with only one counter and open kitchen and barely any decorations, would be a huge understatement. All of the diners at the counter seating were young and stylishly dressed, and I can tell that they were more interested in the overall culinary experience than eating at somewhere fancy with white tablecloths and fully dressed staffs. And I actually like it that way these days. In lieu of more fancy settings and all the showmanship and formalities, I would much prefer a magical place that just shows everything in food. Blanca is exactly the type of place that fits the bill more or less perfectly. By no means was the tasting menu perfect as further noted below, but the versatility of flavor and texture that the kitchen displayed on my recent visit is enough to give this place another 9.0 KenScale blessing.
There is no dish that is predictable at Blanca, starting with successive bite-sized snacks such as glass shrimp with kohlrabi, ever-thin sheet of pancetta and the delicate squid with almond. It wasn’t until the apple with foie gras powder that I really started to notice the beauty of each dish. It was sensational in flavor without being overly rich from foie gras. Purple potato that followed came with macadamia nut, and was another dish that had excellent balance of flavor.
I had the highest expectations for mini-pasta dishes that the restaurant was well-known for, and to my surprise, they weren’t really the highlight of my night. Carbonara with lamb was delicious, especially with the juicy, tender texture of fine lamb meat on top of the carbonara, but the flavor could’ve been toned down to make it even more excellent. Agnolotti and nduja ravioli that followed were solid, but not enough to call them pioneers of pasta department.
Things started to get better with excellent king crab that I could dip on bottarga sauce; definitely an awesome leg that would make any diner satisfied. Then came my favorite dish of the night. Beef loin dish had impeccable texture that I will savor for a long time. I don’t even know how they came up with this texture! There was a ton of moist, juicy sensation without overpowering seasoning!
After cleansing my palate with grapefruit sorbet, I got to enjoy game pie dish consisting of different types of poultries, all of which displayed excellent texture while working harmoniously with each other in flavor as well. A lot of restaurants with tasting menus tend to decline in the level of impressiveness toward the main meal, but I was very glad that Blanca is able to gradually step things up until the climax at the main course stage.
The desserts were no push-overs either. I’ve never had a sourdough ice cream before, but the kitchen served one along with yuzu to create a unique flavor that made me smile. Sunchoke with cardamom combination and cashew and coconut combination of desserts were also delightful.
I typically don’t talk much about drinks when I review a restaurant, but I have to drop more than one sentence for drink pairings at Blanca. My suggestion: you’re already burning $195 for food; spend extra $85 to get the drink pairings as well. The pairings that I had consisted mostly of wines, but these are no ordinary wines. I didn’t even know that wine exists in the Canary Islands far off mainland Spain. Some of these wines had the most unique grapes, and if you’re looking for good wines based on the conventional taste, you might walk away disappointed. I initially wasn’t sold until I realized that these wines actually work wonders to further enhance your experience with food. I was very impressed with the careful and thoughtful process that the sommelier probably went through to make this work. Getting a reservation at Blanca will be a challenge; I had to settle for a late dinner on Friday. I would just check the website all the time to see if there are any openings. Blanca is a unique tasting experience that every New Yorker who is serious about food should explore at least once in his or her lifetime. I would definitely come back if given another opportunity.
- Creativity: 9.0/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 9.0/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 9.0/10
Address: 261 Moore Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Telephone: (347) 799-2807