“You could run 95% food costs it doesn’t mean you’re going to have a good meal…I think too many people associate high food costs with high quality experiences.”
Blanca’s Carlo Mirarchi drops some TRUTH on The Price Hike
about why you shouldn’t necessarily trust chefs who boast about running higher than average food costs, which usually hover around 30%.
Blanca, which serves a 25-plus-course tasting menu in a converted garage in Bushwick, will start taking online reservations tomorrow, Chef Carlo Mirarchi tells me via text message. Bookings will be available 30 days in advance at 11am, starting tomorrow. Previously, prospective diners had to call on the first of the month and battle a barrage of busy signals (there was only one phone line).
This is most definitely a STRONG BUY and a GOOD DEAL, as the telephone reservations system was my only real criticism of the restaurant in my four star review for Bloomberg News. “Hopefully this won’t be as much of a nightmare as the phones,” Mirarchi added in his text.
Shout out to Eater’s Greg Morabito and The Pink Pig for first spotting the Blanca SeatMe page about a month ago. That reservations page, which was pulled after the Eater report, is back up now.
I photograph Carlo Mirarchi grating zest over his nduja raviolo at Blanca in Brooklyn. The spicy, porky course is a study in luxury via perfection and portion control; you only get one bite, baby. If the fancy, French-y black truffle explosion at Chicago’s Alinea (also one bite) had a humble Italian analogue, it would be this. Those who wish to make reservations for the $180 tasting can do so on Tuesday, 2 January 2013, starting at 9:00am, by calling 646.703.2715.
Just a friendly BAD DEAL reminder that Blanca in Bushwick will be taking reservations for the month of January tomorrow morning. We reblog the above shot from our original photo tumblr, “Ryan Sutton is 3.0.” We hope you follow, despite the moderately obnoxious name!
So there’s this restaurant in Brooklyn called Blanca. I awarded it four stars in my Bloomberg News column today. Naturally, there are some things I like about the joint. The reservations system is not one of them.
Here’s how it works: You call up on the first of the month at 9am. And instead of getting put on hold, you get a voicemail or a busy signal. There’s a very simple reason for this: There’s only one phone line. Yep.
So instead of booking up by 9:20am, Blanca usually books up by 2-3pm, Chef Carlo Mirarchi tells me. The upside is you get more chances to win the lottery. The downside is you have way too much time to win the lottery. I prefer the electronic systems of Momofuku Ko, Alinea, Next and elsewhere, where you know immediately whether you’re in or whether you’re out.
Is Blanca still a four star restaurant? Yes, it is. That’s not just because “no restaurant is perfect,” an aphorism we’re already familiar with. It’s that each of New York’s best restaurants has its own individual irritations.
I’ve often deemed the single meat dish at the end of Brooklyn Fare to be a bit of a letdown. The flavors at Le Bernardin, while pristine, can be maddeningly subtle. Per Se and Masa are just stratospherically expensive. Of course, Eleven Madison Park…well, we’ll talk about that later. And I’ve always found something passively oppressive about all the petits fours that magically appear at the end of long tasting menus (even though they’re meant to provide diners with an individual level of satiation).
So ten bones buys a raffle ticket that could win you dinner for two at Blanca, which runs nearly $600 after wine pairings, tax and tip. And the proceeds from the raffle go towards the Rockaway relief effort. Yeah, we’re in.
CLICK TO BUY RAFFLE TICKETS. THESE PRIZES ARE AMAZING!
Pete Wells of The New York Times had a pretty great time eating at Blanca, the $180 tasting menu-only restaurant in Bushwick. But he had some difficulties with the reservations process. He writes:
- “I secured one reservation simply by phoning on the first day of the month, when Blanca opens and then closes its reservation book for the coming weeks. That tactic never worked again. On Oct. 1, I placed nearly 40 calls to the restaurant. They all bounced straight to voice mail, giving me some time to wonder whether there is any point in writing about a 12-seat restaurant that serves 60 people a week. If I have trouble getting in the door three times to do my job, how many readers will manage it even once?”
I had similar issues with Blanca reservations as well, though I’ll discuss that further when I file my Bloomberg News review sometime before Christmas.
In the meantime, allow me to make a suggestion: Tiny spots like Blanca and Brooklyn Fare should switch to electronic-only reservations. It worked for Momofuku Ko, Alinea, Next, Seiobo, Shoto, The NoMad Rooftop, and other pricey restaurants with limited space. With online bookings, there’s never any busy signal, never any straight-to-voicemail. With online resies, you get an immediate answer. It takes three minutes out of your day, instead of three hundred redials over an hour.