I awarded Blanca in Bushwick four stars in my Bloomberg News column today, the highest rating permitted by my publication.
First thing’s first. Blanca is not for everyone. It’s a chef’s table restaurant along the lines of Brooklyn Fare, Atera, or Momofuku Ko. There’s no printed menu. There are no choices on the menu. There are no luxury supplements. Those who will arrive late will join a meal already in progress, which is just as well because you wouldn’t expect, say, Baryshnikov to redo a pirouette (or what have you) just because you were stuck in traffic on the way to the theater.
So it goes that Blanca, unlike Le Bernardin, Daniel or Jean Georges, with their hushed environments and myriad options, is proof that our most exalted fine dining spots don’t have to be amenable or accessible to all. The culinary arts, at their finest, can be just as uncompromising and wallet-taxing as the fine arts.
And wallet taxing Blanca is, which brings us to prices, the subject of our fine Price Hike Tumblr. Dinner is $180 per person, plus $85 for beverage pairings, which means your dinner date is just under $700. That’s the bad news. The good news it’s likely to stay that way. “We’re going to stay at $180 until we have a reason not to,” chef Carlo Mirarchi told me when I was fact checking my Blanca column.
I also asked Mirarchi about the possibility of going service included, in the vein of Alinea, Next, or Per Se, in the vein of creating a less transactional experience. Here’s what he had to say:
- “Have we thought about doing service included? It’s something we’ve definitely talked about. This is the thing; what we wanted to do initially, we wanted to do an online reservation system. But in doing an online reservation system there’s obviously a lot of logistics. And we really don’t have the staffing for that kind of project. And we also would have to do pre-pay, with pre-pay we’d do service included, it’s the only way to do it. Because most people forget about gratuity if they’ve already paid for the meal…you know what I mean?”
ZOMG I totes know what you mean… .The Price Hike has always been a huge supporter of service included policies, which allow for more transparent pricing and more equal redistribution of tips. As for online reservation systems, yeah, we wish Blanca had one. So for a proper discussion of the booking process at Blanca, check out that very separate discussion over at The Bad Deal.