Laurent Tourondel was working at Cello when the restaurant earned three stars from the Times in 1999. Five years later, Tourondel partnered with Jimmy Haber and the BLT empire was born. BLT Fish, Prime, Burger, and an eventual split with Haber would all unfold by 2010. At the end of last year, the Upper East Side welcomed Tourondel via Arlington Club; a collaborative effort with the nightlife gurus of Tao Group. In his review today, Wells reveals an unconventional steakhouse worthy of two stars.
“When he’s in the zone,” Wells writes of Tourondel, “as he is most of the time at Arlington Club, his cooking is as ingratiating as it is skillful; it wins your affection right away and then your respect.”
Sushi makes an appearance on the menu, but Wells hints that you might want stay away from it, “Do not, I beg you, get involved with the sushi rolls. The rice is cold and tightly packed; the fish is dull. The sushi menu is so out of place that it’s a little embarrassing, in the way of a Hawaiian shirt bought on vacation and worn to the office.”
Arlington Club strays from traditional steakhouse routine in many ways. “But,” Wells explains, “like many such things at Arlington Club, it’s memorably good. The restaurant doesn’t know how to follow the script, but its improvisations are inspired.” [NYTimes]