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BLT Steak is expanding chain to Trump in Waikiki


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POSTED: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

BLT Steak is not bacon-lettuce-tomato-steak, but the acclaimed steak house concept of chef and restaurateur Laurent Tourondel — set to open late this year on the ground floor of Trump International Hotel & Tower in Waikiki.

The BLT stands for Bistro Laurent Tourondel, after the French-trained-and-tried member of the New York culinary glitterati. He, his restaurants and his cookbooks have been written up, praised and otherwise fawned over by just about every member of the national food press — even those from publications whose ethics policies prohibit writers from accepting free eats (like this one).

“;With access to amazing local fish and tropical produce, I look forward to creating new dishes that reflect the flavors of Waikiki,”; Tourondel said in a statement.

The luxury Trump brand and BLT's high-profile, upscale brand are a good fit, said Jimmy Haber, managing partner of BLT Restaurant Group, in a statement. “;BLT is thrilled to partner with a great brand like Trump in a terrific city like Waikiki. We look forward to the challenge.”;

Trump International is due to open in the fall, but because restaurant opening dates are moving targets, neither the company nor its publicists will be more specific than “;late 2009.”;

Tourondel “;spends a good amount of time”; in the training and opening process and may come to Hawaii prior to and for the opening, spokeswoman Jennifer Russo told TheBuzz.

Hiring likely will begin a month out, she said, though resumes can be e-mailed to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), according to the company Web site.

“;The entire BLT team is excited about the project,”; said Russo.

The Trump side is pretty excited about landing BLT as a tenant as well.

The restaurant will be in about 4,000 square feet on the ground floor in a showcase spot “;right on Kalia Road, so it's on the ocean side of the building,”; said Scott Ingwers, Trump managing director.

“;They align very well with the hotel's commitment to quality and superior service and chef Laurent Tourondel is expanding his successful restaurant ventures much in the way that Trump Hotels”; are expanding, though it would be premature to say if more BLT concepts will open in Trump properties, Ingwers said.

Counting the main dining room, outdoor lanai, the zinc-topped bar, the lounge and the private dining room, the restaurant can seat about 180 guests, according to a BLT statement.

New York Times reviews providing BLT Steak prices are from 2004 and 2005 and are outdated, but posts at everyman-review-site yelp.com cite $100 per person, a $200 lunch tab for two and a 2008 post mentions a $70 Kobe steak that was “;worth every cent.”;

Most diners on the site raved about Gruyere cheese-accented popovers.

As for the food Tourondel would request as a last meal in prison, in answer to a question by New York Times reporter Frank Bruni, it would be “;my great-grandmother's potato pie and a Krispy Kreme donut (sic).”;

The BLT chain of restaurants has been racking up accolades for the past five years. It includes BLT Steak, BLT Burger, BLT Prime, BLT Market and BLT Fish, which received a star in the Michelin Guide in 2005.

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On the Net:

» www.bltsteak.com

» www.bltrestaurants.com

» www.trumpwaikikihotel.com