Omnivore - Richard Blais hints on The Spence

A special dinner at One highlights things to come

Image Last night Richard Blais joined chef Drew Van Leuvan at One Midtown Kitchen to host a special dinner as part of One’s “Summer Chef Series.” Blais spoke fondly of his time in the kitchen at One, and also hyped his new restaurant which is set to open this winter - The Spence - in partnership with Concentrics (One, Two Urban Licks, Tap, Parish, etc.).

The five course (plus two amuse) meal from the two chefs showcased some of Blais’ greatest hits, like his “Oysters and Pearls” with horseradish dippin’ dot pearls, as well as some dishes that may give further hints of what is to come at The Spence. Any Blais menu is sure to contain a few plays on words, and this one did not disappoint. A “Chateau of Beef Ribeye” came served atop chanterelle mushrooms and “New Yorkshire pudding,” which was more of a sweet and savory bread pudding than a traditional Yorkshire pudding. I’m not sure what was New York-ish about it, other than the fact the Blais hails from up that way. Whatever the name, the dish was a knockout combination of medium rare beef medallion, creamy sweet bread pudding, and earthy chanterelles. In soccer terms, it was a simple though well executed straightaway boot into the goal, no fancy footwork required. Likewise, a riff on pasta Bolognese came off pretty close to the real thing, despite the proclamation of “beef belly” and prawns on the menu as ingredients. No powders, foams, or extruded gelatin in sight.

Based on these dishes and Blais’ comments to date, it continues to sound like The Spence will be a significantly less risk-taking endeavor than some of Blais’ former stops, but I won't be surprised to see the trademark liquid nitrogen behind the counter. Blais likened the super cold stuff to his own personal version of “Freebird,” a greatest hit he’ll be stuck playing for the rest of his days, to the joy of fans worldwide.