Pete Wells Re-reviews Bushwick’s Blanca, Awards a Third Star

The New York Times restaurant critic gave Blanca two stars in 2012, but this week he raised its star rating to three

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Blanca in Bushwick, Brooklyn, serves a 27-course tasting menu for $195 per seat.

Blanca opened in 2012, which is when Pete Wells first reviewed the restaurant, awarding it two stars at the time. This week, Wells shared his impressions of how the eatery has grown and improved, and awarded it a third star, making it Bushwick’s first three-star restaurant, according to The New York Times.

Wells detailed how things were in the restaurant a little over two years ago, when “a 27-course tasting menu served at a counter behind a pizzeria in Bushwick sounded like the setup to a joke.” Chef and an owner Carlo Mirarchi “already had an impressive sense of what to put on a plate and what to leave off. What he didn’t have yet was a repertoire deep enough for the length of the meals he served.” In his initial review, Wells suggested that the chef diminish both the length and price ($195) of the menu, but, as he put it, “Mirarchi ignored me and kept refining his marathon tastings, very gradually.”

Now, all that refining has come to fruition for Wells, as he deems that “it may have taken a while, but every time I’ve settled into one of the padded brown-leather captain’s chairs recently, nearly everything I’ve tasted has been remarkable in one way or another.” He can’t recommend specific dishes, since only the tasting menu is served, but when describing what he ate, he used descriptors such as “unexpectedly dreamy,” “upgrade,” and “worth it.” The critic was also very pleased with pastry chef Samantha Short’s work, deeming it “daring and great.”

The biggest bone Wells has to pick with Blanca is that they offer “no wine bottles under $80 and no glasses under $18.” Luckily, he thinks the beers are just as good as the finer libations, but makes the very valid point that “Customers who have torn a hole in their budget to afford the $195 for dinner, before tax and tip, shouldn’t have to drink beer all night.” Perhaps the charming waitstaff will make up for it — although he does not specifically call attention to the service in the body of his review, in the end notes, he writes that the servers “are gracious and unpretentious, with a sense of fun.” All this comes together four nights a week in a tucked-away spot within its culinary sibling, Roberta’s, to create what The New York Times deems Bushwick’s first and only three-star restaurant. 

Related Links
Pete Wells Reviews Mission Chinese Food Again, Awards 2 Stars AgainPete Wells Takes His Cue From Ligaya Mishan, Awards Fung Tu Two StarsPete Wells Follows in Frank Bruni’s Footsteps, Awards Eleven Madison Park Four StarsPete Wells Awards Two Stars to Mu RamenPete Wells Gives Danny Meyer’s Blue Smoke One Star, and North End Grill Two