What's in a name? When a restaurant names itself with three letters that don't make a word, you want to know the backstory. So while BLD is perhaps a little cryptic, that final D stands for dinner, not domato. There's a valet out front, which is less about the fanciness of the restaurant and more about its location immediately adjacent to a residential neighborhood with inadequate parking. Inside, it's pleasant and modern, and the food is plated in a straightforward manner. I think of it as a good date restaurant: its classy, but a casual sort of way.
I started with the soup of the day: poblano and corn puree, and I have mixed feelings about the result. It was true to the poblano flavor and the corn sweetness could also be sensed, but the seeds one assumes were added for texture atop the dish were as unyielding to the bite as a wooden matchstick. A dish of the day is sometimes based in a sudden inspiration, (and I will offer some leeway in that regard) but a garnish of that hardness should never have been allowed on the soup in the first place.
The cajun-style Macaroni and cheese was far more on the mark. It comes served piping hot in an itty bitty cast-iron pot, but don't let its size fool you; you will be far fuller than you expect. Maybe the dish is somehow larger on the outside than it is on the inside. The real answer behind how something so small can be so filling lies less in bending the laws of time and relative dimension in space and more in the mac and cheese's creamy richness. I hesitate to call it “cheesy” though. There's a little breadcrumb on top, and below that lies a sauce that is pure smoky, spicy flavor. It's almost as though they've infused the essence of how a bonfire smells into the cheese.
Initially, I was not a fan of the BLD house beef burger. The burger commits what I consider the cardinal sin of having too low a fat content. The result is a patty that's dry when it should be juicy, which is not a good first impression. Its redemption comes in the flavor: this is high quality beef, you can tell the cow was well cared for, and the finish shows off the natural wholesomeness like a prairie sunset. The fries are an example of what a good french fry should be: crisp outside and a soft inside that actually tastes like potato. Sadly, they cool off quite quickly, you would be forgiven for eating all of them first.
In my mind, the best dish of the whole experience was the trenette with roasted tomato pesto. The taste is fantastic but, oh! That aroma! The smell is as fresh as tomatoes on the vine, with a basil undertone. I would bottle it and make my kitchen smell like this all the time if I could. The optional chicken sausage would be worth the extra money as the onion's acidity needs a meat like chicken to round it out. But as a whole concept, even sans chicken the dish works well.
Sometimes I'm guilty of hyperbole, but I reserve my absolute highest ratings and my 'bests' for only a few dishes. My meal at BLD was not in the 'best' list, but it was very good, and the high points dramatically outweigh any negatives I mentioned. At BLD, I'd say the D stands not just for 'dinner', but for a 'damn fine dinner'.