Bleu Has A New Chef, a New Dinner Menu, and a Crazy Mushroom Dish
Last week, Bleu Restaurant and Lounge announced Kevin Rains as the new chef. The staff invited me and a few other local foodies to come for a tasting of the new dinner menu. I had some delicious lamb, learned about Lion’s Mane mushrooms, and tried three other dishes.
This shows the full portions for each of the courses that we tried.
Bleu is inside the Westin Hotel, which is across from the FedEx Forum, but it doesn’t feel like an in-hotel restaurant. They have affordable daily lunch specials, and the place is packed anytime there’s a basketball game or concert at the FedEx Forum.
The new man in charge is Chef Kevin Rains, who seems to have the same focus on elaborate presentation and unique, intricate ingredient combinations that I remember from the times I’ve been to Bleu in the past. He’s using a lot of fresh seafood (it’s flown in daily), quite a few local items, and bringing in a lot of new recipes.
Ahi Tuna Tostada. The first course was a sample of a new appetizer. I liked the Southwestern-inspired combination of flavors, though the tuna got a bit lost with the other ingredients. Chef Rains is also a sommelier, so he paired wines for us with each course.
Fall Market Salad. There was a lot going on in this fresh and flavorful salad – sweet beets, pickled onions, haricot verts, and bleu cheese.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom and Risotto. For Chef Rains’ vegetarian dish, he went way out of the box with a Lion’s Mane Mushroom, which, when prepared, is a crazy-looking round mushroom. An open mind might be necessary if the appearance throws you off, but I thought it looked cool and tasted very good. The risotto was creamy and comforting in the way that risotto should be; the balsamic sauce on the dish was tasty and satisfying. I would eat this again.
Full disclosure: I don’t personally care for mushrooms 80 percent of the time, but I always try them in case they’re prepared in a way that I can appreciate. This was one of those times, so I have to send my compliments to the Chef.
Australian Lamb Rack. This course knocked it out of the park for me. The lamb was tender and flavorful, the sauce was mouth-watering, and the goat cheese au gratin “cake” was dense and rich. I will go back for this.
Bleu is open everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner until 11 p.m. The lounge/bar area is open everyday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. There are a couple of vegetarian options, and the hotel and restaurant is ADA accessible.
You can find a parking garage nearby, or you can take advantage of the free valet parking. Just make sure you tell the valet attendant that you’re eating at Bleu and have your server validate it. (You’ll still need to tip your valet attendant.)
Memphis, TN 38103