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Does Biltmore's La Bistecca Count as a New Restaurant?

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, May 29, 2009, at 01:52PM
Biltmore Hotel Rendevous Court Curt Gibbs [Flickr]

The Rendezvous Court served as the Biltmore's lobby from 1923 - 1986. Four nights a week tables will be set for La Bistecca.

Last night was opening night for the Biltmore's La Bistecca, which the hotel's PR calls a "fine-dining steakhouse concept." Set in the hotel's Rendezvous Court, the eatery has gotten good hype in the food blogs. But is it really fair to call it a new restaurant?

The Rendezvous Court was the Biltmore's lobby until 1986, but that function moved up a level as part of a renovation. In the time since, the space has served as an ornate sitting place and the site of the hotel's Wednesday through Sunday afternoon teas.

La Bistecca is really a new combination of existing resources. Four days a week, tables will be set in the Rendezvous Court in the evening. Reservations are handled through the adjoining Smeraldi's restaurant, and the pair of chefs who designed the steakhouse menu have been hotel employees for years.

None of this is to say that the food might not be excellent. One would hope that with steak prices running from $36 to $48 it would be.

Perhaps the question is really what defines a restaurant? It is the menu that makes it a restaurant, or is a space? Does that space need to be permanent, or can it be just tables in an old lobby?

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