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Gulf & Main Magazine

Small Plates, Big Flavor at Blanc in Fort Myers

Dec 01, 2017 02:27PM ● By Kevin
Last week, we highlighted one of Fort Myers' newest restaurants, LYNQ, owned and operated by Chris Whitaker and Jean Claude Roge. We caught up with Whitaker about the restaurant's latest offerings and the future of the business. This week, we were able to catch up with Roge about Blanc, one of the other two businesses the two own.

Blanc, located on McGregor Boulevard, is a restaurant concept featuring small plates (not to be confused with Tapas) with a fusion of different food cultures and featuring a Japanese Robata Grill. Roge, who doubles as owner and chef, had the restaurant design and concept in mind for about five years prior to its actualization. When the right location and space-the old Oyster Shell restaurant in Cypress Square Plaza in Fort Myers-became available, Chris Whitaker and he decided to join forces to create Blanc.

Blanc is a very small space filled with an ambiance and atmosphere that is not found anywhere in Southwest Florida, Roge said.

"The feeling at Blanc has been compared to restaurants in NYC or Miami and the food lives up to that comparison as well," he continued.

With that in mind, reservations are strongly encouraged. The holiday season should prove to be quite busy. The restaurant opened a year and a half ago. It offers a wide variety of impressive flavors gathered from around the globe, drawing on French and Asian cuisine, as well as American classics." Meat selections include beef, chicken, and lamb together with fresh seafood and vegetables.

The restaurant utilizes its Robata Grill for many of its menu items, which results in dramatic and intense flavors. The “Almost Entrées” are designed to be enjoyed and shared with the entire table, as shared plates.

The most popular dish at the restaurant is the quarter-pound Robata-grilled prawn. Roge's personal favorite is the French Onion Soup.

According to his personal website, Roge was born in Paris in 1956 and moved to the United States in 1985, after extensive travel around the world for the 10 years prior. He worked with “Maitre Cuisinier de France” Jean Pierre Tardy in Philadelphia for five years. After living in Los Angeles for an other five years, where he was running a famous night club, he moved to Florida, where, with Chef Gerard Pinault, he opened Village Cafe on Captiva Island, then “La Brasserie” in Fort Myers.

Now exercising his two passions for cooking and art, Roge puts all his artistic heart in the preparation of meals at his restaurants, as well as for private parties.

The restaurant has received and average of 4.9 out of 5 stars on 148 reviews on Facebook.

"One of the best restaurants I have ever eaten in!" said Paula DeViVo, who gave the restaurant a 5-star rating. "Great small plates and entrees that you will ever taste! My favorite is the escargot! The filet will melt in your mouth! I highly recommend this quaint charming restaurant!"

On Trip Advisor, it averages 4.5 out of 5 stars on 110 reviews, with the food and service categories averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars, and the value category averaging 4 out of 5 stars.

"We had appetizers followed by lamb lollipops and salmon, both fabulous," Helen J of New York said on TripAdvisor. "Best of all was my husband’s appetizer. I can’t remember the name, something about a bread tower, listed first on the appetizer menu, and something he was just taking a chance on. Spectacular! How could the toast pieces be both airy and crispy? How could the sauce to dip them in taste better than anything I’ve ever encountered? This was our first visit but it definitely won’t be our last."

In the future, possible ideas include Vert and/or Rouge sister restaurants, Roge added. He is always looking for new ways to keep his customers happy and gain new clientele.

"Every day is a memorable one for me when I see on a daily basis the happiness of a satisfied customer," Roge said. "We see every day as an opportunity to provide wonderful food and dining experiences to our fantastic clientele as well as draw in new, first-time diners. We get excited about creating new and different dishes to offer our guests."