Blue Hill NYC had been on my “must try” list for a long time, but Stewart grew up with Chef Dan Barber so we wanted to visit his restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns at a time when Daniel was there. They lost touch and only just recently reconnected. This trip to New York was with my mom and she called to ask if I had heard of Blue Hill. She wanted to go because she had read an article about it in the papers in Brazil. I told her we wouldn’t be able to go as I really wanted to go with Stewart. But I sneakily booked it as a surprise for her birthday, as the plan is to go to Stone Barns with Stewart and he wasn’t too upset that I planned to visit their city outpost with her instead.
What we ate:
The meal starts with several unusual amuse bouche(s) such as radishes, tomatoes, coppa ham from the farm and also fava beans sprinkled with pork flakes. These nibbles definitely set the tone for the meal that was about to come: seasonal, fresh and very much focused on the simplicity and quality of ingredients.
They have an $88 four course menu (you can select from three options for each course) or a $98 six course set menu. We went with the shorter menu as we like having options and also sharing different things.
Clams with green pea ‘caviar’, currants and pig’s ear: gorgeous presentation with two large shells seated atop another shell. The pig’s ears were imperceptible and the clams and peas were the star of the dish. We tasted a mellow anise flavour but couldn’t detect where it came from, and our waitress swore there was no anise in the dish.
Sweet peas with farmer’s cheese, sesame and bone marrow: another very light dish highlighting the beauty and vibrancy of the leaves and that were complimented by the subtlety of the cheese hiding at the bottom and the drizzle of bone marrow jus around the plate.
Celtuce with smoked farmer’s cheese, pine nuts and peanuts: I admit to my ignorance at not having been previously familiar with celtuce (aka celery lettuce or stem lettuce) but when I returned to London I decided to read more about it, including one article which was even titled “Is celtuce the new Kale?”. I hope so as it is way tastier, but maybe that is because of the way they prepared it at Stone Barns. It was very tender and covered with farmer’s cheese and sprinkled with peanuts. Very delicate and the two ingredients complimented the vegetable without obscuring its delicate and delicious taste. Bring it on kale!
Stone Barns pullet egg, pistou, summer vegetables and morel: I first heard of pullet egg from my friend Oli when he dined at Meadowood in Napa ages ago but I had never tried them before. They are small eggs from chickens that are just learning to lay eggs. To be honest, not noticeably different in flavour but the dish was gorgeous. The asparagus, morels and other beautiful vegetables were mixed in the pistou, and the egg was in the centre and perfectly cooked. It was an explosion of flavours, but each ingredient maintained its individual personality.
Grass fed lamb with zucchini and ricotta: they served lamb neck (tender and perfect) and belly (a bit too fatty) with a meaty jus and dollops of a concoction made of zucchini and ricotta. My mom is not a huge lamb fan but really enjoyed this.
Gnocchi, beets and hen of the woods: this was the most gorgeous and delicious dish of the evening and she struggled to stop eating and change plates with me when it came the time – we were sharing everything. The gnocchi were made of yellow and red beets and filled with ricotta and sat on beautiful hen of the woods mushrooms that had a bit of an Asian flare. The green foam on top tied it all together visually and it was an explosion of perfectly combined flavours. Amazing!
Chocolate and raspberries: the dessert was probably my least favourite dish but it went along with the ethos of the restaurant in letting ingredients shine. I had the chocolate and raspberry which was a layer of fondant with the sweetest raspberries and some buttermilk ice cream. The raspberries were the stars but I prefer chocolate, caramel or peanut butter usually to be the stars of my desserts.
Strawberries: my mom can’t eat sugar so they prepared a special dessert of gorgeous sweet strawberries with sorbet. Was lovely.
And to finish the meal, petit four = more strawberries……..
In sum: great service, minimalist space and gorgeous ingredients. Can’t wait to see what Blue Hill at Stone Barns is like. I also appreciate how reasonable the wine list was with a delicious rose for $10 a glass and not the absurd water and extra charges other restaurants tend to add. For the quality of the meal and service, our bill was around $260 which is reasonable for the number of courses and the type of restaurant.
ps: I would have given a 9 for food if the dessert had blown me away, but my fault for liking richer desserts…….and not appreciating fruits as much (I do for breakfast, in my yogurt or oatmeal but not as the main focus of my dessert).
Blue Hill NYC Blue Hill New York
[mappress “width=99%” mapid=”175″]