Blue Hill, NYC

April 11, 2011

Blue Hill was founded in 2000, but is now somewhat in the shadow of its younger sibling, Blue Hill at Stone Farms, founded in 2004 on the Rockefeller Estate north of New York, which includes its own organic farm where many of the ingredients are grown for both restaurants. Blue Hill had a moment of fame when the Obamas had a Date Night meal there May 30, 2009; Michelle had two martinis and Barack had the wine that came with the tasting menu pairings.

Allison invited Karyn, Blair, Linda and me to dinner at Blue Hill on March 17, 2011. It is down a little staircase just west of Washington Square.

We ordered the Farmer’s Feast of the day. Blair, consulting with the sommelier, ordered a bottle of 2007 Villet Arbois Chardonnay. This was followed by a bottle of 2009 Mosse (Anjou) Le Rouchefer while a bottle of 2006 Newton Unfiltered Merlot was put into a decanter for drinking with the veal.

The wines were all “biological.”  I didn’t care for the Arbois, which was tart, lacking fruit, but the other two were very nice.

The first amuse-gueule was beetburgers.

The seasonal ground beets inside the miniature buns were meaty and good.

The second was baked kale leaves, which arrived alongside excellent little round breads. With them were homemade butter, lardo with paprika and golden beet salt.


The first course was
Wild Striped Bass
fennel, basil and dried fruit.

The lightly grilled fish was quite firm and flavorful.

Before the second course, our personable waiter showed us the tray of charcoals prepared on the farm from organic material, furthering its philosophy of using as much of the produce as possible.

The four are (left to right): wood, corn cobs, pork bones and (beyond the photo) lamb bones. Our parsnips were prepared with them.

The course was
Blue Hill Farm Pullet Egg
‘bio char’ parsnip, shallots and Port wine

The parsnip had a very nice sweet and charred flavor. The egg relieved its spare dryness.

 The third course was
Rabbi Bob’s Veal
Stone Barns mâche, creamy Brussels sprouts and trumpet mushrooms
homemade pancetta

The sliced veal appeared to be from the sirloin and the cylinder from the tenderloin. We were told that the veal had been finished on pasture; it was quite red for veal, not tender, but with good flavor. The mushrooms were particularly good.

The first dessert was
Citrus and Champagne

A foamy Champagne sabayon and a candied kumquat topped a chopped citrus salad. Very good.

The second menu dessert was
milk jam ice cream


Linda and I had asked for a substitution for the chocolate and were served
Honeycrisp Apples
hudson valley milk jam, almond cake and maple ice cream

This was a very good dessert with all of the ingredients complementary to each other and consistent with the restaurant’s theme.

Finally there was a slate with three nice mignardises for each of us.

Our waiter and the sommelier were very helpful and informative. The pace of the meal was good until the desserts, which took a long time to come. By then the restaurant had filled up and the noise level was high.

Our meal concentrated on Blue Hill’s theme, not wandering into irrelevant ideas or trends. This makes it an unusual and excellent New York restaurant experience.

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