Sunday, March 25, 2012

Blue Hill at Stone Barns - Review

Blue Hill at Stone Barns - Dude Grade A-
630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591
Phone: (914) 366-9600

My wife took me out for my birthday and we ended up going to the great Blue Hill at Stone Barns. We've been there a couple of times to check out the farm / farmer's market, but we've never been to the restaurant. 100% well worth the wait as this place rocks. This place shows off their phenomenal ingredients with solid technique ending up in uber delicious dishes.

Our Menu
Raw vegetables from the farm *
Carrot Juice and Mint ***

Raw vegetables simply seasoned with olive oil and salt - my fave was the radish and cauliflower. They do taste delicious and really a great palate opener for the delicious vegetables about to come. The carrot juice was pretty mind blowing - huuuuge carrot flavor and even a meaty flavor thing going on. No idea if they use some stock or seaweed, but it's a big time wtf starter.

Pickled Asparagus and Egg Yolk **
I love me some pickled vegetables and this was bright and acidic which was balanced by the awesome egg yolk.

Beet Sushi **
Smoked and Dehydrated Vegetables **
Beet sushi was unexpected, but it definitely made sense. Sushi rice had the nice sweetness and texture paired with the crunchy beet. I wish they would sell the veggie chips - they're friggin' amazing. Potato, kale, and carrot. More foreshadowing as beets and kale are used in many other preparations.

Beet Burger **
Sweet and warm brioche buns with this delicious beet burger. It had this really meaty flavor which I'm not sure how they accomplished that - maybe stock? seaweed? Pretty damn surprising how good this was.

Roasted Salsify with Sesame Seeds **
Another delicious dish - roasted sweet flavor that had this almost potato thing going on which was really satisfying.

Fish Ball with Field Greens *
Fishball was tasty and the field greens were really delicious. The sauce was a bit too salty for my taste though - I believe made from seaweed and either fish sauce/anchovies.

Beet Salad **
More beets, but oddly enough at no point in the entire dinner was I ever sick of them. This was paired with pistachios, goat cheese cream, and some type of beet marmalade. Very delicious stuff.

Fresh Ricotta, Spinach Marmalade, Brioche **
I've never had spinach marmalade before, which is weird since this made so much sense. Rich, bright, and acidic which paired perfectly with the ricotta made at Dan Barber's (owner) farm. A big thing about this place is the servers take their time to explain where things come from. They brought these ancient grains out (making the brioche) and explained how the restaurant sourced these since they are not grown much anymore. Pretty educational stuff - and ultimately awesome for the diner that they seek out things like that.

Scallop and Chowder **
Perfectly cooked scallop with this really bright chowder. The acidity of the chowder was such a perfect match with the scallop. I love how many restaurants are now making sure there's an acidic pop to balance out traditionally rich dishes. This brightness makes your palate alive and wanting to eat more instead of being dulled down by too rich of a sauce.

Roasted Parsnip and Beet Ketchup *
Loved this dish, but the beet ketchup was completely unnecessary. The parsnip was so sweet and the jus or demi-glace paired perfectly. The ketchup was delicious, but it kind of muddied up the flavor of the parsnip and sauce.

Whipped Lardo, Butter, and Vegetable Salts ***
Everything on this plate was perfect to me. The lardo was stupid good - so porky and delicious. Even the butter was amazing - huge flavor.

Poached Egg, Speck, Kale ***
This was my type of wtf dish. Salty/porky speck, rich and creamy egg yolk, and the awesome brown butter sauce made for an over the top dish. Even the sweet kale was friggin such a perfect match.

Black Trumpet Mushroom Pasta
A pass for me. Pasta was undercooked and didn't have that juicy quality - a tad too dry. Wife enjoyed it though.

Venison, Kidneys, Broccoli Rabe **
Completely delicious dish. Kidneys and venison were friggin awesome - perfectly cooked and seasoned. Probably the best kidneys I've ever had.

Another pass for me - way over seasoned. If you're eating the fatty part of the lamb, it's not bad but when you hit all meat - it's waaay too salty.

Hudson Valley Beef Loin **

The server brought this other dish to make up for the lamb and it was spectacular. Perfectly cooked and amazing with the carrots, sauce, and the greens. Beef had big time flavor too.

Sweet Potato Cake, Pumpkin Seeds
Great dessert - sweet potato had great flavor. Some type of lemony foam and the roasted pumpkin seed added this nutty complexity to the dish.

I love me some cheese and this was decent, but I was hoping for some local cheeses instead. These were from Cali and Wisconsin which were decent, but not great.
Beet Cheesecake **
A really surprisingly delicious cheesecake. The sweetness definitely had this beet type of flavor going on which was really delicious.

Chocolate Cake and Cream **
This reminded me of a delicious ho-ho - chocolate fudginess on the outside and cream filling on the inside. Crispy chocolate topping added an awesome textural contrast.

Petit Fours - Chocolate Cookies, Marshmellows, and Lollipops *

Rating System
--- What the F - in a bad way | (no stars - poor to average) | * Good | ** Great | *** What the F – in a good way

Overall Restaurant Experience
  • Food (A-) – Everything was definitely in my strike zone - great products with solid execution. Only a couple of slight misses with the majority of the dishes great.
  • Service (A+) – Someone was always there when I needed something and the food came out at a perfect pace. The servers were incredibly knowledgeable about all the dishes and were generally enthusiastic describing the food. Unlike Le Bernardin, they cleaned up the crumbs from the table frequently. They also were very willing to replace the lamb dish and apologized giving us a free very delicious beef dish.
  • Atmosphere (A) – Nice bright open place with large ceilings. Seeing the fields in the background and hearing the birds chirping adds a nice touch. The place seats around 60 with the majority being couples and groups of couples of all ages - younger and old. Everyone rocked the same attire - dresses for the ladies and blazers, button down shirts for the men.
  • Price (A) – $148 for 8 courses which I felt was definitely worth it.
Closing Comments
A great place for a special occasion fine dining restaurant which I definitely will be back to revisit.

No comments: