November 23, 2009

Blue Hill at Stone Barns Part II: The "Table" part of our "Farm to Table" outing


After wandering about the Stone Barns farm area and seeing how much the farm animals, produce, and herbs are well-treated and respected, we were eager to see how our meal would be prepared.  We have showed you the "Farm" part of our "Farm to Table" adventure, and now we bring you the "Table" part with Blue Hill's $85 Sunday farmers' feast (4 courses).

When we first sat down and looked at the menu, we immediately noticed that there were no entrees listed.

Instead of "Today's Special dish", we were given "today's freshest and most seasonal ingredients" from both Stone Barns and from local vendors.

It was a little overwhelming, but we knew we were in good hands.  We told our server to bring us whatever the chef recommended and that we eat anything and everything.

Rather than ask us what ingredients we wanted in our meal, our server instead asked us a few questions regarding game meat (yes, please), cooking preparation preference (however the chef recommends, but usually the rarer the better!), and any aversions or allergies (none!). 
We started off with a bottle of house sparkling water and cold Captain Lawrence's Xtra Gold beer ($19, which was kept on ice, like champagne, for us!).  Drinking beer from a Burgundy wine glass made us feel very proper and sophisticated (like when George on Seinfeld started eating chocolate bars with a knife and fork).
 
We love it when bread is crusty and crunchy.

Our next drinks were a bit more serious:
Apple Pie (left, $14):  This was made with Heart of the Hudson vodka (infused with apples), apple cider, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  This drink smelled like apple pie fresh from the oven, but the cold drink definitely had a kick to it.  Hmm...we never thought of adding vodka to our pies before...

2007 Melville "Estate-Verna's" Santa Rita Hills Syrah (right, $15):  This Melville Syrah, like their pinots or chardonnays, is always a good choice.  Their wines are great because you can drink them young for the primary fruit and spice, or let them open up or age so it they're smoother.  When we let this wine open up a little bit, we enjoyed this with our meal.  It was an affordable glass of rich, red wine.


Beet Burger:  This amuse bouche was buttery, rich, and sweet.  It was like popping a warm mini muffin in your mouth with deep rustic flavors from the recently-pulled-from-their-backyard Forono beets.

The Cauliflower Soup was made with Hudson Valley cauliflower.  It was warm, rich, yet simple and full of cauliflower flavor.  Growing up with steamed store-bought cauliflower, we never knew how much flavor could come from this vegetable.     

This is where our preference for all types of meats was rewarded.  We were served Bresaola (left) which was nice and salty and the cured ham (right) which was meaty and fatty.  While other tables were being served garden vegetables (which were displayed standing up so they looked really pretty),we enjoyed our house-made charcuterie.
 
Grilled Wahoo with purple and yellow cauliflower, concord grapes, and pumpkin.  We loved the vegetable mixture with the fish.  The fish itself was nicely prepared, on the rarer side as per our preference.  It was meaty and light.  Upon reflecting on this dish, we are not sure where the Wahoo was from since it was not on the menu nor is it usually found in the Northeast.
 
These eggs, just picked the morning of our meal, illustrated how fresh our next entree would be.

 This Morning's Farm Egg with forged mushrooms, kale, and pine nuts.
 
This photo does not do justice to the actual color of the yolk.  The yellow was such a deep color that it was almost orange.  The flavor, of course, was intense with a thick texture that coats the throat.  This shows what a difference the hen's diet makes in producing this egg.
The mushrooms were tender, the pine nuts were crunchy, and the kale (which we had just seen in the garden) was so flavorful and delicate we wanted more.  
 
Wild Turkey with Brussels Sprouts, rutabega puree, concord grape, and walnuts.
 
These brussels sprouts were so bright, beautiful, and delicate.  It lacked the bitterness normally associated with brussels sprouts.  The wild turkey's white meat was better and more moist than any turkey dark meat we have eaten before.  Though the portion looks small on the plate, it was actually very substantial. 
 
Next up was our dessert courses to end our celebratory meal.
 
This was our favorite of the two desserts.  It had Maple ice cream wrapped in chocolate crisps.  There was also white chocolate and mint in the dessert to add to the mix of flavors.  We loved all of the crunchy textures mixed with the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.
 
The second dessert was also good, but not as sinfully rich as the previous chocolate dish.  This dessert had a Poached pear with vanilla ice cream and cream of wheat.  It was lighter than the other, similar to having pear preserves.  Overall, we were happy to be able to try two different desserts.

We ended our meal with a double espresso and cappuccino.  Loved the curved dish (in the background) our warm milk was served in!

Just before we were about to pay our bill, our server offered to take us behind the scenes to see the kitchen!

We excitedly finished our drinks, pay our bill, and headed to the kitchen.  It was a surprisingly calm operation in a bright space.  We were pleasantly surprised to see Executive Chef Dan Barber preparing a dish (it was of beet chips, artfully displayed on a tower).


On our way out, we spoke with the hostess to find out what was the best ways to score these hard-to-get reservations at Blue Hill.  She mentioned that phoning the restaurant was best (vs OpenTable) and that the full menu was also available for walk-ins at the more casual bar. 
 
Blue Hill at Stone Barns is located at 630 Bedford Rd in Pocantico Hills, New York.

4 comments:

  1. I've been wanting to go to Blue Hill for a while. It looks like an amazing experience, your photos are stunning!

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  2. Such a beautiful meal. The mise en place is great.

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  3. OMG - what a FEAST!!!! And your pictures are great!

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  4. The meal sounds amazing! This is definitely going on our list to visit!

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