Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

My dear friend S.T. scored reservations at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, so last Sunday four us trotted up (since we are going to a farm, I figured we should use some animal term *dork*) to Pocantino Hills to dine at Blue Hill for lunch. While Blue Hill at Stone Barns opened in 2004, they've had an outpost in Manhattan for over 10 years.

It was a gorgeous day - while it was very cold (around 32F), it was also bright and sunny. The restaurant was situated on top of a little grassy knoll, and its decor was surprisingly very minimalistic chic. Our Sunday lunch was a 4-course tasting menu, omakase-style (chef's choice), so you'll get what the chef decides unless you have dietary limitations.

amuse bouche

The first course was a very fresh salad with a mixture of raw and roasted beets, homemade yogurt and pine nuts. I am not a big fan of beets for no apparent reason but the beets were sweet, and the slightly sour yogurt complimented it perfectly.

The second course consisted of purple gnocchi with pecorino cheese, with insane forraged mushrooms, in a black truffle sauce. The mushrooms elicited the first "TDFs!" (to-die-fors) for the afternoon.

The thid course was prime venison rib, on a bed of fresh Brussel sprouts and carrots. I took one look at it and went "uh oh", it's very rare. I am not a big meat eater (I know, so technically I can't call myself a foodie) and no matter how delicious all my dining companions said it was, I only ate the not-so- bloody part because the thought of eating rare meat is really not my thing. I have this image of a cow/deer/pig/whatever standing there with its flesh exposed and I am just biting into it. Ok, fine, I have an overly vivid imagination and I am sure I am missing out on a lot but my point is, I couldn't really enjoy the food. The waiter noticed my dismay and asked why I wasn't eating and after I explained, he promptly offered to find an alternative dish. Again, they have no menu, so it was a vague description of my options: chicken, pork, lamb or fish. I decided on fish (I mean seriously, who eats fish at a landlocked farm??) But dude - the fish was delicious! It was cod lightly seared, accompanied by flavorful brussel sprouts and carrots. Seriously - who usually raves about the brussel sprouts and carrots? In this case, I make an exception - The carrots were so sweet they tasted like sweet potatoes. The entire dish was complimented by a light orange pumpkin based sauce (maybe?) with some other secret ingredients, I'm sure.

For dessert, they brought out apple compote with rum ice cream for the girls and flourless dark chocolate-hazelnut cakes with truffle ice cream for the boys. Both were good, but I thought the apple compote was slightly better. The chocolate dessert was heavy and the truffle ice cream, despite sounding really decadent, was rather bland, though the idea of offsetting the sweetness of the chocolate with a slightly savoury ice cream was innovative and different.

After the food, we went to visit some sheep, chickens and pigs. After touring the farm where they introduced to the source of our meal, we drove to the nearby town of Sleepy Hollow (yes, that Sleepy Hollow) to go visit the headless horseman, except we didn't find the headless dude, instead we found an amazing sunset view from a park by the Hudson overlooking the Tappan Zee Bridge. I love getting out of the city and seeing the open sky.

All Blue Hill Photos

Address: Blue Hill, 630 Bedford Rd, Pocantico Hills, NY 10591

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