Blue Hill At Stone Barns
630 Bedford Rd
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591
April 20, 2017
I have not rushed over to visit Blue Hill At Stone Barns for the past few years. In fact, I could not to because of many overshoots. I even had a close friend who used to work there, and still could not make it before the day he left. But as soon as I had a view of the farm when arriving at their gate a month ago, I admit this was a delay I regretted.
Farm-to-table vegetable bites & Endive with poppy seed
Kohlrabi & Carrot
The good part about this belated visit is its timing. Spring is perfect for untangling the status quo of farm-to-table dining.
Once we sit down, our table was instantly filled with many picturesque appetites, and those were truly uncanny and bracing bites. The very first taste of kohlrabi already proved my friend’s word, “all the ingredients at Blue Hill were incredibly flavorful, and had an extremely focused flavor.”
Needle in the hay
Mushroom and venison liver tarte
Beets burger & Pork liver, chocolate, popcorn
Pork heart pastrami
The chef loaded with bites more excitement than I have came across in most fine dining restaurants in the city. Every morsel was striving for uniqueness. Though petite, the condensity of each led my tastebuds gradually go through an intense internal growth.
Beef tendon, kale, garlic stem, candle oil
The melting oil from the table candle was used as a finish touch to the greens. It really showed the kitchen’s obsession with the tiniest of details in building up the diner’s eating experience.
Scallop cured in malt, shaved malt, fighter spinard & Scallop, tsaitsai
Tsaitsai, beef sausage, cured yolk (duck + chicken)
Among all three ornate vegetable focused dishes, my favorite turned out to be the first plate – scallop cured in malt. The curing process has given the scallop a subtle smoky tone, as well as, a semisweet aftertaste.
Tsaitsai – a new hybrid celtuce variety – has been showcased in another two richer plates to provide a fresh and reinvigorating hit of flavor. However, it was unfortunate that I barely tasted the yolk in the third dish, which was supposed to be a thought-provoking combination.
Purple potato rating & Compote plate, calamari
A trip to the kitchen was particularly interesting, especially when it was unexpected. We were invited to rate different varieties of purple potatoes, and has been told that it was likely the score will lead to creations of new dishes in the future.
King oyster mushroom soup, erskine bread
Retired dairy cow skewer, sauerkraut
Shroom soup and meat skewer were two classics of the cuisine being executed with locavore takes on.
Vege steak (beet and parsnip), bone marrow, 200% whole wheat bread
As for our official main course, we were offered the vege steak and some roasted bone marrows. The seasoning of the steak and its accompanying sauce both overpowered the already smoky and dense flavor of the steak itself.
Though this hint of underwhelm was saved from a magic piece of bread, which was also the dish stopped the night. The 200% whole wheat bread had an unparalleled silky texture. I imagine myself eating it every week, and it still would not stop tasting new.
100% whole wheat sourdough, butter (L:Sunshine, R:Alice)
Another brilliant slice, with a satisfyingly browned crust, and some single origin butter. I just want to hold on to Blue Hill’s bakery for dear life.
Turmeric tea, maple sap 3 reductions & corn sweet set
Apple and chocolate wrapped in honey wax
Now the desserts, hazelnut cake was luxuriously rich. Sap reduction course acted more as a palate cleanser. It was light and refreshing, at the same time a beguilingly complex. Corn set was pure and concurrent, and when it threatened to be too much, you just let a sip of coffee to bring you right back. Honey wax was another major one. The honey was obscenely rich, with an aggressive sweetness (a little too much in this case for me), your lips sticked together, happily, as the meal closed.
My night at Blue Hill At Stone Barns felt similar to the meal I had at WD50 years ago. They were both full of insights, curious and bountiful. As far as I can tell, Blue Hill does retain its farm-to-table ethos, an idea it had pioneered all the time.