Hi, I was asked to post a mini-review of my experience at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, so here goes. I went on Wednesday, May 5.
First of all, living in the gritty city, I found it an especially refreshing experience to step out of the car, and find myself smelling TREES and DIRT and GRASS! The perfect kick-off to spring. It was an easy 30 min drive from the city down the scenic Saw Mill Pkwy.
Next time I go, I want to get there earlier in the day to be able to explore the grounds. We saw the cows and gardens from afar, but it would have been fun to actually get up close and personal with the chickens and chives.
We started off with a cocktail at the bar: Sapphire and tonic for me, rhubarb cosmo (their signature drink) for my companion. The decor was lovely - rustic, yet elegant. Homey, yet refined. A lot of wood and wrought iron and neutral colors. If I had a house, I might choose to decorate it similarly.
The staff was lovely as well - everyone from the hostess to the waiter to the sommelier to the busboys were really very attentive and accomodating. Actually, they screwed up the order of our courses (we got the second course first) but they were so nice, we didn't mind at all.
And speaking of courses... (It's a choice between three- four- and five-course menus - we took the middle road at 4).
First course (the egg course): I had an asparagus dish with a raw egg yolk plopped right on top. The asparagus was sliced lengthwise and sauteed just slightly. I enjoyed the fresh egg yolk, but I prefer my asparagus big! But on the side they had a single asparagus wrapped in homemade prosciutto (YUM!) and coated with sesame seeds. That was a delight. My boyfriend had the fresh Bibb lettuce with an incredibly delicate soft-poached egg that was very good.
Second course (seafood/chicken): I had the lobster salad, which was more small lobster rolls (rolled in a kind of rice noodle, I believe) with some claw meat. It had a delicate oil sauce with fava beans and was quite tasty. My boyfriend had the chicken roulade with foie gras. These were quite good, but the chicken roulade had too much fat around the outside (we thought).
Third course (meat!): I had the braised lamb with broccoli rabe and a kind of homemade sausage coated with quinoa. The lamb was DELICIOUS - very tender and matched perfectly with the broccoli rabe. The sausage part (sausage isn't really a good description because the meat was more pulled than ground) was delicious as well. My boyfriend had a poached duck breast - which was also very good, tender, not gamey at all. His dish was served with a great spaetzle that we enjoyed very much.
Fourth course (dessert!!): How good was this??! I had chocolate bread pudding with caramel ice cream and he had a ricotta cheesecake with fantastic roasted pineapple.
And, we had great white and red wines paired with each of our meals. As I said, we received very individualized attention! (And dessert wine on the house!)
All in all, is the food comparable to your typical fine restaurant in the city? Yes. Is it better? I think so. The "fresh" factor was really outstanding. But moreso, the whole experience, from the first whiff of the earth to the last driving through the dark trees was what made this restaurant a particularly memorable experience. I would recommend it to all folks - city or otherwise!
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