On Sunday we returned to Blue Hill at Stone Barns, with Ian and Jacquie, as
well as Ewan and Jenny McNay from CT. Blue Hill is the restaurant at the Stone
Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, the new nonprofit education center on
the Rockefeller property in Pocantico Hills. The idea is to bring people
closer to the food they eat. We had enjoyed previous visit, and were looking
forward to repeat.
It was too dark to appreciate the barn complex when we arrived, but the
interior was quite nice. High vaulted ceilings, wide wood plank flooring,
floral arrangements. The format is one can choose a 2, 3, or 4 savory
courses. You can mix and match from any section (from the woods, from our
pastures, from Hudson Valley Pastures, etc.) The eggs and chickens are raised
on the farm, the pigs from other sustainable farms in the area (I think the
Stone Barns pigs still aren't big enough yet). Many of the greens are from the
greenhouses, and most of the mushrooms are foraged on the property. We decided
to go with the 4 course.
Ian can better dissect the dishes, but here's the basics:
A few tasty amuse-bouches started off the evening. First, little shot glasses
of a chickpea-soup with cumin, kind of "hummus in a glass." Then skewers with
mussels and marinated cauliflower. Both tasty, but the best IMHO were the last
amuse- skewers with chicken livers and (tender) dried apricots. Yum.
My courses were:
Maine crabmeat and panther soy beans over thinly sliced beets.
Wing of skate in a stew with mushrooms, bean, crab, and a lobster broth.
Cavatelli with bits of house-cured pork
Roasted lamb plus amaranth crusted braised lamb loin, in a mild horseradish
All quite tasty, especially the crab and the lamb. My only quibble was with the
skate, because the reduced lobster broth (though very tasty) seemed just a bit
too intense, one notch more concentrated than it needed to be. I was surprised
at the next course when Ian got the same thing, and declared the sauce a tad
dilute. But I tasted, and indeed it was less intense and salty than mine. One
on the stove a few seconds too much, the other a few seconds too short.
Other dishes I tasted from others' orders:
Berkshire pig 3 ways- pork loin, that cured sausage, and pork belly (uncured
bacon). The pork belly the undisputed winner in strong competition.
Baby romaine lettuce with egg, pine nuts and a tasty pancetta vinaigrette
Striped bass with hen of the woods mushroom and the marinated cauliflower.
There was also a caper vinaigrette that make wine-matching tough for this one.
Good wine list, with some good choices from around the world. Prices are
reasonable for upscale restaurant. We stuck to less than $50 a bottle.
2002 Jean-Marc Brocard "Vaillons" Chablis 1er Cru
I thought this might be crisp enough for the lighter dishes, yet hold enough
body for the bigger fish dishes- it did well, except for that caper vinaigrette
with the bass. Floral/flinty nose, rich white (pear) fruit with a green plum
note. Mouth-filling, yet with a delicacy that allowed it to do well with the
crab and scallops. There's a delicious oyster-shell minerality to the finish.
This is a young wine with a future, but it's drinking quite well now. B+/A-
2000 Jean-Maurice Raffault "Les Picasses" Chinon
We thought that Pinot Noir might be the way to go with a red, but the most
appealing choices were above our agreed-upon budget. We decided to choose a
different light red, this Cab Franc was in the low $30s. Medium-bodied with
raspberry fruit and a light leafy quality, a pleasant café-quaffer. Ewan didn't
care for it much, but I found it a very good match with the pig (I was stealing
from Betsy's plate), as well as the cavatelli. B
2000 Ch. Pique-Caillou (Pessac-Leognan)
This was by the glass, as I felt the Chinon was a bit too light for the lamb.
Medium-to-full bodied, ripe blackcurrant fruit. Modest tannins, could use a
little acidic "oomph", comes across as a bit of a simple fruitbomb. B/B-
Some ordered desserts (Betsy was pleased with her walnut cake with fig ice
cream); a couple glasses of a Chambers sticky were around, but I passed. Very
nice evening with nice people. Betsy was happy when she ran into old friends
(people who helped run the Naumberg competition) at the coatroom.
Grade disclaimer: I'm a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a
good wine, C mediocre. Anything below C means I wouldn't drink at a party where
it was only choice. Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy,
and certainly not of consistency.
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- posted 15 years ago