Blue Hill at Stone Barns (long)
I often times finding myself going to restaurants with very high expecatations. Usually those expectations are met (because I do research on this site), but I very infrequently have my expectations surpassed.
People on this site are consistently raving about Blue Hill at Stone Barns - how good and fresh the food is, how nice the atmosphere is. I went up there expecting a beautiful setting outside the city with above average food. Unfortunately I didn't get up there in time to walk around the farm and take in the full experience, but I can attest to the fact that it is beautiful up there. I can also attest to the fact that it is impossible to translate into the words the level of freshness and taste in all of the dishes we had.
We started off with the greenhouse green salad and the bean salad. The greenhouse greens was ever so slightly dressed and had a crusted farm egg. I have not idea how they got the fried crust around the outside of the egg, but it was awesome. The bean salad had more dressing, but was incredibly tasty. I have never tasted green beans with as much flavor as in the bean salad. They grow a ton of the food on site and you can taste the difference.
We moved on to the striped bass with corn chowder and fava beans. I was slightly worried that the chowder would be really heavy, but it was not. It was just perfectly flavored. The other second course we had was the gnocchi. My girlfriend loved the 4 cheese gnocchi, but it was dominated by goat cheese, so it was not my favorite. The gnocchi themselves were nice and light, but I just dont like goat cheese so it just wasn't my cup of tea.
For our mains we had the chicken (grown on site) and the beef. The chicken was definitely better than the beef, which is not to take anything away from the beef. The chicken was cooked sous vide and was so moist and tasty I am still thinking about it.
The dessert menu is cleverly laid out by whatever fresh fruit is featured (strawberries, cherries, rasberies, etc.) We had the rasberries over a pisctachio tart that was awesome. It had black and red rasberries that were grown on the property and bursted with flavor. We also had the chocolate bread pudding that was good, but was nothing to write home about. When we go back we will definitely stick with the fruit desserts.
I can't wait to go back.
John, a couple of weeks ago we went to BH@SB specifically for a farm tour. The tour was lead by the program director because a docent was unavailable. She talked about the history of the place, took us through the gardens, the greenhouses and various areas where the animals were. I remember thinking, from what she said, that we have to try the Berkshire pork, and the chicken, because she said it's not like anything else you have elsewhere. The beef is a special breed and the herd they have there (forgot the name) is world renown (when you drive in you can see mostly black ones, a few are red). They auction them now and then and they go for tens of thousands. Also, she took us by the turkeys and talked about what breeds are available around Thanksgiving. One is more "gamey" than the other. Besides the farmers market, they have a food co-op that you can buy into. And, they are starting to cultivate honey and may have it for sale as early as this fall.
We ate at the cafe, I had the egg salad (good but not remarkable), my kids respectively had the PB&J and grilled cheese and were bowled over. I made a lunch reservation for September. The guide said that in summer, up to 70% of your meal can be from the farm (in addition to local growers). I hope we hit it right in early September.