2012 has been a great foodie year for me. Living in New York, I’ve had so much great food accessible to me and the number of Michelin Star restaurants in this city is just ridiculous. As the year wraps up, I will be doing a Seven Michelin Star Restaurants in Seven Days series.
To kick things off, Day 1 begins with a restaurant that doesn’t get rated by the Michelin Guide – Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Blue Hill has a family of restaurants, there is Blue Hill New York that’s in Manhattan (which does have 1 Michelin Star), and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, which is an hour north of the city.
The restaurant in Manhattan serves food both an a la carte menu and a 5 course tasting menu, while the restaurant at Stone Barns only features a tasting menu of 5, 8 or 12 courses. Still haven’t completely figured out why the branch at Stone Barns doesn’t get rated, however, it’s a consensus that the food and experience is the same, if not better than Blue Hills New York.
I’m particularly excited about this meal because we recently found out that one of our good friend Pauline is COUSINS with Christine Ha, the winner of this season’s Masterchef. Yes, she’s the “blind” Masterchef, and yes, she really can’t see! It was just so exciting to share this meal with her, and talk to her about her experience on the show! I had to keep it together to not nerd out too hard, and get too star struck 😉
Blue Hill is a farm to table concept, and Stone Barns is the farm that sources the majority of their produce and meats. Often times, people who make the trek out to Stone Barns take either a self-guided or private tour of the farm prior to the meal. Unfortunately for me, our reservation was at 6:30pm and the sun sets in December at around 4:30pm. That would have left me and my party with about 2 hours to spare, hanging out in the lounge, so we opted out of exploring the grounds. So, learn from my experience, if you’re planning to come out here, either prepare to have a late lunch or an early dinner to take full advantage of the farm! Making a reservation shouldn’t be too hard either, just hop on over to OpenTable to grab one.
Since the restaurant prides themselves in the freshness of everything, the meal doesn’t actually come with a menu, rather a journal that documents the freshest ingredients per month. For our meal, we chose the 8 course farmer’s feast in order to keep it safe, not wanting to overstuff ourselves. I think by the end of the meal, we were glad that we chose 8 instead of the 12. The 8 course actually came with about 14 different dishes for us to taste from, including the amuse bouche.
The course began with Vegetables on a fence, which featured raw vegetables washed in a salt bath and drizzled with a bit of olive oil. While this seems a bit on the simple side, I thought it was a great start to the meal since it really set the tone of what were going to enjoy for the rest of the night: extremely fresh food, harvested from the farm that we were eating it in!
Again, I was a bit buzzed throughout the night, so you’ll have to excuse the semi-blurry pictures (was using the wrong settings!) and since there was no actual menu given, I’ve done my best at recalling the specifics of this meal.
Lucky for me, one of the key harvests of the winter is beets, and I LOVE beets! My friends always make fun of me whenever I order it because it’s seen as such an old lady food. But guess what, I love it, and I don’t care. So, naturally, some of the starting dishes were my favorite. The beet yogurt was fresh and the grapenuts gave the dish such a great texture. Then we also were served beet burgers and Parsnips fries wrapped in panchetta and sesame seeds.
The next dish was another one of my favorites, even though it was so simple, every bite was simply delightful! We were served table side ricotta that was put into a bowl to further strain some of the liquids in the cheese. It came with a warm fluffy piece of brioche served with warm spinach marmelade with hints of lemon zest. The simplicity of the dish really stood out and allowed the freshness of the ingredients to really shine.
I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a bread course so much before trying Blue Hill’s Onion Potato bread, served with a Beet and Carrot Salt, Lardo (from the a Stone Hill pig, of course), and Blue Hill Milk Butter. I usually try not to eat more than one piece of bread in a tasting menu, but here, I really couldn’t refrain myself from using the fresh made butter with the beet salt. Truly another standout for me.
The final savory course was a vension, which is another seasonal ingredient a part of their Winter Harvest. In most of my experiences of multi-course tasting menus, the meat course is one to usually disappoint since the innovation and creativity shines in the courses before it. However, the last savory dish in the feast was just as good as all the dishes before it. The meat was cooked perfectly, and the preparation of the venison sausage really helped shake up the soft texture of the medium-rare seared venison. Like every course before it, the dish left me wanting more (but obviously by now I was quite full, and more would probably not be a good idea).
The desserts here also hit on every target that I wanted out of the meal. First we were served a really nice and light palette cleanser, with an apple and a light brandy sorbet. Then, a dessert with all things chocolate – a Chocolate Compote. Finally a play on fruit and nuts, their apple and sunflower seed brittle was just a great finish to the meal.
Thank you to Pauline for inviting us and bringing along Christine (from MasterChef!!!) for us to enjoy the Stone Barns Farmer’s Feast! I’ll definitely have to come back another time so I can explore the farm in the spring.
630 Bedford Rd
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591