Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Blue Hill Restaurant

This is the city outlet of Blue Hill Farm, a gastro-farm in Westchester County in New York State. The farm grows its own vegetables, and the principal conceit of the restaurant is that it builds its menus from what is fresh and seasonal, mostly its own crops - at the farm you choose your ingredients and the menu is framed around that.


The city restaurant is on Washington Place, just near the Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. It's three steps down from the street into a quiet and subtle restaurant setting, tables a bit too close but we're getting used to that. On one side we had some newlyweds (we give it a year) and on the other side some older women who'd had a bit too much plastic surgery.

The waiters are all dressed the same, with ties and waistcoats, and were nearby and attentive without being obtrusive. We decided to go for the "Farmers Feast" fixed menu with matching wines, and it turned out to be an excellent meal.

First, some amuse-bouches - a pea-and-almond tiny burger, some home-cured proscuitto and a champagne.

The bread came out - hot mini-baguettes with a tray of toppings - whipped lard, home-made butter, home-made ricotta and carrot salt for extra flavour.

Then, a dry white wine with a pea-based gazpacho-like cold soup. Next, a fruity riesling with charred octopus - so tender you'd think it was something else. Best octopus ever, and tasty with it.

The main course was variations on pork - crisp roast pork with crackling, boiled bacon and something intermediate, served with a single small chinese cabbage. That came with a strong red wine.

There were two dessert courses - a raspberry dish with vanilla foam, and the more substantial almond cake with sorbet and blueberries; just delightful with a sticky dessert wine.

Prior to our coffees, the waitress brought out home-made vanilla marshmallows and chocolates.

We've had some excellent meals in NYC, but I'd have to say this was up there with Bouley as the best tastes so far.

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